Last week, David Barton participated in a conference call for Champion The Vote, the Religious Right election effort that seeks to register and mobilize millions of Christian voters because "it only takes 5 million votes to decide an election."
During the call, Barton set out a pretty simple rule to help conservative Christians determine how to cast their ballots: vote the Ten Commandments:
Now you take the Ten Commandments and look at them and there are certain issues that do appear there. One is the public acknowledgement of God, that's the first thing off. So when there's a difference between candidates on whether God should be mentioned in public, if one of them wants a secularization of the public square, the other says "no, God needs to be acknowledged," that's a big deal, that's one of God's top ten issues.
You'll find that also in the top ten, don't shed innocent blood. Well, that goes to abortion.
You'll also find in the top ten that God says "I want you keep marriage the way I told you it was back in Genesis." Hey, the marriage issue makes the top ten.
What doesn't make the top ten is the environment or helping the poor or energy or whatever. So if we take other issues and raise them above God's top ten, then we have usurped what God has told us in the Scriptures and what God told his nation: "I've given you 613 laws, but here's my prioritization; these are the most important ones." So we need to vote with that cognizance.
As we've noted before, marrige in the Book of Gensis consisted mainly of polygamy and/or some form of incest ... but we are pretty sure that is not what Barton had in mind.
Over the last several months, we have written a series of posts highlighting the various social, cultural, and governmental institutions that David Barton claims are directly rooted in the Bible. For Barton, any parallel he can discover between a provision in the Constitution and language in the Bible can only mean that the latter was the cause for the former, often going so far as to falsely claim that the Constitution quotes the Bible "verbatim."
Now Barton has produced a new book called "The Founders' Bible" which is designed to help readers "discover the Scriptures that the Founders used as the basis for our original founding documents, see what chapters inspired them in the fight for independence, understand the sacrifices they made because of their Biblically-based beliefs and learn about America as a Christian nation."
We received our copy of the book today and we were not at all surprised to discover that it is full of the sorts of absurd claims we have come to expect from Barton. In essence, the book is a Bible interspersed with long explanatory articles written by Barton explaining how the adjoining passages served as the foundation for America and our form of government.
Many of the claims we have heard from Barton before, but the book also to contain several new ones, such as the statement that Independence Day was based on Biblical precedent.
As Barton explains it:
The turning point for the independence of the Jews ... was the Passover, when God, in a miraculous demonstration of power, struck down the firstborn of the Egyptians. Out of all the amazing things along Israel's lengthy road to becoming an independent nation and people, God commanded them to remember that one particular event and to celebrate the anniversary of that one particular day every year thereafter (Exodus 13:10.) And not only were they to honor that day, but they were also to use it to teach the rising generation about what God had done in birthing their nation (Exodus 13:8.)
Barton then explains that some of the Founding Fathers "saw a correlation between the account in Exodus and the American experience," prompting him to declare that "the Fourth of July is an annual day of celebration and remembrance like that in Exodus 13 - one of the many American practices with Biblical precedents."
Later in the same chapter, Barton declares that the Second Amendment is rooted in Exodus 22 which says that "if a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed" (though Barton conveniently edits out the rest of the line, which says "but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.") For Barton, this is proof that "the Second Amendment's 'right to keep and bear arms' is the constitutional embodiment of the Biblical right to self-defense found in Exodus 22 (and other passages) - another of the many American rights rooted in Biblical teachings."
These are just a few examples that jumped out at us in just the first two chapters of Barton's book, which contains several dozen of these sorts of explanatory articles through out its 2000+ pages; so undoubtedly this is merely the first in a series of posts highlighting the various claims Barton makes about how our social, cultural, and governmental institutions are all rooted in the Bible.
When David Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's program to discuss the important of prayer and fasting, he displayed various prayer proclamations issued by the Founding Fathers before highlighting one issued by Abraham Lincoln that Barton claimed Lincoln released because he felt that America had "become so prosperous, so bountiful" that it had forgotten God and needed to be reminded to humble itself and be thankful for all God had given this nation, declaring that it showed that "Lincoln had great spiritual insight at a time when the nation really was doing well":
The proclamation that Barton cited was issued by Lincoln on August 12, 1861 ... just a few months after the start of the Civil War; not exactly "a time when the nation really was doing well":
And whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, -- to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence.
