David Barton

The Family Leader Is Distributing David Barton's 'Christian Nation' Bible To Every Iowa State Legislator

Iowa Religious Right group The Family Leader, a key player in the GOP’s first-in-the-nation caucus, has a new plan to encourage legislators in Iowa to “do what God has asked them to do.”

The group is soliciting funds to purchase $100 leather-bound copies of “The Founders Bible" — which is annotated by hack historian David Barton with his thoughts on “our Judeo-Christian history as a nation" for each member of the Iowa state legislature. 

In “The Founders Bible,” legislators will find such educational passages as a retelling of Exodus that portrays Moses as the inventor of republican government; a made-up story about the early American government printing Bibles; an endorsement of the “Christian nation” concept from a notorious defender of slavery; information on the “many areas in which the Constitution specifically incorporated Biblical principles”; and an argument for the biblical origin of DNA evidence. All of this is intended to advance Barton’s view that the U.S. government exists to carry out his interpretation of the Bible’s commands.

In its fundraising appeal, The Family Leader asks churches to sponsor copies of Barton’s Bible to give to legislators in their own districts at the group’s “Life, Marriage and Family Rally” next week. While they’re at the state capitol, the group is asking pastors to meet with legislators in order to engage “in this war with Satan, who has taken many captive in Des Moines” through such means as “working to divide Christian organizations, back room deals, or organizations like Planned Parenthood pushing wicked policies”:

Our goal has been to encourage pastors to team up with The FAMiLY LEADER in accomplishing our two main goals at TFL:

1. Fulfill the Great Commission by sharing the Gospel in the civic arena. We do this by building relationships and showing the love of Christ to not only elected officials, but also staff, lobbyists, campaign workers, and many others who engage in the civic arena with the purpose of pointing them to Christ.

2. Pass righteous legislation that will help our brothers and sisters in the church, as well as current believers. Government is one of God’s three institutions, and when it fulfills its purpose, (which is to punish evil and reward good, Romans 13:1-4), it displays God’s perfect design. Our goal is to help our elected officials do what God has asked them to do.

One of the ways we accomplish these goals is by our work at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. The FAMiLY LEADER has four lobbyists who work at the capitol during the legislative session. The lobbyists are there to serve as missionaries. I am blessed to be one of them.

When pastors come to the Capitol, the first thing they do is meet with The FAMiLY LEADER team in the morning. We bring them up to date on what different legislation is being worked on, who is spiritually soft, who their ministers are, and who is in need of prayer. By meeting with us, we are able to bring pastors up to date as if they were there every day. Following the meeting, pastors then go upstairs to the House and Senate chambers and work with them to help them contact their different legislators.

What happens next is just amazing! We usually see dozens of pastors out in the Capitol rotunda praying, encouraging, building relationships, and sharing God’s Word with legislators and many others. The environment at the Capitol completely changes when these pastors are present. There is less cursing, less back-stabbing, and the place even seems brighter! There is so much spiritual warfare in that building. Whether it is Satan working to divide Christian organizations, back room deals, or organizations like Planned Parenthood pushing wicked policies, these pastors are engaging in this war with Satan, who has taken many captive in Des Moines.

Specific projects:

Legislator Bibles – We want to bring the Gospel to the Iowa Legislature. The goal is to get 150 Founders’ Bibles in the hands of Iowa’s 150 legislators.

But we need your help to accomplish this goal. We are working with churches in each legislators’ district to see if they will sponsor a Bible for their legislator. The cost for the Bible is $100.
When churches participate in the Iowa Capitol Project, they accomplish 3 big things:

1. Get a Bible in the hands of Iowa’s lawmakers.
2. Connect a legislator with a local church (which we believe is most important).
3. Have that local church faithfully praying for their legislator. (Imagine each legislator having a congregation faithfully praying for them. Wow! God could really use that!)

The Bible itself is a Founders’ Bible, which is a NASB Study Bible that focuses on our Judeo-Christian history as a nation. The Study Bible’s devotions are written by Dr. David Barton. The Bible will be leather bound with gold trim on the pages, and it will be embossed with Seal of Iowa and the legislator’s name. It will be something nice they will keep and hopefully read on a regular basis because of the compelling content pertaining to their job at the Capitol.

