David Barton

David Barton on the Environment, Abortion, and Michael Vick

As we mentioned yesterday, a few episodes of David Barton's "Building on the American Heritage Series" program are available in the TBN archives, including one in which Barton explains how "social justice" is really just another term of "socialism."

At one point, the discussion turned to the subject of climate change, a topic on which Barton fancies himself an expert, in which he explained that the Biblical account of creation in the book of Genesis reveals that God placed man above all animals and the Earth. 

But, Barton explained, today environmentalists have reversed God's order and now place the Earth and animals above man, as proven by the fact that Michael Vick went to prison for dog-fighting but "we don't send abortionists to jail for killing babies": 

Barton: Intolerance of Gays is a Sign of Spiritual Revival

Last year, David Barton released a six DVD program entitled "Building on the American Heritage Series" in which Barton, along with co-host Rick Green, "navigates our nation’s unique religious, moral and constitutional heritage and answers the questions Americans are asking today."

Today, we noticed that a few of these programs had aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and were archived on its website.  And so, being gluttons for punishment, we set about watching them. 

In the episode entitled "Revival And Reformation," Green asked Barton just how people would know if a revival was taking place in the nation and Barton stated that the spiritual changes brought about by revival lead to political changes, so one of the signs of revival is that society stops tolerating homosexuality: 

Traveling through Time with Kirk Cameron: Looking at America through a Religious Right Lens

After a tour of both mainstream and right-wing media outlets that largely focused on Kirk Cameron’s denigration of gays and lesbians, last night his “documentary” Monumental premiered in select theatres with little public attention.

The premiere included a live stream of Cameron in his living room right before and after the film, where he listened to praise music, gazed over food and mingled with family members and friends, while recounting how “truly sick” America has become.

Cameron admitted that he is no history buff, telling his pastor, “I feel like a dry sponge when I learn all these things.”

Just as Cameron was a “dry sponge” when learning lessons about how the banana disproves evolution, he accepted the claims of Religious Right activists posing as historians at face value.

One of whom was Glenn Beck, who appeared via satellite feed. Cameron and Beck took turns complimenting each other, with the former Fox News host lauding Cameron, “You were in Left Behind while I was reading it.” Curiously, Cameron decided against attending Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally after Brannon Howse, among others, warned evangelicals about joining forces with Beck, a Mormon.

Beck told Cameron that God told him that their mission to “wake up” America is a path they can’t veer from. “Return to me and I will protect you,” Beck says was God’s message, adding that God wants to be America’s “sword and shield.”

But the conservative celebrity appearances didn’t end there: Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece and a Religious Right activist, was in Cameron’s living room as well. Cameron asked her what she thought her uncle would want people to do if he were here today, to which Alveda responded that King would want people to watch Monumental!

She seems to think that King would endorse a movie that whitewashes America’s past, as Cameron determines that America’s problems only began in the last few decades.

In the film, Cameron’s adventure starts in England, where we learn how Puritans were persecuted by the Church of England and ultimately, at great personal and familial sacrifice, made their way to Holland to find religious freedom and escape a society where the “government controlled the church.” It was a stark if simplistic look at religious persecution at a time when many on the Right are decrying the Obama administration’s “attacks on religious liberty.”

Visiting in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Cameron claims that the Pilgrims established a governmental “system of all men created equal under the law.” He then sets forth to find the Pilgrims’ “training manual” and the “secret sauce” that will be the key to stopping America’s plunge into moral and economic disarray.

He finds the “secret sauce” at Plymouth’s National Monument to the Forefathers, which was built in 1910 under the leadership of Freemasons, though from just watching Cameron’s documentary you would think the Pilgrims themselves helped construct it. The message from the monument is that faith leads to personal morality, spreading that faith creates a moral and therefore just society, and a just society produces mercy for the disadvantaged and education for the children. Cameron used the part about education to bemoan how parents can send their children to “government schools” where they are trained to be “slaves to the state,” generating an entitlement culture that breeds government dependence rather than reliance on faith. Ultimately, the “secret sauce” creates “Liberty Man,” who Cameron says is “not a wimpy religious man but a stud.”

Cameron, in seeking to find out how America went from a country of Liberty Men to a fallen people, glosses over how the mythical country of Liberty Men considered African Americans, Native Americans and women to be inferior and endorsed slavery, racism, and discriminatory and violent treatment of women. He also neglects to mention that in Plymouth religious liberty was nonexistent and religious dissenters were mercilessly persecuted. For instance, people were not allowed to become Quakers or even give aide Quakers and Quakers were even executed by the colony’s government.

Just as damning, Cameron conflates the Pilgrims with the Founders: the film gives the impression that the Founders had the same religious convictions and beliefs in the role of religion in government as the Pilgrims. Never mind that more than a few of the Founders were members of the Church of England, the very same church that Cameron noted persecuted the Pilgrims.

Cameron spoke to Christian Reconstructionist ‘historians’ David Barton and Herb Titus to find out how evil, atheist academics from Boston (scary music included) lied to Americans about the country’s Christian heritage. Barton said there is a “deliberate attempt” to hide the faith of the Founding Fathers by using “revisionism,” and Titus warned that “a nation that attempts to build a foundation not based on God’s law will ultimately self-destruct.”