But, as we have noted time and time again, the fundamental falsehood of a claim isn't going to stop David Barton from repeating it over and over, which is just what he did today on the program where, for good measure, he also declared that the waivers were "anti-biblical" and further proof that President Obama is hostile to the Bible:
This is serious stuff and not the least of which is on what basis do you have to unilaterally rewrite the welfare law? And by the way, it was on a biblical principle; the Bible says if you don't work, you don't eat and he removed the word requirement. He says "well, you can eat without working."
See, that's another area where I could say he is biblically hostile because the Bible says if you don't work, you don't eat and he says "well, not in this country, we're not going to do that." So not only is it anti-Constitutional, it's anti-biblical and that's a real problem.
I've started asking people "have you read through the Bible from cover to cover?" And I'm talking people fifty, sixty, seventy years old who have been in the church fifty years who have never read the Bible from cover to cover.
Now if you haven't read the play book or the rule book, you're not going to know what's in it. Going back to a baseball analogy, that's like alright, I've got the bat, the glove, the ball but I don't care what the rules are, I don't know what the rules are, I don't want to read the rule book or the play book. You can't do that.
And so we really have a biblically illiterate group of folks now who claim Christianity and that's where I put the President; I don't think the President has ever read the Bible from cover to cover.
On "WallBuilders Live" today, Richard Land was discussing the dangers of liberal Christianity when he made the declared that "liberalism kills," meaning that churches or denominations that embrace more liberal theologies will inevitably lose members and collapse.
David Barton was particularly enamored with Land's axiom and declared that they "ought to emblazon [it] on everything we have":
I tell you what, Richard gave a two word axiom that we ought to emblazon on everything we have: liberalism kills.
Liberalism kills, whether it's in the family; whether it's in a university; whether it's in education; whether it's in business; whether it's in government, and especially in denominations, liberalism kills.
That's a great axiom to remember is liberalism kills.
Mat Staver was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today as he, Rick Green, and David Barton discussed the importance of the issue of judges in this upcoming election by highlighting various recent Supreme Court decisions that had been decided by 5-4 margins.
After Staver rattled off several cases that were decided by close votes, Barton piped up to declare that the Lawrence v. Texas case was also a 5-4 decision. Barton was wrong, as usual; it was a 6-3 decision.
But then again what do you expect from someone who absurdly claims that in this case the Supreme Court ruled that everything that is consensual is constitutional ... even eleven year old girls having sex with ninety-five year old men:
Lawrence v. Texas was a 5-4 decision and that's the one that gave the whole foundation for gay marriage because the court there said "look, here's the new deal: if it's consensual, it's constitutional."
So if an eleven year-old girl says she wants to have sex with a ninety-five year-old guy and they both consent, that's constitutional?
Now wait a minute; if five guys want to marry one girl and they consent, that's constitutional?
So what happened is that decision was a 5-4 decision that has opened the door to what we're seeing now not only with gay marriage but with what they're calling polyamorous marriages and open marriages and so many other things because the premise is that if everybody agrees, it's fine. And that's a wild decision.
Today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" was dedicated entirely to attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center with David Barton repeatedly (and falsely) claiming that the SPLC had placed him on its "hate list" while guest Jerry Boykin reiterated his claims that the SPLC was “anti-American," "anti-Christian," and "anti-Semitic."
The most interesting revelation was when Boykin, along with Barton and co-host Rick Green, wondered how an organization like the Family Research Council could be classified as a hate group when, during last month's shooting at FRC headquarters, the building manager did not kill the shooter after he had disarmed him because God told him not to:
Boykin: Let me tell you a quick thing you may not even know; the day that the shooter came in here and shot our building manager who just happened to be sitting at the reception desk that day. The building manager, after being shot, wrestled him to the ground with one arm, took his pistol away from him, bleeding profusely and started to shoot him and he said to us "God told me not to kill that man."
Now I want you to think about that. We're the hate group but he said "God told me not to kill him." And he could have justifiably killed that guy right there that had just shot him.
Green: What a great response by that guy at FRC. I didn't realize ... man what a witness that he did the way that he responded.
Barton: The Lord said don't shoot him and we're the haters? Nobody would have said a thing if he had shot that guy that had just shot him and shattered his arm, he was under attack, self defense, he's got a perfect right, he's an officer, he can do that and the Lord says "hey, don't shoot that guy." And somehow we're the haters in this thing. How crazy is that?
A few weeks back, we wrote a post noting that David Barton's supporters and defenders had been saying that the criticism of his pseudo-scholarship simply boiled down to disagreements over matters of interpretation. We agreed and pointed out that Barton's documented inability to accurately "interpret" events and information is precisely the problem.