In order to initiate personal relationships between churches and legislators, we want a pastor and/or church members from the legislators’ own district to personally present the Bibles on February 3rd at our annual Life, Marriage, and Family Rally.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/27/15

  • Mike Huckabee will be participating in an event that David Barton will be hosting at Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania in March.
  • Huckabee will also address a luncheon for Allen West's National Center for Policy Analysis in February.
  • David Barton knows how to save America: "We need to fill our school boards, city councils, public utility districts and other city and county positions with common-sense, God-fearing, Constitution-heeding individuals."
  • Tea Party Nation declares that "the state of New York has inflicted many indignities on the United States.  But perhaps none is worse that the current junior Senator from the Empire State.  Kirsten Gillibrand is not simply a terrible Senator.  She is a terrible person."
  • Finally, remember the story about the Missouri middle school student who was supposedly told that he was not allowed to read his Bible in school that was almost immediately debunked? Gordon Klingenschmitt just repeated it on his latest "Pray In Jesus Name" program.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/23/15

  • Andy Towle @ Towleroad: OK Rep. Sally Kern Targets Gays With 3 of the Most Offensive Bills Filed in 2015.
  • Alan Colmes: Tom DeLay: Obama’s State Of The Union Address ‘Great’ In Laying Out ‘His Socialist Ideas.’
  • John Fea: Why Huckabee May Have A Shot At The GOP Nomination.
  • Jeremy Hooper: Major Iowa caucus player calls on next President to 'politely reject unjust SCOTUS opinions.'
  • Travis Gettys @ Raw Story: Louie Gohmert spent campaign funds on trips to England: ethics complaint.
  • Warren Throckmorton: David Barton Plagiarizes Eric Metaxas’ WSJ Article on a Fine-Tuned Universe.

Bobby Jindal Hopes To Emulate Rick Perry's Miracle-Producing Prayers

Just as Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his 2012 presidential bid with a prayer rally called “The Response,” fellow Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is set to lead his own “Response” prayer event this Saturday in Baton Rouge. Many of the pastors and conservative activists who backed the 2011 rally credited Perry’s actions with various miracles, raising the bar for Jindal’s event, which is being organized by the very same people.

Unfortunately for Perry, the various miracles produced by his prayer rally did not include producing even a single delegate in his disastrous presidential campaign, but it did save Texas from the scourge of Native American cannibals, at least according to Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet who endorsed both “Response” prayer rallies.

Jacobs said that Native Americans who “ate people” produced a “curse” in Texas, until it was healed by Perry’s prayer rally:

Another evangelist who joined Perry at “The Response,” Lou Engle, noticed evidence that God blessed Perry’s bid for president. According to Engle, God sent rain to Texas in response to the governor’s campaign announcement.

“I heard that actually the day that Governor Perry announced that he’s running for president, and this is not an endorsement I’m giving here, it simply it rained I believe he said for five hours, it poured,” Engle said on a 2011 conference call. “And people think that that could’ve been a sign, I don’t know. I think that was a historic prayer gathering for a governor to call a true Joel:2 solemn assembly. You don’t always see an immediate answer to these kinds of prayers but God does, God sees and responds and I believe we’ll look back at that gathering as a historic moment in American history and that’s what I’ve got to believe.”

Rick Scarborough, a prominent Texas conservative activist, also claimed that Perry’s prayers ended a drought during a conference call for his 40 Days to Save America campaign. Texas Republican leader David Barton agreed, adding that Perry’s prayers also controlled the BP gulf oil spill:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we've got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that's one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say 'look at the correlation.' But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought - that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there - he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They're back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn't happen.

David Barton Again Falsely Claims The Average Welfare Family Receives $61,000 A Year In Benefits

A few months ago, David Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's radio program, where he falsely asserted that the "average welfare family" receives $61,000 a year in government benefits.

As we pointed out at the time, this was an entirely misleading claim first put forth by the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee back in 2012 that was, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, derived by relying on "a series of serious manipulations of the data that violate basic analytic standards and are used to produce a potentially inflammatory result."

But just because the claim is false, that certainly is not going to stop Barton from repeating it, as he did when he appeared on Daystar's "Marcus and Joni" program yesterday:

Even In Victory, David Barton Misrepresents The Truth

For more than 20 years, David Barton had been dogged by allegations that he had, early in his career, spoken at events hosted by racist and anti-Semitic groups. His appearances before such groups had first been reported back in early 1990s by organizations like the Institute for First Amendment Studies, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Anti-Defamation League but Barton always insisted that while he may have spoken before such groups, he was not aware of their views when he did so.