The movie ended with warnings about secular government and democracy run amok, with one guest repeating the myth that Adolf Hitler was a democratically elected dictator, and Alveda King appearing once again to tell us that “America hasn’t been destroyed because we call upon the Lord.”

Accuracy shouldn’t have been expected from a film about American history made by someone who freely admits that he had little knowledge of history and was a “dry sponge” who didn’t think critically about the nation’s past. But since Cameron’s findings easily conformed to the Religious Right view of American history and government, Monumental will surely find a place along with David Barton books and episodes of Glenn Beck that feed faux-history to conservative audiences across the nation.

Barton: One More Bombing Run Would have Won the Vietnam War

Last week we discovered that a few presentations that David Barton had delivered at Gateway Church were posted on their website.  And, being gluttons for punishment, we decided to watch them, even though they were a few years old.

Back in 2007, Barton delivered a message entitled "America's Godly Heritage" right before Memorial Day where he made the case that God was pro-war, so much so that He even "gifted" certain people with the skills necessary for battle just as some people are gifted in the arts or sports. 

One of those people, Barton said, was Congressman Sam Johnson whom Barton called "maybe the most godly man I have ever met." While discussing the seven years Johnson spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Barton made an aside in which he asserted that intelligence now shows that had the US just done one more bombing run, the Viet Cong would have surrendered:

Barton: Everything Biblical is Treated like it is Evil

This must be Anti-islam week on "WallBuilders Live," as yesterday David Barton welcomed Bridgette Gabriel on for a program where he misrepresented the "Zombie Mohammed" assault case in Pennsylvania to demonstrate that secular law is paving the way for Sharia in America.

Today, Barton and co-host Rick Green welcomed anti-Islam activist Jerry Boykin to the program where Barton complained that everything Biblical is being treated as if it is evil: 

There is such a hostility toward Biblical stuff, whether it's Jewish or Christian, there's such a hostility [that] we'll embrace anything as long as it's not Jewish or Christian. And that's a result of our universities, that's a result of what we've done in Hollywood for a number of years, that's a result of the kind of people we have put in office. It is unbelievable to me that we have allowed several cycles of educational stuff to go through where evil is Christian; if it's Christian, if it's Jewish, if it's Biblical, it's evil. Everything else is really wholesome and healthy.

David Barton Twists the Facts, Claims Secular Law Leads to Sharia

Today on WallBuilders Live David Barton claimed that a Pennsylvania judge used Sharia law when dismissing charges against a Muslim man who had been accused of assaulting a man dressed as “Zombie Mohammad.” Cathy Young in Reason writes that the judge’s decision was “probably not” improper due to conflicting accounts and a lack of evidence, although the judge did seem to go out of bounds when lambasting the plaintiff “for his disrespect for other people's culture and faith” and suggesting that he was “way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.”

Following the ruling, the right wing immediately heralded the case as an example of Sharia law in American courts and went ahead to completely distort the facts of the case.

Conservative pseudo-historian David Barton was no exception when he covered the story today on his radio program:

First, Barton claimed that the defendant “beat the dickens out of the guy” dressed as Mohammad, while as Young points out it was “unclear” what actually happened in the altercation.

Then, Barton claimed that “the judge is himself a Muslim.” The judge, a Lutheran, was thought to have said this during the hearing, but actually said “I’m not a Muslim.” The judge quickly clarified his remarks, and Barton either hasn’t done his homework or is willfully ignoring this fact.

He went on to claim that the judge said he “can beat the dickens out of you for making fun of Mohammad because you can’t do that,” even though, again, that is not what happened. The judge said in a statement that he lectured the defendant on Islam but that it had nothing to do with his ruling:

In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.

Later in the program, Barton went even further by arguing that secular law actually paved the way for Sharia in America. He maintained that since the “God-fearing system” was replaced with a “secular system,” Sharia has come to supplant “Judeo-Christian principles.”

I was really struck with a passage that Jesus has in Matthew 12. Matthew 12 he talks about how an unclean spirit had gone out of a man and in verse 43 it says it goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none, verse 44, then he says, ‘The unclean spirit says, ‘I will return to the house from which I came.’ When he comes, he finds it empty, swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself.’ I thought, that’s that principle, if you don’t fill it with good stuff, bad stuff is going to find its way in and it will be a lot worse. So we had it filled with kind of a God-fearing system and then we made it a secular system, so now we made it seven times worse by saying, let’s take Sharia law, not only do we not want biblical stuff we don’t even want secular stuff, we want seven times worse than secular. The vacuum is going to get filled with something, and if we’re going to refuse to have some Judeo-Christian principles in there on which the founders built everything and that’s what they had as the undergirding , if we’re not going to do that, then what are we going to fill it with? Right now it appears that it is going to be Sharia.

Barton: 'The Free Market Will Take Care of [the] Crooks'

Today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" was dedicated to defending free-market capitalism, as Rick Green and David Barton asserted that there should literally be no government regulation or oversight of any aspect of our economy whatsoever:

Barton: A free market means that it is a market that is free from government regulations. Now, people today don't think that. They say free market [but think] "well, the government does need to regulate to make sure there's no corruption." No, no, no.