And today Barton again demonstrated the fundamental disregard he has for facts or accuracy when he and co-host Rick Green welcomed Rep. Louie Gohmert onto "WallBuilders Live" to defend the witch hunt that he and several other Republicans members of Congress launched against Huma Abedin under the guise of investigating the Muslim's Brotherhood's infiltration of the government.
Here is how Barton framed it:
And so what happened is you have some really high people in the State Department that, it turns out, man they've got some real direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
And so what happens is Louie [Gohmert,] and Michele [Bachmann,] and Trent Franks and some others write a letter and say "have you guys actually investigated these ties?" And so all they did was ask a question and of course the administration when they got that letter, instead of answering the question, they released it to the media and said "look what these guys are doing, it's a witch hunt."
And so they suddenly get attacked for having accused a person of being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood and that's clearly not what the letter said, the letter is out there, easy to read.
On one level, Barton is correct: the letter is out there and easy to read ... but not because the administration leaked it to the media, but because Michele Bachmann posted it on her website!
As a matter of fact, Bachmann and crew sent five different letters to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State in which they named several high-ranking advisors who are alleged to have "extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood."
So it seems that Barton's "interpretation" of events is pretty accurate - except for the two central claims of his statement.
As we havesaidseveraltimesbefore, if Barton cannot be relied upon to accurately "interpret" information pertaining to recent events that anyone with access to Google can easily check and verify, why should anyone trust anything that he says about complex events in early American history?
Given all the criticism that David Barton has been receiving for his pseudo-scholarship and misrepresentations of history in recent weeks, you would think that he would be making an effort to reign in his tendency to make blatantly false statements ... but you would be wrong.
Several times in recent months we have documented Barton claiming that the Constitution directly quotes the Bible despite the fact that it is obviously and demonstrably untrue.
But Barton was giving a presentation at Northwoods Community Church in Illinois over the weekend and made the claim yet again, claiming that those who claim the Constitution doesn't quote the Bible are just biblically illiterate:
If you will take the Constitution in one hand and read its language and take a Bible in the other hand and read it, you'll say "wow, that's a direct quotation out of a Bible verse." Yeah, exactly. If you'll look through the Constitution, you'll find so many direct quotations right out of Bible verses because that's what they put in the document.
Now today we're often told, on no, the Constitution is a secular document, it's a godless document. When people tell me that, I know that they're biblically illiterate, they don't recognize Bible verses. If you read the content of that and you know the Bible, you'll say "hey, that's a direct quote out of Ezra 7:24 and there it is out of Deuteronomy 17:5." It's just throughout the Constitution.
Let's take a look at Barton's claims and see if any of them hold up:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
Not even close. Barton also claims the idea for separation of powers came from Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse — who can understand it?
And the concept of the three branches of government came from Isaiah 33:22:
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
Clearly, not a single one of Barton's claims holds up, nor does his claim that tax exemption for churches comes out of Ezra 7:24:
You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
And that is primarly because the Constitution does not actually say anything about tax exemption for churches.
The ironic thing is that Barton says that people who point out that his claims are patently false are "biblically illiterate" when, in fact, it seems that Barton is both constitutionally and biblically illiterate since he is unable to realize that these passages he cites clearly do not say the things that he claims that they do.
A few months ago, an effort to legalize abortion in Ireland failed and David Barton hailed the development on today's "Good News Friday" program of "WallBuilders Live."
But Barton was not really concerned about the illegality of abortion in Ireland, as he was mostly just interested in the title of an article about it posted on LifeNews.com that read "Ireland Dáil Defeats Socialist’s Bill to Legalize Abortion" because, to him, it proves that people who support a woman's right to choose are really just socialists:
I love the title on this. It says "Ireland Dáil Defeats Socialist’s Bill to Legalize Abortion." Now the two words that stick out to me there are "socialists" and "abortion." It's interesting how those two things go together. Pro-abortion people tend to be pro-socialism people; that is, they want bigger government. If you want abortion, you want bigger government.
And I don't think I had really thought of socialism and abortion as going side-by-side until I saw the headline to this article that they defeated a socialist's bill to legalize abortion. And, you know, that kind of helps me identify things here in America; I can kind of start looking at people who are pro-abortion and say, you know, they really are pro-socialism, they're pro bigger government, less individual rights and responsibilities.