In 2010, at a time when Barton had been brought in by the Texas State Board of Education to help shape the state's social studies standards, two Democratic candidates running for the Education Board produced a campaign video that asserted that Barton was "known for speaking at white supremacist rallies." In response, Barton sued these two candidates for libel and defamation, contending that the video falsely portrayed him as a supporter of white supremacists.

Last month, Barton prevailed in his lawsuit and reportedly received a million-dollar settlement and an apology. Predictably, he is now spinning this as a complete and total victory, declaring on his radio program today that his work has now been vindicated in court.

A lot of folks who try to use Barton's materials, he said, have often found themselves dismissed because "oh, you're quoting Barton, he's a discredited historian, he makes up his history. Well, guess what? For those people who have used those quotes and been beat up for it, this now vindicates them as well."

"We don't want people to be drug down because we get beat up," he said. "We want them to be able to use historical quotes and not get their brains beat in and so this really is a vindication for everybody who is concerned about original intent and everybody who wants to quote things about the faith of the Founding Fathers or things like that. Now you've got a way when they said 'oh, that's all made up,' no, no, no, here's a judgment, here's a defamation suit, here's the court judgment that says that stuff was defamatory, that was false and defamatory."

Barton's lawsuit focused solely on the claim that he was "known for" speaking at white supremacist rallies and had nothing to do with the shoddy nature of the pseudo-history that he regularly produces and which has been well-documented.

But in typical Barton fashion, he was unable to even tell the truth about the results of his own defamation lawsuit.

You could not ask for a more perfect demonstration of Barton's common practice of spreading deliberate misrepresentation to further his own agenda than this.

Why Does David Barton's History Of The Fight For Racial Equality Always End In The Mid-1960s?

As we have noted before, David Barton's telling of the history of the fight for racial equality in America always mysteriously seems to stop right around the mid-1960s, right before the rise of the GOP's "Southern Strategy." Barton has written books and produced DVDs that claim to "set the record straight" on the role that both major political parties played in ending slavery, passing civil rights laws, and pushing for equality but his materials always portray Democrats are the enemies of black equality and conveniently never seem to make it beyond 1964.

On his radio program today, Barton sought to answer a question for a listener who wondered why, today, the Democrats are believed to be the party that fought to end slavery and for civil rights while the Republicans are believed to be the party that opposed such things.

The simple answer is "the Southern Strategy" and the fundamental shift that took place politically in the wake of civil rights gains when Democrats lost the support of white Southern voters as the party began to support civil rights in the 1960s and the GOP sought to win the support of those disaffected voters by appealing to them on contentious racial issues:

In 1968, George Wallace ran as a third-party candidate against Nixon and Humphrey, on an explicitly segregationist platform. Humphrey had been the main champion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Senate; Nixon, while no civil rights activist, rejected an overtly racist platform. Feeling abandoned by both parties, Southern white racists flocked to Wallace's cause, winning him the Deep South states of Ark., La., Miss., Ala. and Ga.

Political analyst and Nixon campaigner Kevin Phillips, analyzing 1948-1968 voting trends, viewed these rebellious Southern voters as ripe for Republican picking. In The Emerging Republican Majority (Arlington House, 1969), he correctly predicted that the Republican party would shift its national base to the South by appealing to whites' disaffection with liberal democratic racial and welfare policies. President Nixon shrewdly played this "Southern strategy" by promoting affirmative action in employment, a "wedge" issue that later Republicans would exploit to split the Democratic coalition of white working class and black voters.

Barton, of course, completely ignores this basic history and instead blames it all on miseducation; specifically the idea that Democrats refuse to allow schools to teach the real history that it was Democrats who started the Ku Klux Klan, opposed civil rights laws, supported slavery, and defended segregation.

