Last month, we posted a clip of David Barton asserting that God will never allow scientists to find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS because such a vaccine would eliminate the divine "penalty" for homosexuality, which would contradict the teaching found in Romans 1.
As "evidence" of this position, the Religious Right psuedo-historian and GOP activist claimed that the virus that causes AIDS is constantly mutating, making it impossible to inoculate against. He pointed to news stories about various failures by researchers to successfully test an experimental vaccine as "proof" of his assertion.
As Warren Throckmorton reported at the time, the stories that Barton cited were utterly unrelated and did not prove his point at all:
In the video, Barton first showed the Popular Science headline and then said:
The headlines came out and said, for the first time ever an HIV vaccine shows success in trial. Oh my gosh, I guess there is, I guess I must have misinterpreted the Bible, cause the Bible’s true, and then six weeks later, they came out with this that says, NIH halts trial of HIV vaccine after it fails to work. The newspaper said it worked but none of the medical evidence said that it worked. So they still don’t have a cure.
The problem with Barton’s presentation is that the second headline didn’t come out “six weeks later.” Rather it came out four years later in 2013 and was about an entirely different attempt to create a vaccine.
The Yahoo News article Barton referred to (the second headline) is only available via Internet Archives and is dated April 26, 2013. The Yahoo article linked to the NIH announcement that the HVTN 505 clinical trial had been halted. The HVTN 505 trial results had nothing to do with the earlier success of RV 144. The RV 144 trial was reported in 2009, the same year that the HVTN 505 started. The NIH has more on the HVTN 505 trial on the NIH website.
Barton got the time frame wrong and made it appear that the two headlines were related to each other.
In an interview at a Cleveland Right to Life Event last year, self-proclaimed historian David Barton declared that “no nation” has ever survived more than 80 years past a collapse of “premarital purity and postmarital fidelity.”
“In regards to the moral standing of other democracies, including ancient Rome, how is the United States measuring up today?” an interviewer asked Barton in an edited clip posted on YouTube by the anti-choice group.
“Well, we got real trouble,” Barton responded.
“…Pre-marital purity and post-marital fidelity…no nation, any nation in 5,000 years has ever survived two generations past that, so it’s gone within 80 years,” he said. “So Rome’s the same way.”
The comments start about 20 seconds into the clip:
A few months ago, we posted a video of David Barton claiming that he had been part of Oral Roberts University's record-setting men's college basketball team back in the early 1970s, a claim for which we and others have been unable to find any proof. At the same time, we have also been unable to definitively disprove it, so we really have no way of knowing whether or not any of it is true.
Today, Barton made another extraordinary claim on his "WallBuilders Live" radio program, which we once again can neither verify nor disprove, but that we find genuinely astonishing. Barton told listeners that he was fluent in Russian when he was younger and even served as an interpreter when the Russian national gymnastics team visited the United States in 1976. On top of that, Barton also claimed that he was actively involved in smuggling Bibles into the former Soviet Union.
Following an interview with a missionary who discussed efforts to introduce the Bible to eastern European countries, Barton chimed in that he too used to be involved in smuggling Bibles into the former Soviet Union.
"That's really where I got started with the Soviet bloc back when the Iron Curtain was up," Barton said. "I was fluent in Russian and when the Russian gymnastic team came to America in 1976, I got to be translator for them and do translating, and just the accounts of what happened when we went to the store was a blast."
This revelation obviously came as an utter surprise to Barton's co-host, Rick Green, who was shocked to discover that Barton speaks Russian ... or rather did speak Russian, as Barton said that "I don't now but I was, at one time, fluent in Russian and again translated for the Russian gymnastic team when they came to America."
"At the same time, we were working our tails off to smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union and had several trips that went there smuggling Bibles in," he continued.
Green was completely flabbergasted by the revelations, as Barton recounted "all that smuggling time and how dangerous it was, you know, the Soviet bloc and the guards at the borders and all the stuff that went on there. It was pretty amazing":
On Saturday evening, right-wing televangelist John Hagee hosted a special program designed to promote his "Four Blood Moons" theory which contends that the occurrence of four lunar eclipses on Jewish feast days over the last two years is a sign from God that "something dramatic [will] happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world."
Moderated by conservative radio host Joe Pagliarulo, the program featured Hagee, pseudo-historian David Barton, Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, and astronomer Hugh Ross, a creationist who runs a ministry called Reasons to Believe which seeks to "spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research" support Creationist beliefs.