But I think it's good news for us to identify pro-abortion people with socialism, quite frankly.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today where he was promoting his new book "Push Back, Reclaiming the American Judeo-Christian Spirit," which he said he hoped would inspire people to rise up and take to the streets in protest against the "hard-core leftist socialists" who are out to destroy the Constitution and the Judeo-Christian philosophy:
There's no question that there is a very concerted effort by an elitist clique on the left - they used to call themselves liberals; they're really leftists, hard-core leftist socialists - and they want to control every aspect of our life. They have no respect for our religious conscience; they actually have no respect even for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, they override it whenever they decide to. They called many of our Founding Fathers "dead white males" and by repudiating them, they really wish to repudiate the Constitution, our American ethos, the whole Judeo-Christian system that gave us success.
If we're going to win this battle - we, the citizens state-side here - we've got to rise up and push back; we've got to go into the street, we've got to protest, we've got to rally, we've got to contact all of our people in every type of state legislature, the people on the national level, the local level, the school board because they're fighting us in every single precinct of America to take over the culture, to take over the law, to transform us into something socialist, like Europe, something that has no respect for the Judeo-Christian philosophy. It's our job to fight back; we can't rely on other people to do it for us.
While appearing on televangelist Kenneth Copeland’s Believer’s Voice of Victory, disgraced pseudo-historian onceagainusedhisplatform on Copeland’s show to deliver an attack on gay rights and women’s rights, this time saying that marriage equality and reproductive rights lead to a nation’s destruction. “If a nation says, ‘hey, we want abortion, we want homosexual marriage,’ it is going down,” Barton said, “anytime you move away from what God says, you are going down as a nation.”
He claimed that Obama’s approach to the black community is “not acceptable” following his endorsement of marriage equality and decision to lead America “down a very immoral road,” and doubted that Obama “even believes it himself, but because of the money and catering to the homosexual community” he took the pro-equality stance anyway. To top it all off, Owens said that “my people in Africa killed each other by the thousands so we can’t give him a pass because he’s black.”
Green: So why is this an important enough issue for ya’ll to move forward like this?
Owens: I think it’s important because it’s changing our culture and we feel that the President, being the first black president number one, holding the most powerful position in the world was put their overwhelmingly by black people. I was in the civil rights movement and we marched for civil rights but it was not for a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman, and the President has not given us the courtesy of even answering our request. That is improper, it’s disrespect. You cannot ignore that many pastors and their members and cater to the homosexual community, he’s had Lady Gaga in the White House, he gave same-sex marriage a party in the White House, but to ignore thousands of pastors and their members is not acceptable and we will not give him a pass because he’s black.
Green: You know you said something I think is just absolutely correct; you said ‘by embracing same-sex marriage President Obama is leading this country down an immoral path’ and ‘some things are bigger than the next election’ and you also mentioned that the black church has always been the conscience of America, I think that’s absolutely true. To see this stance, being willing to say we may agree with the President on a ton of other issues but this one is just too big, we cannot stand by and allow him to lead us down this immoral path is a courageous stance. How are people responding to you?
Owens: We almost have that 100,000 signatures, believe it or not, and they are responding daily, sometimes three or four hits a minute, supporting our position. As you know, every state that the marriage amendment has been on the ballot, we have won in every state and the blacks have overwhelmingly voted against same-sex marriage in every state. So the President takes it on himself to put his ideas out there for political reasons, I don’t think he even believes it himself, but because of the money and catering to the homosexual community, well I guarantee you the homosexual community doesn’t have as many people as there are Christians, black and white and all colors. I think he’s put himself in a corner, I don’t think he expected us to come out against him so hard because he’s black, but we’re not giving him a pass because he’s black, he’s leading the country down a very immoral road that it will take years to know the ramifications.
Green: It sounds like you’re taking the same stance Martin Luther King, Jr. would, it’s not the color of his skin but the content of character and what are the actual positions.
Owens: That’s right. We can’t give him a pass because he’s black. My people in Africa killed each other by the thousands so we can’t give him a pass because he’s black. Being black does not make him any more honorable, in this case as far as I’m concerned it’s making him less honorable. He was the first black president and this is what he uses his power for.
The extent to which just how thoroughly the Religious Right's agenda dominates the 2012 GOP platform was helpfully exposed last night when David Barton appeared on GBTV to brag that the platform is "the most conservative in my lifetime," revealing that he personally "made 71 motions to add to this platform and 70 of them got passed":
While appearing on Kenneth Copeland's "Believer's Voice of Victory" television program, David Barton said that any effort to change the definition of marriage to include "a man and a man or a dog and a horse" will harm a nation's ability to prosper economically "because you're violating commands of God":
David Barton has returned for another extended appearance on Kenneth Copeland's "Believers Voice of Victory" television program where he made the case that our economic system must be set up to correspond to "the way God says the government should do economics," which means that government needs to "reward those who make a profit."