Green: But even that phrase "to regulate" means to make regular. It means just keep it ...

Barton: ... standardize it ...

Green: ... yeah, keep there from being tariffs between states and that sort of thing. It doesn't mean micromanage your marketplace.

Barton: And it's amazing how many people who say "I believe in the free market" still want some sort of government oversight. "Well, you got all those crooks on Wall Street" ... hey, the free market will take care of it.

Green: That's exactly right.

Barton: The free market will take care of crooks and they'll be out of business and we also have laws that say, hey you can't steal. And if you steal, you're going to be in jail. Talk to [Bernie] Madoff about that, see how it worked out for him.

Green: It's the areas that we most put regulation in to that then become a problem ...

Barton: ... the most corrupt ...

Green: ... the areas we got to go bail out.

I guess it should be pointed out that Madoff pled guilty [PDF] to "securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and theft from an employee benefit plan," violations of the very sorts of regulations that Barton and Green believe are totally  unnecessary.

Barton: The Bible Says Israel Deserves Foreign Aid

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green welcomed Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to discuss why "it is not only important that we send a message of support to Israel, but it is important that that message is clear."

While introducing the program, Barton claimed that sided with Libertarians in thinking that the United States needed to reduce the amount of money it was spending on foreign aid, with one exception: Israel ... and that is because the Bible says so:

Barton: One of the areas where I will agree with Libertarians is that our foreign policy spending is way the heck out of bounds. The one where I'm going to draw an exception is we've got a business giving to Israel.

And you can say "well, it's not in the Constitution." Okay, I can say it's in Genesis 12:3. Genesis 12:3 told Abraham "I'm going to make a nation out of you and the way that other nations treat that nation is how I'm going to treat other nations." Now that's a great public policy reason for doing something with Israel. I might not do it with other nations there ... but He made it really clear whatever nation, the way they treat your descendents, you nation, I'm going to whack 'em or I'm going to bless 'em based on what happens there.

Green: And that's reason enough by itself.

Barton: That's reason enough by itself.

Another 'False News Friday' with David Barton

As we noted last month, every Friday David Barton and Rick Green host "Good News Friday" on their "Wallbuilders Live" radio program during which they discuss "good news from around the nation the media doesn't report."

These programs are particularly interesting because they typically feature stories that Barton has plucked from the media which, he believes, demonstrate that the Religious Right is racking up victories all over the country.

The problem with these stories, as with so much else that he does, is that Barton has a tendency to over-simplify and misrepresent just what is taking place.

He did it a few weeks ago when he falsely claimed that an Eastern Michigan University had won a lawsuit against the school after being thrown out of her program for refusing to "affirm a client’s homosexual behavior," citing religious objections. 

The court had merely ruled that the student had a right to sue and did not rule on the merits of the case itself, but Barton nonetheless proclaimed it to be a "huge, huge victory [that is] going to be cited across the nation for all sorts of other kids that are facing the same kind of discrimination."

And he did it again today when he asserted that study shows that teens who remain abstinent earn $370,000 more in the lifetimes:

If a teenager wants to earn $370,000 more in their lifetime than all their neighbors, you know what they need to do? A study now shows that if you are not sexually active as a teenage, you do earn $370,000 more in your lifetime than others.

Now explain that ... it just shows God's ways work.

If that claim sounds familiar, it is probably because Amber Haskew, Coordinator of the Day of Purity, made it earlier this year and, as we pointed out then, the figure comes from a 2005 Heritage Foundation report that didn't actually provide any data to support this assertion, but simply predicted that students who abstain are also likely to do better in school and therefore have higher lifetime earnings:

Teens who abstain are likely to have greater future orientation, greater impulse control, greater perseverance, greater resistance to peer pressure, and more respect for parental and societal values. These traits are likely to contribute to higher academic achievement. In short, teen virgins are more likely to possess character traits that lead to success in life. Moreover, the practice of abstinence is likely to foster positive character traits that, in turn, will contribute to academic performance ... In our society, greater educational attainment leads, on average, to higher lifetime incomes. Because they are more successful in school, teen virgins can expect to have, on average, incomes that will be 16 percent higher than sexually active teens from identical socio-economic backgrounds. This will mean an average increase of $370,000 in income over a lifetime.

Obviously, the study did not show that those who abstain early nearly $400K more, but merely estimated that those who did so would demonstrate "greater educational attainment" and therefore earn more, on average, over their lifetimes.

But that is not what Barton reported at all and this demonstrates a central point about Barton and his work:  if he cannot be trusted to accurately report on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable to anyone with internet access, how can he be trusted to accurately report on the things that he plucks out of centuries-old documents squirreled away in his private library that very few others ever get to see or examine? 

David Barton's Long Term Plan to Remake America

Back in 2009 and 2010, when David Barton was tapped as an "expert" to help the Texas State Board of Education rewrite the state's social studies standards, he claimed that he was not promoting any sort of agenda, but was simply dedicated to reintroducing into the curriculum ignored parts "of history that certainly should be presented."