Ross' participation in the event was something of a mystery since, from his opening remarks, he made it very clear that he did not subscribe to Hagee's premise in the slightest, saying that there is no statistical significance to these blood moons because they are very common and that Hagee is merely retroactively attaching spiritual significance to these routine events.
Hagee, of course, did not particularly appreciate the fact that Ross was completely undermining the entire premise of the show, as well as his book and movie based upon this premise, and so he challenged him to explain how it was possible for blood moons to occur on significant Jewish holiday in two consecutive years.
Ross responded that lunar eclipses are so common that it is "mathematically inevitable" that one would be able to link them up to significant events in the Bible or in the history of Israel if that is what one set out to do. The Bible, Ross said, does say that there will be signs from God, but they will be rare things like an asteroid hitting a body of water and turning the water to poison, not common things like a lunar eclipse.
"My problem with the blood moons is that it's not rare," Ross said. "It's hindsight. You're looking at different events in Israel's history and looking at different events in America's history and you're finding fits."
"These blood moons are visible here but not in Israel," Ross stated at one point, much to Hagee's surprise. Explaining that "a total lunar eclipse basically is visible to about one-third to one-half the earth," Ross asked why, if these blood moons are so significant to Israel, they are visible in America but not in Israel.
Hagee clearly was not aware of this fact, as all he could come up with as a response was that "I don't have an answer for why Israel can't see it":
Following “God’s promptings,” Rohrer ran for governor in 2010 and for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He did not win either of those races, but says “God used the statewide travels to deepen his relationship with many pastors across the state.”
Rohrer wants to build networks of conservative pastors in all 50 states. His “Stand in the Gap” radio shows have a growing Pennsylvania-based radio presence. Rohrer’s philosophy about church-state relations and his vision for the state networks he has set out to build are summarized in a pamphlet distributed at the conference:
The Biblical Relationship: Pastors and Government Leaders
The phrase “Ministers of God” is often used to describe pastors in the pulpits. Yet God also uses the title of “Ministers of God” to describe those in positions of civil government as referred to in Romans 13. This is a title God gives to those He raises up and both of these positions of authority are equally established by God to accomplish His purposes.
Pastors are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Truth, preaching the whole counsel of God into all of His institutions – the Home, Civil Government, and the Church to equip people to advance God’s design for society (II Tim. 4:2)
Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law (Romans 13:3,4)
Rohrer writes that the relationship between pastors and government leaders is “biblical, not political.” The APN’s Ministers Together Initiative “seeks to restore the biblical relationship and commitment between the Pastor and the Government Leader to help each other, pray for each other, encourage each other and together commit to acting in obedience to the commands of scripture.”
The American Pastors Network, a Religious Right group hoping to organize networks of politically active evangelical pastors in all 50 states, met with Pennsylvania pastors at Lancaster Bible College on Thursday. The day-long event featured several national speakers like “historian” David Barton, activist Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ, and right-wing broadcaster Sandy Rios, who as Kyle reported yesterday, urged participants to prepare for martyrdom.
The threat of anti-Christian persecution was a frequent theme at the U-Turn conference, which took its name and themes from a recent book co-authored by Barton and evangelical pollster George Barna. For example, Steve Scheibner, an American Airlines pilot who narrowly avoided being on a flight that was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, declared, “Persecution is coming.” But, he added, “It may be the best thing that’s ever happened to the church.” Another speaker, Dale Anderson, thanked “that rascal” Barack Obama for having woken up the church.
Paul Blair gave David Barton-esque remarks about the nation’s history and cited English jurist William Blackstone in arguing that there can be no valid law that is contrary to scripture. He declared that “Judge Roy Moore,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, is “a hero” for defying a federal judge’s decision on marriage equality. Blair said America is in its current state because too many pastors and people have been “sheep.” He insisted that marriage equality is a line that Christians must not allow to be crossed.
Barna was the Debbie Downer of the conference, reeling off pages of statistics designed to show the moral decline of America and the diminishing influence of the church in American culture. Among the statistics that seemed to land like a punch to the gut: only nine percent of born-again Americans have what Barna calls a “biblical worldview” – just over 51 percent of Protestant senior pastors make the grade. Barna decried the fact that so many pastors do not preach about current political topics.
Barton’s speech contained no surprises for anyone familiar with his shtick about the influence of colonial-era pastors on the country’s founding, the number of Bible verses supposedly contained in the U.S. Constitution, and his insistence that the Bible is filled with specific policy prescriptions, such as opposition to minimum wages and capital gains taxes. In fact, he said, the Bible includes 613 civil laws for running the country.