But rather than doing that, Barton warned, our government is punishing those who have been successful and using their money to reward those who aren't productive or bail-out those who have run their business into the ground ... "and there's no way God is going to bless that ... because we're not following his laws."
But not only is God not going to bless our government, He is "actually going to come down and oppose" it, coming straight out of Heaven to say "what's going on down here? This isn't what I ordained":
Yesterday on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green discussed the case of Arizona pastor Michael Salman who has recently become a Religious Right cause célèbre because he is supposedly being persecuted simply because he wanted to hold Bible study meetings at his home.
In reality, Salman had been attempting to illegally build a church in his back yard and had been holding multiple-weekly church services on his property until he was found guilty of dozens of code violations and sentenced to sixty days in jail.
Barton took up the case today and voiced his outrage, calling on voters in Phoenix to work to remove political leaders in that city for allowing something like this to happen. Barton went on to falsely claim that Salman's home was raided by a SWAT team sent to arrest him and said that law enforcement officers must refuse to participate in things like this because they have an obligation to uphold the Constitution:
And the one we have today, the one we're going to talk about today is a great example is a bunch of political leaders in a city who need to be seriously removed. The fact that they would even think about enforcing this particular ordinance against anybody means that we've got a bad set of leaders there that need to be gone.
There needs to be some changes in Phoenix and people really do need to let city hall hear it over this. And I'm really concerned about cops who are willing to go in as a SWAT team to arrest a pastor who's had Bible study. The cops should have said "no, we're not doing that. I mean, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution too; there's the right of assembly, the right of speech, the right of religion. We're not going to go arrest this guy with AR-15s and a SWAT team." At some point, citizens are going to have to say we're not going to be part of this and that should have happened at this point.
We are used to watching David Barton give off an aura of expertise by speaking so quickly that people can’t notice when he is making patently false claims and simplymakingstuffupabout America’sfoundersandtheConstitution. For example, last night at the Prayer Rally for America’s Future, the event hosted by Focus on the Family and the Florida Family Policy Council in Tampa’s River Church right before the Republican National Convention, Barton made a rather peculiar claim about the Seventh Amendment.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re–examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Barton, who has made the same claim about the Seventh Amendment before, does not say how exactly the right to a trial by jury bans abortion, but because Barton is so confident that all of the founders agreed with all of his own theological and political views, he sees no need to explain the connection between the right to jury trials and the legality of abortions.
The first belief we have in American government, in American society is that there’s a divine Creator, that’s not a personal belief, that’s an official government belief, that’s in our founding document. The first thing we say is there’s a Creator, the second thing we say is we believe the Creator gave us a certain set of rights, that are God-given inalienable rights, they exist to every person on the globe just because they were born, actually just because they were conceived quite frankly. Founding Fathers recognized abortion as a crime way back in the beginning, that’s why in the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution, part of the common law, you’re not allowed to do abortions because God gives life, not humans, humans can’t take life that God gives so it’s real simple stuff.
Every Friday on 'WallBuilders Live" is "Good News Friday" where David Barton and Rick Green discuss what they consider to be positive developments around the nation and today Barton caught Green off-guard by kicking off the show by citing the Supreme Courts' recent decision upholding the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation.
The ruling was good news, Barton explained, because it contained a line written by Chief Justice John Roberts that declared that it was "not [the Supreme Court's] job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." And this sort of statement, Barton declared, is a sign of spiritual revival:
Barton: I'm going to start with a victory, and don't think I'm crazy for choosing this as a victory because I really think it is, but it deals with the Supreme Court's health care decision.
One of the greatest lines out of any Supreme Court case in the last one hundred years is when Chief Justice Roberts said "it is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."
Green: Amen to that.
Barton And I say amen! ... Why I really like this is in Jeremiah 31, in that passage God talks about the difference in a nation and how he is going to change the nation, so both Jeremiah and Isaiah talk about this. But he says in the time that a nation's under a curse, he says the proverb is that the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge. So what they're saying is, the kids say 'hey, it's not our fault; our fathers did this.'
But he says at the Day of the Lord, when he comes and heals the nation, you'll then say each one has eaten sour grapes and his own teeth are set on edge.
Green: You're responsible for your own actions.
Barton: You're responsible for your own stuff; you can't blame this on anybody else. And that's a sign of revival, when you start saying you're responsible for your actions and the court says, hey, you're responsible for your own political decisions, guess what? That is a spiritually good sign.