Around the time this was all taking place, Barton appeared on some Rhode Island public access program where he said that his work on rewriting the Texas curriculum gave him tremendous optimism about the future of America because the textbooks written for Texas schools would be used all over the nation and influence the students over the next twenty to thirty years who will eventually be elected to public office:

Barton's involvement in rewriting the Texas standards provoked such an outcry that he now has to do all this sort of work in secret so that nobody knows just how or where he is reworking to inject this long term, right-wing political agenda into the nation's curriculum.

Beware the Insidious Agenda of 'Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type'

Yesterday's episode of "Wallbuilders Live" featured an interview with Kyle Olson, author of the book "Indoctrination: How 'Useful Idiots' Are Using Our Schools to Subvert American Exceptionalism."

Olson was bought on to explain to co-host Rick Green how "useful idiots" (i.e. liberals) are using the public schools to promote their pro-gay, anti-business, America-hating agenda to the nation's students. When asked to provide some examples of how this is happening, Olson singled out an episode in Texas where a teacher used the book "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" to supposedly promote a "pro-union" message!  And, as if that wasn't bad enough, David Barton then weighed in to warn that it was also an "anti-Creation book" because it makes kids think that cows are equal to humans:

Olson: There is a book called "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" - and I have gotten a lot of heat for talking about this book, but it's very clear that this book is about union organizing because the basic story of the book is that the cows are cold at night and they want to be warm at night so they go to the farmer and say "we want electric blankets." The farmer says "I'm not going to give you electric blankets, you're cows." So then the cows go on strike, and then the chickens go on strike and then, of course, the farmer capitulates and gives them blankets and it's this great story of union power.

What some of the teachers .... have done is they find subtle ways to get this book in front of kids. And so the example from Texas was there was a teacher who decided to make this a science lesson and so, what she did was she read the book to the students and then they did a science experiment to figure out the difference between electric blankets and regular blankets. So, that's just one example ...

Green: No, but that makes sense, so then they use these maybe legitimate exercises of a science study to get the left-wing indoctrination in because I'm assuming that with a book like that, you're talking elementary school kids right?

Olson: Yeah, very young kids. I think those were kindergarteners.

Green: So you've got these kids who have never been exposed to any of this kind of stuff, have never thought about this kind of stuff, but you're already planting in their minds the whole union philosophy.

...

Barton: By the way, that's not only a pro-union book, it's an anti-creation book because it makes the animals equal to people. Those kids who come out of that kindergarten class are going to grow up to be attorneys who fight for the rights of cows, because cows are just like we are. Speciesism .... how arrogant to think that humans are a higher species than anything else. No, God does that. That's in Genesis 1-3, different days of creation, different levels, He put man at the top, said "now you go subdue everything, it's all under you, you're the apex of this thing, you're just a little lower than the angels and I'm putting everything under your feet." Real simple stuff. But now, not only are we teaching unionism, we're going against that Biblical viewpoint.

Barton: Employers Have no Obligation to be 'Fair' to Workers (and Jesus Agrees)

In the past, we have chronicled how David Barton uses the Bible, in particular Matthew 20:1-16, to promote an ultra-right-wing economic view by claiming that Jesus opposed the minimum wage and any sort of employment discrimination laws.

Barton's interpretation of this passage is particularly absurd since, as we have noted before, Matthew 20 is the famous "Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" in which Jesus explains "the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner" who pays all of his works the same amount, regardless of how much they worked. The point of the parable is that no matter how late in one's life one comes to Christ, the Heavenly reward is the same; those who embraced Christ on their deathbed will receive the same eternal reward as those who were Christians all of their lives because of God's generous love.

On his "Wallbuilders Live" radio program today, Barton once again trotted out this parable, this time to declare that employers have no obligation to be "fair" to their workers and to suggest that Jesus also opposed unions:

The Bible says [the worker] started grumbling about what happened, grumbling about his wages and Jesus answered and said to him "am I being unfair to you friend? Didn't you agree to work for a day's wages? You take your pay and go. I want to give to the one who was hired the same as I gave to you. That's my choice." Here it is, Matthew 20:15. "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?"

Now, two things come out here, is if an employee agrees to work for an employer, that's a contract between the two of them ... and Jesus points out that you can go to a different vineyard if you don't like what I'm paying. You've got the free market, you can go choose a different employer. You agreed to work for me for this wage and that's what you're going to get. So first you get the inviolability of contracts between employers and employees ... and whatever is fair has nothing to do with it. That's not their responsibility to be fair, it's "I gave my word, that's what I agreed to work for." So Jesus says, as an employer, isn't my money mine to do with as I please?

Second point is, where were unions in all this? The contract is between an employer and an employee, not between a group. He went out and hired individually the guys he wanted to work.

Notice how Barton takes a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven and transforms it into a Biblical justification for laissez-faire capitalism, anti-unionism, and employment discrimination and does so by attributing to Jesus words that Jesus himself put in the mouth of an unnamed landowner in order to demonstrate God's generosity.

When Barton cites Matthew 20, it is not some parable about God's love, but rather a lesson in right-wing econonics in which Jesus himself hires workers for his vineyard and tells those who complain about wage discrimination that they can take a hike if they don't like it because employers have no obligation to be fair to their workers.  