Barton cited principles of warfare taught at the Army War College to argue that the church is supposed to be on offense, not defense, in current culture war battles. Making that happen is the goal of those who are working to build the American Pastors Network, including Sam Rohrer, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who serves as president of both the national and Pennsylvania networks.
Among the video presentations at the conference was a message recorded by Mike Huckabee in Israel, standing on a ridge overlooking the valley that he said would be the site of the battle of Armageddon. He stood on Mt. Carmel, the site of an Old Testament showdown in which Elijah showed up the prophets of Baal by having God rain down fire on an altar he had drenched with water. America, said Huckabee, needs pulpits willing to call down God’s fire.
Among the vendors doing a brisk business at the conference was the Institute of the Constitution, which promotes a Christian Reconstructionist ideology, and which has used its materials to train Tea Party activists in their vision of a radically, and biblically, limited role for the government.
In the second in a series of presentations that he recently made at Charis Bible College in Colorado, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton reiterated his belief that God will never allow a cure or vaccine for AIDS to be discovered because the disease is divine punishment for homosexuality.
Citing Romans 1, which declares that "men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved," Barton said that God will never allow a cure to be found for AIDS because that would eliminate the "penalty" that is due for engaging in such behavior.
"Anything the Bible says is right, there is scientific basis for it now," Barton said. "The federal government, in the last several years, has spent tens of billions of dollars looking for a vaccine for AIDS and I don't think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse ... Notice this, homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you're keeping your body from penalizing you. I don't think they'll ever find a vaccine for AIDS":
UPDATE: Warren Throckmorton took a look at the scientific evidence that Barton subsequently cited as "proof" of this point and discovered that Barton completely misrepresented the facts.
Earlier this month, David Barton delivered a series of presentations at Charis Bible College in Colorado on "The Principles of Success." In the very first presentation, Barton made a claim that we had never heard from him before, despite having listened to literally hundreds of his radio programs and presentations, when he told the audience that he played college basketball for a team that "set the NCAA record for two years in a row of most points scored" per game.
Barton was teaching on a passage from 1 Corinthians about the need to "strike a blow to my body and make it my slave" and whip one's self into shape in order to be a success and cited his college basketball days as an example.
"I remember when I was playing basketball, the college stuff that we did," he said, "we started every day with a five mile run, then we lifted weights, then we had an hour of racquetball, then we had two hours of full-court basketball, then we came back for another run. It wasn't particularly enjoyable, but in those years, our college team set the NCAA record for two years in a row of most points scored. We averaged 105, 104, 103 points a game, I forget what it was":
According to Wikipedia, the ORU men's basketball team led the nation in scoring in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. A search of the rosters posted on ORU's own website from the years Barton presumably attended finds no mention of him having been on the men's basketball team, including during the two record-setting seasons he specifically cited:
UPDATE: Warren Throckmorton contacted ORU directly to inquire about Barton's claim and a school official declared that "after checking with the Athletic Office, there is no record of a David Barton ever playing basketball for ORU."
Recently, David Barton sat down for a conversation with Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, California, during which he asserted that even Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer knows that the due process clauses in the Bill of Rights came directly out of the Bible and even mentioned this fact in one of his Supreme Court decisions.
"I was reading a Supreme Court case," Barton said, "and in it, Justice Breyer — and no one is going to accuse Justice Breyer of being a religious individual, he'll not be found guilty of that — and he makes the comment that 'of course we all know that all of our due processes clauses in our Bill of Rights came out of the Bible.'"
Barton said that Breyer even footnoted this assertion in his ruling, citing Volume 30 of "Federal Practice and Procedure," which Barton claims contains a sixty page explanation of how our system of due process came directly out of the Bible.
"There's Breyer saying 'of course we all know that the due process clauses came out of the Bible,'" Barton said. "We don't know that today":
As is typical when Barton makes these sorts of claims, he doesn't actually provide any information about the ruling in which Breyer supposedly made this assertion, making it all but impossible verify the claim that he has just made.