"In the Sixties, it was called the Solid Democrat South," Barton said. "Every southern state was solidly Democrat and that is what the Democrats counted on for every presidential election. Not the New England areas, they counted on the Solid Democrat South and there is no way that Democrat legislators and Democrat boards of education and everything else are going to let textbooks come out with they're the ones who started the Klan, they're the ones who violated all the civil rights, they're the ones who did the Black Codes ... They're not going to have that, so that's what happens when you let history become something political instead of simply telling the good, the bad, and the ugly":

This is rather ironic given that Barton's preferred version of history is entirely political, in that he only wants to tell the part of history that portrays Democrats as the party of slavery, segregation, and discrimination while routinely omitting and ignoring anything that does not further his agenda.

A Banner Year For David Barton: From Pseudo-Historian To Time Traveler

2014 was another banner year for David Barton, who once again managed to continue to spread his particular brand of Christian America pseudo-history and patently absurd statements around the world while somehow maintaining his reputation as a well-respected Religious Right activist and speaker.

Seemingly no amount of nonsense from Barton can diminish his standing among conservative Christian activists, so it was not particularly surprising to see him spend 2014 spreading misinformation and shoddy history without consequence.

Barton's quasi-theocractic political philosophy was at work throughout the year as he tried to argue that the Bible was the basis of our Constitution and warned Christians that not voting is evil because America's prosperity depends upon electing senators who will confirm godly judges.

Failure to do so, he warned, causes the entire nation to suffer.

Ungodly leaders like President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, Barton said, are incapable of fighting terrorism because they have no moral compass. Even worse, their failure to adequately support Israel will result in God striking America with natural disasters.

After rejecting an effort to draft him to run for the U.S. Senate, Barton amazingly had no qualms about lecturing everyone else that refusing to run for office when asked is "pure selfishness." We can only guess what sort of legislation Sen. Barton would have proposed, given that he has repeatedly argued that the Bible should be the foundation of public education (which could go a long way toward explaining why Barton himself is apparently so bad at math.)

In addition to asserting that the Founding Fathers did not allow women to vote in order to "keep the family together," Barton also argued that Christians in America "have an inalienable right to marriage to be a man and a woman and no other combination."

Barton also praised Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" for being "quite graphic" when making controversial anti-gay statements because, in doing so, he made homosexuality seem "very repugnant, which is what it should be."

Predictably, Barton was once again a reliable source of a variety of laughably absurd assertions this year, such as the claim that families on welfare receive $61,000 a year in government benefits and his declaration that America must have "a biblical view on computer programming." But those pale in comparison to Barton's ridiculous claim that the Founding Fathers were well-versed in the theory of evolution and openly rejected it because it had really been established in 500 B.C.

Perhaps the most amazing feat Barton managed to pull of in 2014 was the invention of time travel, because that seems to be the only possible way in which he could manage to speak to more than 600 groups every year while also working fourteen hours a day on his ranch.

Barton: The Founding Fathers Opposed The Theory Of Evolution, Which Was Established In 500 B.C.

Back in October, David Barton spoke at First Christian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina, during which he doubled down on his infamous claim that the Founding Fathers opposed the teaching of evolution, despite the fact that Charles Darwin didn't even come up with the theory until several decades after America was founded.

How is this possible, you ask?

Well, according to Barton, the theory of evolution was established way back in 500 B.C. and so the Founding Fathers knew all about it nearly a century before Darwin wrote his book.

As Barton explained, the Founding Fathers took positions on everything from the legality of abortion to gays in the military long before those topics became contentious culture war issues in the Twentieth Century. And since the Bible says that "there is nothing new under the sun," it stands to reason that the Founding Fathers also opposed evolution.

"Did you know the Founding Fathers had extensive writings on the problems with evolution and why creationism was right?" Barton asked. "You think evolution came in with Darwin? No, no, no. Everything Darwin argued had been established 500 years B.C. All Darwin did was take all the evolutionary thought that was out there and put it in one book to make it really easy to read. That wasn't original thinking by Darwin. It was there by 500 B.C. That's why the Founding Fathers had huge writings on evolution and creation":

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 12/2214

  • WND reports that David Barton won a million dollar settlement in a defamation lawsuit he filed against two Texas school board candidates who ran ads asserting that he was "known for speaking at white-supremacist rallies."
  • Phyllis Schlafly says that "leftwing universities hate Christian groups because they hate the universities hate the Christian message."
  • Matt Barber boldly announces that he is "no longer a Republican." Oh no! How will the GOP survive?
  • Anyone who actually believes that Glenn Beck has changed has obviously not been paying attention.
  • A typically smart take from Pamela Geller: "What do all of these disparate players – Obama, de Blasio, Sharpton, CAIR – have in common? A shared goal: the destruction of America."
  • Finally, Theodore Shoebat takes to Barbwire.com to declare that "the homosexual agenda must be destroyed, and Christian civilization must triumph over this darkness."