Kirk Cameron Taps David Barton for new Documentary

We already know former child star Kirk Cameron is far from the best student of American history, so of course he’s decided to make a documentary, Monumental, about American history. Naturally, Cameron is turning to right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton for help:

Chris Rodda debunked Barton’s story about “Congress’s Bible,” noting that Congress simply passed a resolution on the accuracy of the edition of the Bible of printer Robert Aiken and did not purchases or print copies of the Bible, pay for the printing or print the Bible for use in schools. “The words ‘a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools’ are taken from a letter written by Aitken, not the resolution of Congress,” Rodda writes, “The only help Aitken ever got from Congress was the resolution endorsing the accuracy of his work.”

She also notes that the Aitken Bible was first called “The Bible of the Revolution” not during the American Revolution but in 1930 by people who were trying to sell copies of it, and Aitken himself “ended up losing over £3,000 on the 10,000 Bibles he printed.”

This is one of Barton’s many false tales about American history and it should come as no one’s surprise that he will be prominently featured in Cameron’s documentary about American history, even though Christian academics have emerged as some of Barton’s leading critics.

Some far-right Christian commentators are also upset with Cameron, with one claiming that he is misrepresenting America’s “pagan” history as Christian.

Barton Sees the Bible Everywhere

We have already written a number of posts about David Barton and his tendency to proclaim that if something has any sort of parallel to anything in the Bible, then the inspiration for that thing could only have come from the Bible.

Thus, for Barton, there is no doubt that our three branches of government and separation of powers, our free market system, our due process clause, elections, and all manner of other Constitutional provisions were explicitly based on Biblical models -  an idea which is based entirely on the fact that Barton happens to see parallels between them and something he read in the Bible. 

Lately, he has been expanding upon this trick and started pulling excerpts out of letters and speeches from the Founding Fathers and proclaiming that, in just a few short lines, the Bible is cited multiple time.  Barton did it against recently on Glenn Beck with a letter written by George Washington to Marquis de LaFayette in 1785, claiming that in three sentences, Washington quoted the Bible seven times:

Here is the excerpt from Washington's letter:

I wish to see the sons and daughters of the world in Peace and busily employed in the more agreeable amusement of fulfilling the first and great commandment, Increase and Multiply: as an encouragement to which we have opened the fertile plains of the Ohio to the poor, the needy and the oppressed of the Earth; any one therefore who is heavy laden, or who wants land to cultivate, may repair thither and abound, as in the Land of promise, with milk and honey: the ways are preparing, and the roads will be made easy, thro— the channels of Potomac and James river.

And here are the Bible verses that Barton claims Washington was explicitly quoting:

Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Matthew 22:38

This is the first and great commandment.

Deuteronomy 24:14

Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 3:8

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Exodus 12:25

And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

Isaiah 4:30

A voice cries:“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

For Barton, any similarity in language or imagery between Washington's letter and anything in the Bible can only mean that Washington was intentionally quoting the Bible. 

Thus, mentioning the poor and needy must be a reference to Deuteronomy.  And Washington's use of the phrase "heavy laden" can only mean that he was directly quoting Matthew.  And imagery about "preparing" is proof positive that he was citing Isaiah.

Barton never provides any evidence that Washington had specific Bible passages in mind when writing these lines; he merely asserts it as fact. 

It is Barton who is constantly finding Biblical parallels in letters from the Founding Fathers and in our free market system and our form of government and everything else and then asserting, without evidence, that the latter were all based explicitly on the former. 

Another Day, Another David Barton Falsehood

Every Friday, David Barton and Rick Green host "Good News Friday" on their "Wallbuilders Live" radio program during which they discuss "good news from around the nation the media doesn't report."

As we have noted in dozens and dozens of blog posts and even full-blown reports, Barton has something of a tendency to completely misrepresent things in order to bolster his ultra-right-wing agenda ... and he did it once again during today's radio program.

Barton and Green were discussing a recent decision 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving an Eastern Michigan University graduate student who was expelled from a counseling program after she refused to "affirm a client’s homosexual behavior" during counseling, citing religious objections.

The student, Julea Ward, sued the school, seeking summary judgment and lost.  So she appealed to the 6th Circuit, which ruled, not in her favor, but merely that she could have her case heard in court and the merits of her claim decided by a jury.

But, of course, that is not how Barton portrayed it at all, instead claiming that Ward had won her lawsuit outright and that the ruling was a huge victory that would protect other students from suffering the same fate as Ward:

What we had was a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University who, because of her religious beliefs, said 'look, I can't counsel people to be homosexual. You got to send them to some other counselor to do that.' And all the kids who had been doing that before had been dismissed from the program, [with the school] saying 'if you can't counsel pro-homosexuality, you can't be a counselor.'

And so this particular time, the graduate student sued and said 'look, you can't tell me because of my religious beliefs what I have to counsel." And the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in the favor of this graduate student, saying you're right, you cannot dismiss this student from the program simply because they refuse to promote homosexuality.

Here's a good reversal and this is a great piece of good news. And it's not just a lower district court, this is the Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit and this is a huge, huge victory and it's going to be cited across the nation for all sorts of other kids that are facing the same kind of discrimination.