Our best guess is that Barton is referring to Breyer's 1999 concurrence in Lilly v. Virginia (emphasis added):
The Court’s effort to tie the Clause so directly to the hearsay rule is of fairly recent vintage, compare Roberts, supra, with California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 155—156 (1970), while the Confrontation Clause itself has ancient origins that predate the hearsay rule, see Salinger v. United States, 272 U.S. 542, 548 (1926) (“The right of confrontation did not originate with the provision in the Sixth Amendment, but was a common-law right having recognized exceptions”). The right of an accused to meet his accusers face-to-face is mentioned in, among other things, the Bible, Shakespeare, and 16th and 17th century British statutes, cases, and treatises. See The Bible, Acts 25:16; W. Shakespeare, Richard II, act i, sc. 1; W. Shakespeare, Henry VIII, act ii, sc. 1; 30 C. Wright & K. Graham, Federal Practice and Procedure §6342, p. 227 (1997) (quoting statutes enacted under King Edward VI in 1552 and Queen Elizabeth I in 1558); cf. Case of Thomas Tong, Kelyng J. 17, 18, 84 Eng. Rep. 1061, 1062 (1662) (out-of-court confession may be used against the confessor, but not against his co-conspirators); M. Hale, History of the Common Law of England 163—164 (C. Gray ed. 1971); 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *373. As traditionally understood, the right was designed to prevent, for example, the kind of abuse that permitted the Crown to convict Sir Walter Raleigh of treason on the basis of the out-of-court confession of Lord Cobham, a co-conspirator. See 30 Wright & Graham, supra, §6342, at 258—269.
You'll note that, contrary to Barton's claim, Breyer is not saying that "all of our due processes clauses in our Bill of Rights came out of the Bible," but merely that the right to face one's accuser is mentioned in the Bible, among other places. On top of that, the Bible verse that Breyer cites, Acts 25:16, consists of the Apostle Paul citing his right to confront his accuser according to Roman law:
I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.
A few weeks ago, we noted that David Barton had reportedly won a million-dollar defamation lawsuit against two Democratic candidates who ran for the Texas Education Board in 2010 after they produced a campaign video that asserted that Barton was "known for speaking at white supremacist rallies." At the same time, Barton also filed suit against an online writer who had called him an "admitted liar," though that writer disappeared after being sued and never responded to any of Barton's legal filings.
In the wake of this court decision, Barton immediately went to work trying to portray his very narrow legal victory as a complete validation of his widely-criticized scholarship, asserting that his work had now been vindicated in a court of law when, in reality, the case revolved only around allegations that he had ties to white supremacists.
Now it seems that Barton is pressing ahead with his effort to portray his legal win as a wholesale vindication of his body of work, as his WallBuilders organization sent out an email to activists today calling up them to take to Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or anywhere else that they might see Barton and his work being criticized and post links to an article about his legal victory in order to defend Barton and prove that "the critics’ claims are false":
A few weeks ago, news broke about David Barton winning a major defamation lawsuit. (Thank you for all of your emails and calls of support and encouragement!)
The more publicized of the two defamation lawsuits we won was the one where David was labeled an anti-Semite, racist, and white supremacist. But the second lawsuit we won addressed the false claims that David's works are widely discredited, that he is an admitted liar, that he makes up his history, etc. (Makes up history? How ridiculous is this claim when WallBuilders owns one of America's largest private collections of original Founding Era documents -- more than 100,000 originals or copies of original documents from before 1812. In fact, we even footnote our historical email blasts!)
David's best-selling works have been viewed by literally millions of Americans, and such numbers represent a sizeable segment of the American population. Detractors don't want these readers -- and especially any additional ones -- to know the important role that religion and morality historically played in America. The reason is simple. For Americans to tolerate and support our current secularist progressive policies, they must be divorced from our religious, moral, and constitutional history.
The critics are very aggressive, very well-organized, and very well-funded. (In fact, many of the groups attacking David receive funding from atheist billionaire George Soros.) They often select seemingly religious mouthpieces (often secular progressives from the Religious Left) to deliver their attacks over the internet, in articles, and on blogs.
This is where we need your help!
When you see attacks against WallBuilders and David on Facebook, Twitter, in articles, comments, and so forth, please take a few minutes to enter your own rebuttal comments, even linking to the national articles reporting that the critics’ claims are false (e.g., David Barton Wins Million-Dollar Defamation Suit).
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:17 that one side sounds good until facts from the other side are presented. So far, the critics have often been the only voice – or at least the loudest. We need your help to present the other side. As Song of Solomon 8:13 reminds us, your friends listen to your voice -- so speak! Your voice on Facebook, Twitter, in articles, on Amazon book reviews, and in web comment sections will help beat back the false claims and thus help millions of Americans be open, and even eager to learn the truth about America's Godly constitutional heritage!