Barton: America Must Have 'A Biblical View On Computer Programming'

Back in September, David Barton spoke at a "Truth For A New Generation" Christian apologetics conference in South Carolina. While at the conference, he participated in an interview which was recently uploaded to YouTube in which he made the case that America must implement a "biblical view" on literally every issue, even down to computer programming.

On marriage, Barton called for the elimination of no-fault divorce, and afterr repeating his claim that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of our right to confront our accusers came directly out of the Bible, Barton said that conservative Christians need to make sure that everything from economics to contracts to employer-employee relations operates according to strictly biblical principles.

Once again citing the importance of Christians wielding total control over the Seven Mountains of culture, Barton demanded that society uphold "a biblical view on computer programing" and fondly recalled how, until the 1960s, Hollywood could not release any film "unless the church approved it."

"Until we get back into saying, you know, I've got to have a biblical view on computer programming, I've got to have a biblical view as a business, as a Chamber of Commerce, whatever it is," Barton said, "if we don't get that back to where everyone has a common worldview and, based on our documents, that is there is a God, he gives you a certain set of rights, government protects those rights, he gives a fixed moral law that I'm not allowed to alter and then, below that, I can make decisions, until we get back to the common understanding of the nation, we won't have a stable nation":

'New Avenues Of Misrepresentation And Overstatement': A Devastating Review Of David Barton's Pseudo-History​

Back in 2012, Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton published his book "The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson," through which he sought to portray Jefferson as someone who would make today's Religious Right seem moderate by comparison.

In response to Barton's book, Warren Throckmorton, a professor at Grove City College, began to expose Barton's long track record of producing shoddy works of "history" and, with a fellow Grove City professor, co-authored a response to Barton's book called "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President."

As a result, Barton's work came under increasing scrutiny and Thomas Nelson Publishing pulled his book from publication. Jay Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Creationist think tank, emerged as a top critic of Barton's disreputable scholarship within the Religious Right and was so alarmed by it that he asked Gregg Frazer, a history professor at Master's College, a Christian university in California, to review some of Barton's work, most notably his popular DVD "America’s Godly Heritage."

After viewing it, Frazer wrote an utterly scathing review of Barton's work for Richards, which Richards then reportedly used in making the case to others in the Religious Right movement that Barton's historical scholarship cannot and should not be trusted.

Today, with Frazer's permission, Throckmorton posted a copy of his review of Barton's DVD on his website and it is absolutely devastating.

Frazer's review is thirteen pages long and exposes the myriad ways in which Barton routinely and intentionally misrepresents American history in order to bolster his own radical right-wing political agenda. Many of the problems that Frazer highlights will be familiar to readers of this blog, as we have covered several of them in the past as well, but the report is well worth reading as it systematically debunks a wide array of Barton's favorite talking points, such as his tendency to credit everything with which he agrees as having come from the "Founding Fathers":

This leads to one last area of concern in America’s Godly Heritage which can best be expressed as a question: Who counts as a “Founding Father?” This issue reappears frequently in Barton’s works. He seems to count anyone of whom he approves who was living at the time of the Revolution, the founding of the political system under the Constitution, or within fifty or sixty years of those times as a “Founding Father.” For example, he says that “the American Tract Society was started by the Founding Fathers.” First, not one of those listed as a Tract  Society founder signed the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. By what standard are they “Founding Fathers?” Furthermore, the Society was started in 1825 – 36 years after the Constitution was ratified. Madison was the last living framer an d he died in 1836. How many Founding Fathers were even alive in 1825? Similarly, in his discussion of Vidal v. Girard, he said it was decided in “the time of the Founders.” It was decided in 1844 –55 years after the Constitution went into effect and, a s was just mentioned, the last framer died in 1836! Barton refers to John Quincy Adams as a “Founding Father.” At the time of the Constitutional Convention, he was a 20 year-old just out of law school (he was 8 when the Declaration was signed) – by what standard is he a “Founding Father?” Barton also claims that the “Founding Fathers” established the New England Primer as a text, but the Founding Fathers did not establish any texts for schools – that was left to local communities to decide. Apparently, by Barton’s standards (whatever they are), local school boards were “Founding Fathers.” Finally, Barton says that the state constitutions indicate that the “Founding Fathers” wanted to be sure that Christians held public office. But the Founding Fathers, in Article VI of the Constitution, specifically disallowed any religious test for office. That would seem to be a strange and counterproductive prohibition to be put in place by those who want to ensure that Christians hold the various offices.