The 6th Circuit ruled nothing of the sort.  As the decision [PDF] made clear, the Court merely ruled that both sides could make a compelling case and thus it should be decided by a jury:

Construing the evidence in the university’s favor, a jury might credit the university’s claim that such a policy existed and conclude that practicum students were subject to a general ban on referrals, making it difficult for Ward to demonstrate that she was expelled on pretextual grounds as opposed to the ground that she refused to adhere to a general and reasonable curricular requirement. Just as the inferences favor Ward in the one setting, they favor the university defendants in the other. At this stage of the case and on this record, neither side deserves to win as a matter of law.

...

For these reasons, we reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings.

As we have said before, one of the main keys to Barton's success as a right-wing "expert" is that nobody on the Right ever bothers to check anything that he says ... or hold him accountable for all of the things that he gets wrong.

Barton: 'We've Never Been a Colonialist Nation'

Today on WallBuildersLive, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton proved once again why no one should trust what he says about American history, as he argued that the United States has “never been a colonialist nation” and “never gone out to conquer others and make ourselves bigger.” Surely, this must come as a surprise to the Native Americans and Mexicans, along with the people of the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. While he is correct to note that George Washington spoke out against an interventionist foreign policy, Barton appears to gloss over America’s wars of aggression and acquisition.

Barton: One of the things we often see with other militaries is they rule by intimidation, by threats, by terrorism really, they want to scare the dickens out of the enemy and America didn’t do that. From the very beginning when George Washington set this thing up he said, ‘ok we’re having chaplains with everybody and here’s the only kind of war you can fight is you can fight defensive wars not offensive wars, you have to respect the rights of property, you can fight back when attacked,’ so we have a whole different mentality, we’ve never been a colonialist nation, we’ve never gone out to conquer others and make ourselves bigger, we’ve just never had that mentality.



That’s exactly what made America so different, we don’t have that colonial aspect of let’s go conquer somebody else and make our nation bigger and that’s because of the faith element.

Barton: Life Begins Before Conception

Earlier this week, Miranda wrote a post about the Religious Right's anti-environmentalism and its relationship to Rick Santorum's recent attack on President Obama's "phony theology."

In the post, she noted that David Barton, of all people, is considered to be an expert on the topic of global warming by Republicans and the Religious Right and that, back in 2007, he even testified before the US Senate on the topic.

A few weeks after delivering that testimony, Barton gave a presentation on the subject of global warming which Wallbuilders recorded and now sells as a CD entitled "Science, The Bible, & Global Warming."

We listened to the presentation yesterday and it was chock-full of the sort of pseudo-science that one would expect from a pseudo-historian like David Barton, as his entire presentation was rooted in the idea that there is science and then there is "false science" ... and "false science" is anything that undermines the Bible:

There is science and there is science that is falsely so-called. See, the Bible doesn't have trouble with science, but it's talking about beware of the stuff that's falsely called science. There's a lot that masquerades in the name of science.

How do you know false science? False science leads you to a certain end. What is that end? That it undermines your faith. So a good definition of false science, at least based on the Bible verse, science that undermines faith is false science and science that's wrongly used it false science.

God's into science. He created everything. He's the great botanist, He's the great zoologist, He's the great every one of those things. He knows better than anyone else because he made it all. But when science takes you to a position that causes you to doubt your relationship with God, causes you to doubt the Bible ... that's called false science.

And since all "real" science has to correspond to the Bible, Barton explains that life does not begin at conception, but rather before conception ... because that is what the Bible says:

If you consider that life begins at conception ... and I have to consider that Biblically, life begins before conception because it says "before you were in your mother's womb I knew you." So I gotta say, well it at least begins at conception. How you handle that Jeremiah verse that says before that I knew you, you know that's an interesting question.

Santorum and the 'Green Dragon': Faith-Based Attacks on Environmentalism Nothing New from the Religious Right

Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum raised a lot of eyebrows this weekend when he attacked environmentalism as anti-Biblical and said that President Obama has a “phony theology” that sides with “radical environmentalists” over the Bible. While it was remarkable to hear these theories coming from a major presidential candidate, the theories themselves are nothing new. Instead, Santorum was drawing from a dual line of attack on environmentalists and progressive people of faith that has recently come into wide use among the Religious Right.

In 2010, People For the American Way looked at the concerted right-wing effort to frame environmentalism as anti-Biblical in a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, The ‘Green Dragon’ Slayers: How the Religious Right and the Corporate Right are Joining Forces to Fight Environmental Protection . The report took its title from a right-wing “documentary” called “Resisting the Green Dragon,” which featured major Religious Right figures including the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer and faux historian David Barton. Kyle put together a highlight reel:

 

The Religious Right’s relatively new antipathy to environmentalism is largely the result of the hard work of E. Calvin Beisner, a purveyor of dominion theology and the leader of The Cornwall Alliance, a group with financial ties to the oil industry. The Cornwall Alliance’s sole purpose is to convince the Religious Right to buy into the Corporate Right’s climate change denialism and help them demonize environmentalists. The RWW report details the growing partnership:

In the last decade, as evangelical Christian leaders increasingly became involved in conservation , “creation care” and taking action against global climate change , the alarms went up in corporate America that many traditional members of the conservative coalition were becoming advocates for environmental protection. To counter the rise of the faith-based environmentalist Evangelical Climate Initiative, the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance emerged. The ISA, propped up by business interests including Exxon Mobil , has peddled misleading and false claims to make the case that climate change is a myth. In 2007, the ISA was renamed the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and became more belligerent and zealous in its anti-environmental activities.