It is worth noting that, according to Throckmorton, this review has been in circulation among Religious Right leaders since 2012 and it does not appear to have diminished Barton's reputation among them in the least, nor has it stopped Barton from routinely peddling misinformation.

David Barton Falsely Claims The Average Welfare Family Receives $61,000 A Year In Benefits

As we noted just earlier today, just about every statement that is made by David Barton needs to be fact-checked because, more often than not, the claim he is making turns out to be entirely false.

As if to help drive home this point for us, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's radio program today and absurdly declared that the "average welfare family" receives $61,000 a year in government benefits, meaning that in many states they earn more than teachers and secretaries.

"Right now, if you are on welfare, you make more than a teacher in eleven states and you make more than a secretary in thirty nine states," Barton said:

Barton's figure comes from a document produced by the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions, back in 2012 that was, not surprisingly, entirely misleading.

As experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, this figure was derived by relying on "a series of serious manipulations of the data that violate basic analytic standards and are used to produce a potentially inflammatory result:"

Counts payments to hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, and other medical providers — including payments for care for sick elderly people at the end of their lives and for people with serious disabilities who are institutionalized — as though these payments are akin to cash income that is going to poor families to live on.  The single largest area of federal spending in the Sessions comparison is health care spending.  Close to half of all of the spending that Senator Sessions portrays as income to poor households consists of payments to hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or smaller health programs.  The majority of this health care spending is for the elderly or people with disabilities, including end-of-life care and nursing home care.

...

Counts, as spending on poor people, benefits and services that go to families and individuals who are above the poverty line.  As noted, Senator Sessions divides the cost of a broad set of programs by the number of households with income below the official poverty line.  Yet many of these programs, by design and for good reason, serve substantial numbers of low- and moderate-income Americans whose incomes are above the poverty line.  For example, 65 percent of the lower-income working households receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2011 had incomes above the official poverty line.  Many programs do not cut off benefits abruptly at the poverty line, for two reasons.  First, many hard-pressed families and individuals modestly above the poverty line have significant needs; for example, an elderly widow living on only $12,000 a year is above the poverty line.  Second, abruptly cutting off benefits at the poverty line, rather than phasing them down gradually as income rises, would create large work disincentives.

...

Long-term care alone constitutes 28 percent of all Medicaid costs — and a larger share of Medicaid costs for seniors and people with disabilities.  A substantial share of Medicaid spending on long-term care is for seniors who had middle-class incomes for much of their working lives but whose long-term care needs now exceed their ability to pay for that care.  In 2010, private nursing home care averaged $83,585 per year, assisted living facility costs averaged $39,516 per year, and home health aide services averaged $21 per hour.  In 2009, the average long-term care cost for a Medicaid beneficiary receiving such care was $34,579, a figure sure to be somewhat higher today.

By including the costs of such care in the calculation of the average spending per poor household, the Sessions analysis creates a misleading impression that typical low-income families and children receive extravagant benefits.  Providing a frail senior with nursing home care does not mean that the typical low-income family with children is receiving huge amounts of benefits that give it a high standard of living ... Older people, people with disabilities, and people with serious illnesses incur far higher health care costs than do healthy individuals, but that doesn’t make them “higher income” or give them a higher standard of living than healthier households have.  Similarly, a low-income family with a child who has a serious disability is not “well off” because Medicaid covers the child’s sizable health care costs.  A middle-income household with a member fighting cancer doesn’t suddenly become “high income” when the family’s insurance covers costly cancer treatments.

Once again, Barton's claim is entirely false, as the average family on welfare does not, in any way, receive $61,000 a year from the government.

Yet Even More Evidence That David Barton's History Cannot Be Trusted

Just last month, we wrote a long post exposing the way in which David Barton routinely misrepresents court cases in an effort to support his pseudo-history and promote his cultural and political agenda. Today, we came across another instance of Barton doing the same thing with a different court case while delivering a presentation a few weeks ago at Calvary Chapel in San Jose, California.

Barton was making the case that, until the Supreme Court's decision in Abington Township v. Schempp in 1963 — which Barton also routinely misrepresents — teaching the Bible in public schools had been the norm. To support this point, Barton cited the Supreme Court's 1844 ruling in a case called Vidal v. Girard's Executors, which he claimed declared that no school that refused to teach the Bible could receive public funds:

"We look at Christian schools today," Barton said, "and we think that's alternative education. No, no, no. Christians schools is mainstream education. Secular education is brand new in America. We never had that before. That's the new thing ... In 1844, the U.S. Supreme Court had case called Vidal v. Girard's Executors and what you had was a government-operated school that was not going to teach the Bible and the Supreme Court came back with an unanimous 8-0 decision and the Supreme Court said well, if you don't want to teach the Bible, you don't have to teach the Bible but you do have to become a private school. We're not going to fund any public school that won't teach the Bible.

As usual, if you actually take the time to read this case, the facts in no way support Barton's interpretation.

The case involved an extremely wealthy man named Stephen Girard who, as a childless widower, left in his will large sums of money to the City of Philadelphia for various civic improvements, as well as money to establish a school for "poor male white orphan children."

Among the stipulations Girard placed upon the school was that no religious leader was ever to hold a position there, nor could any specific denominational doctrine be taught:

I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in the said college, nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said college.

In making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever, but as there is such a multitude of sects and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans who are to derive advantage from this bequest free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; my desire is that all the instructors and teachers in the college shall take pains to instill into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence towards their fellow creatures and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer.

Some of Girard's heirs then sued on various technical grounds that are not germane to Barton's point, as well as by arguing that prohibiting clergy from working or teaching at the school was a violation of both the Constitution and the Common Law because it discriminated against Christianity.

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected this argument:

All that we can gather from his language is that he desired to exclude sectarians and sectarianism from the college, leaving the instructors and officers free to teach the purest morality, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, by all appropriate means, and of course including the best, the surest, and the most impressive. The objection, then, in this view, goes to this -- either that the testator has totally omitted to provide for religious instruction in his scheme of education (which, from what has been already said, is an inadmissible interpretation), or that it includes but partial and imperfect instruction in those truths. In either view can it be truly said that it contravenes the known law of Pennsylvania upon the subject of charities, or is not allowable under the article of the bill of rights already cited? Is an omission to provide for instruction in Christianity in any scheme of school or college education a fatal defect, which avoids it according to the law of Pennsylvania? If the instruction provided for is incomplete and imperfect, is it equally fatal? These questions are propounded because we are not aware that anything exists in the Constitution or laws of Pennsylvania or the judicial decisions of its tribunals which would justify us in pronouncing that such defects would be so fatal. Let us take the case of a charitable donation to teach poor orphans reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and navigation, and excluding all other studies and instruction; would the donation be void, as a charity in Pennsylvania, as being deemed derogatory to Christianity? Hitherto it has been supposed that a charity for the instruction of the poor might be good and valid in England even if it did not go beyond the establishment of a grammar school. And in America, it has been thought, in the absence of any express legal prohibitions, that the donor might select the studies, as well as the classes of persons, who were to receive his bounty without being compellable to make religious instruction a necessary part of those studies. It has hitherto been thought sufficient, if he does not require anything to be taught inconsistent with Christianity.

Looking to the objection therefore in a mere juridical view, which is the only one in which we are at liberty to consider it, we are satisfied that there is nothing in the devise establishing the college, or in the regulations and restrictions contained therein, which are inconsistent with the Christian religion or are opposed to any known policy of the State of Pennsylvania.

This view of the whole matter renders it unnecessary for us to examine the other and remaining question, to whom, if the devise were void, the property would belong, whether it would fall into the residue of the estate devised to the city, or become a resulting trust for the heirs at law.

Upon the whole, it is the unanimous opinion of the Court that the decree of the Circuit Court of Pennsylvania dismissing the bill, ought to be affirmed, and it is accordingly.