The Cornwall Alliance is led by E. Calvin Beisner, who believes that since God granted humans “dominion” over the earth, humans have a right to exploit all natural resources. As Randall Balmer writes in Thy Kingdom Come, Beisner “asserts that God has placed all of nature at the disposal of humanity.” Balmer quotes Beisner’s own summary of his dominion theology: “All of our acquisitive activities should be undertaken with the purpose of extending godly rule, or dominion.” As Balmer notes, “the combination of dominion theology from the Religious Right and the wise use ideology of corporate and business interests has created a powerful coalition to oppose environmental protection.”

According to a report by Think Progress , the Cornwall Alliance is a front group for the shadowy James Partnership. Both the James Partnership and the Cornwall Alliance are closely linked to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), an anti-environmental group that is “funded by at least $542,000 from ExxonMobil, $60,500 from Chevron, and $1,280,000 from Scaife family foundations, which are rooted in wealth from Gulf Oil and steel interests.” CFACT is also part of a climate change denialist network funded by the ExxonMobil-financed Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Beisner is a CFACT board member and an “adjunct fellow” of the Acton Institute , which is primarily funded by groups like ExxonMobil, the Scaife foundations and the Koch brothers. Beisner is also an adviser to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which is financed by the oil-backed Earthart Foundation , the Koch brothers, and ExxonMobil.

In fact, Beisner is not a scientist and has no scientific credentials. Despite claiming to be an authority on energy and environmental issues, he received his Ph.D. in Scottish History.

Beisner has been extraordinarily successful in convincing the Religious Right that environmentalism presents a threat to Christianity. Earlier this month, he told Fischer that the EPA is violating the separation of church and state by helping to promote the upcoming film version of “The Lorax.” Why? Because he claims that environmentalism is itself a religion. This is rhetoric that Santorum, in saying that Obama’s theology is influenced by “radical environmentalists,” has swallowed whole.

Also active in the effort to recruit the Religious Right to the Corporate Right’s view of environmentalism has been David Barton, self-proclaimed historian and all-purpose fake expert. In 2010, he appeared on the Glenn Beck show along with Beisner explain that environmentalists want us to “live in fear”:

Barton -- who is no more a historian than Beisner is a scientist – is a widely influential figure in the Right, cited by prominent figures including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee, and who has even been invited to testify before the Senate about climate change.

Santorum’s remarks were so shocking because this is the first time they have been heard on the national political stage – but his talking points on environmentalism and progressive faith have already been polished and accepted as gospel by the movement the Religious Right.

Barton: Obama is a "Christian Atheist"

We have said it before, but it bears repeating: for the Religious Right, attacks on a political figure's faith is an act of unmitigated anti-Christian bigotry ... unless that candidate is President Obama.

In recent weeks, we have seen several examples of right-wing leaders openly proclaiming that Obama is not only a bad Christian but, in some cases, not even a Christian at all.

And then trend continued today on "Wallbuilders Live" where David Barton proclaimed that even thought President Obama may call himself a Christian, he is really just a "Christian Atheist":

The President, you know he's gone to church to twenty years in Chicago but he's really secular.

A Christian Deist is someone who wears the label "Christian" but they really act and live as if God doesn't really get involved in affairs and He's not really close. And I would even call them Christian Atheists. They're Christians by label but they really act like God's not alive.

I've got a lot of folks I can point to who are Christian Deists or Atheists and I'd put the President in there as one of them. He's more secularist but he'll tell you he's a Christian. He gets offended if you say he's not and he's always challenged anyone who claims he was a Muslim, not a Christian. Great, alright, but you're a Christian Atheist, you're a Christian Deist.

So it's really a distinction on how pious you are.

CPAC: A few more scenes from off-Broadway

The main themes from this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference were not terribly surprising to anyone paying attention to the GOP presidential primary.  According to CPAC speakers, President Obama is a “socialist, Marxist president” bent on destroying the country and the Constitution, and the nation will not survive if he is re-elected.  “Compromise” is a four-letter word. Health care reform is tyranny. Contraception is tyranny. TSA searches are tyranny.  You get the idea.

But there were also moments of insight into aspects of the conservative movement, often coming from smaller rooms and panels, like actor Stephen Baldwin’s declaration that “separation of church and state can kiss my ass” and the anti-multicultural, anti-diversity discussion which featured the founder of a white-nationalist website. Here are a few additions to the excellent RWW coverage of CPAC by Kyle and Brian.

Screw the Vote

As we have reported, Republicans are waging aggressive voter suppression campaigns across the country, including voter ID laws and voter registration restrictions supposedly needed to prevent “voting fraud.”  At CPAC, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton hosted a press conference to talk about the group’s  “Election Integrity Project,” which is suing states that Judicial Watch says have not done enough to clean up their voter registration lists.  Panelists claimed that “rampant election fraud” took place in the last two election cycles – there’s no real evidence to back up that claim – and complained that the Obama administration’s Justice Department is selectively enforcing the Voting Rights Act.  Fitton said that having the DOJ meet with representatives from Project Vote and ACORN is “like having the mafia running the FBI.” Another speaker represented True the Vote, an outgrowth of Houston Tea Party group King Street Patriots, which hosted a fundraising event last year with a speaker who believes:

Registering [poor people] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

True the Vote is backing states whose voter ID laws have been challenged by the Justice Department and recruiting volunteers to challenge signatures gathered by those seeking to recall Wisconsin’s anti-labor governor Scott Walker.

The Federal Government’s War on Clean Underwear

It is an article of faith among many right-wing activists and candidates that health, safety, and environmental regulations are oten unconstitutional and are destroying the American economy.  Americans for Tax Reform and its affiliate Cost of Government Center sponsored a panel dubbed “The Red Tape War: How the Regulatory Burden and Growing Nanny State Threaten Prosperity.” The group’s Mattie Duppler described regulation as an ongoing “war on consumers and taxpayers.”  Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said that energy efficiency regulations had caused a steep decline in the quality of top-loading washing machines, and talked about a campaign his group had run to have people send virtual underwear to the undersecretary of the Department of Energy. (Turns out that campaign was in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration)

Beyond Obstructionism to Nullification

One Newt Gingrich campaign theme has been pledging that as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions he disagrees with and abolish the jobs of federal judges who don’t share his view of the Constitution.  A couple of groups at CPAC – the Tenth Amendment Center and the Foundation for a Free Society – held a series of events to promote nullification, the idea that the states should similarly ignore federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional.  In fact, they want to go far beyond ignoring such laws.  Speakers introducing a documentary on nullification praised an Arizona bill that would not only declare the federal health care law null and void in the state, but would also make any agent of the government who tries to enforce the law guilty of a felony.  The documentary featured state legislators as well as speakers from the Oath Keepers and the John Birch Society.

Here Sharia Comes!

Pamela Geller hosted a panel on Sharia, at which speakers complained about the room they were given and about their supposed mistreatment at the hands of CPAC – though other panels met in the same room and the “Islamic Law” panel was listed in the conference program.   Geller and fellow panelist Robert Spencer attacked panelists from a previous, more thoughtful, panel on religious liberty which defended the religious rights of American Muslims.  Also speaking was North Carolina congressional candidate Ilario Pantano, who said he was once charged with murder for killing terrorists in Iraq [charges were dropped] and who denounced “political correctness run amok.” Pantano praised discredited “historian” David Barton for telling the “truth” about America’s founding and called the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque” a “desecration of an American holy site and an American national battlefield.”

Civics Education = David Barton, the Bible, and American Exceptionalism

In a panel on civics education, Matthew Spalding, VP for American Studies at Heritage Foundation praised the battle over textbook standards in Texas, in which David Barton and other Religious Right activists pushed to infuse far-right ideology into social science books.  

Those are the battles that matter, especially big states because they control the textbooks. Texas had a great battle, and the media hated it, the left went crazy, but it’s an extremely reasonable curriculum improvement, and they focus on very good things. It’s a solid, good model….Civic education is not just in the classroom. You must understand the effect that public discussion about these questions, about history and about the meaning of our country affect politics, politics affects elections, elections affects state boards and things that make the curriculum.

Another panelist, Larry Schweikart, author of Patriot’s History of the United States, argued that civics education must be grounded in “American exceptionalism.”

All of the founders understood that the bible and biblical virtues were necessary to a good education, and a civic order. So once again it comes down to those four pillars of American exceptionism: common law, a predominantly Christian religion, property rights, and free markets.

 Limit Government, Not Campaign Speeches

One of the final sessions before Sarah Palin’s closing remarks was intended to give a number of congressional candidates challenging Republican incumbents the chance to make 5-minute speeches.  A couple candidates were shortchanged by the fact that Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, running to unseat Sen. Richard Lugar, took about twice as much as his allotted time and Ted Cruz, running against Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP Senate primary, ran even longer. 

Mourdock devoted his speech to the need for conservatives to “conquer”  - conquer the media, educators, advocates of reproductive choice, big-spenders, anyone who thinks America is just an “average” nation, and all who “wish to crush our traditional American values,” presumably including 35-year Senate incumbent Lugar.  Repeated Mourdock again and again, “Conquer we must!”

Cruz, who was also given time at last year’s Awakening Conference at Liberty University, argued that liberty is under assault like never before, that President Barack Obama is the “most radical president this country has ever seen,” and that the U.S. Senate is the key battleground.  Cruz, who hopes to follow in the electoral footsteps of Florida’s Marco Rubio, is like Rubio the child of Cubans who came to the U.S. in the 1950s.  Cruz brags that he is the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey, and called his primary “ground zero” in the battle between the Tea Party and the GOP’s “moderate establishment.”

 

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