Barton's representation of this case is entirely false, as it had literally nothing to do with the teaching of the Bible nor any requirement that schools must do so in order to receive public funds.

Despite the fact that his claims are totally false, Barton will nonetheless continue to make them in future presentations, secure in the knowledge that his Religious Right supporters will never hold him accountable for his misinformation and misrepresentations.

Rafael Cruz: The Poor Man's David Barton

The Sunday before the midterm elections, Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, spoke at John Hagee's church in San Antonio, Texas, where he spent an entire hour delivering a speech that was literally little more than an amalgamation of material that he has directly pilfered from other Religious Right speakers, most notably pseudo-historian David Barton.

As we have noted before, the elder Cruz is quite fond of lifting Barton's misinformation about American history and the Constitution and passing it along during his own presentations, but the speech he delivered at Hagee's church was quite remarkable for just how much of it was simply a rehashing of Barton's standard presentation.

Cruz's presentation was such a wholesale rip-off that he even managed to work in Barton's false claim that the Supreme Court banned school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools because it could cause brain damage:

This is a false claim that Cruz lifted directly from Barton, who has been spreading this misinformation for years and which we debunked back in 2013:

The Supreme Court, when it took the Bible out of public schools, said that this is without precedent; there is no precedent in our history for taking the Bible out of schools but this is the time to do it.

Now, if there is no historical precedent, why would they say the Bible has to go out of schools?  I mean, everything we have in history says just the opposite, so why?  They quoted Dr. Solomon Grayzel on the reason that we need to get the Bible out of schools ... In the Supreme Court decision, this is what the Court said why the Bible has to come out of schools; the Court says this:

If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and had been, psychologically harmful to the child.

Time out.  Let me see if I get this: if we keep reading the Bible in schools, our kids are going to suffer from brain damage? Yeah, that was the reason given by the Court for the removal of the Bible out of the classroom back in 62-63.

Of course, if you actually read the ruling in the case, you will find that this citation of Dr. Grayzel appeared at the beginning of the decision when the Supreme Court was merely describing the road the case had taken through the court system, noting that Grayzel's testimony had been heard during the initial trial. 

On top of that, Barton also utterly misrepresented the point of Grayzel's testimony, which was to note that forced Bible reading from a Christian perspective in public schools was potentially damaging to Jewish students:

Expert testimony was introduced by both appellants and appellees at the first trial, which testimony was summarized by the trial court as follows:

Dr. Solomon Grayzel testified that there were marked differences between the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the Christian Holy Bible, the most obvious of which was the absence of the New Testament in the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Dr. Grayzel testified that portions of the New Testament were offensive to Jewish tradition, and that, from the standpoint of Jewish faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was "practically blasphemous." He cited instances in the New Testament which, assertedly, were not only sectarian in nature but tended to bring the Jews into ridicule or scorn. Dr. Grayzel gave as his expert opinion that such material from the New Testament could be explained to Jewish children in such a way as to do no harm to them. But if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and, in his specific experience with children, Dr. Grayzel observed, had been, psychologically harmful to the child, and had caused a divisive force within the social media of the school.

Five Conservatives Who Don't Understand Net Neutrality…But Are Definitely Against It!

On Monday, President Obama publicly urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong rules preserving net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers must treat all data equally.

Obama’s comments placed a previously fairly niche technical issue right into the middle of the national political debate, forcing commentators to take a side on something many of them did not seem to understand. But luckily, many conservative politicians and pundits have an easy way of deciding where to stand on an issue: if Obama is for it, it will destroy America and they are against it!

1. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz got the right-wing net neutrality pile-on started with a tweet calling the proposal “Obamacare for the Internet."

It didn’t really make sense, but as Matt Yglesias notes, that wasn’t the point: “What, if anything, that phrase means is difficult to say. But its political significance is easy to grasp. All true conservatives hate Obamacare, so if net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet, all true conservatives should rally against it.”

2. Bryan Fischer

As soon as Cruz spoke out, his far-right acolytes seem to have felt obligated to follow. On his radio program on Monday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer struggled to grasp the proposal that he was definitely against, claiming that it would ban internet providers from charging customers more for faster service — something that already happens and that has nothing to do with net neutrality.

3. Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is outraged that President Obama wants to end “the freedom of the internet” and ruin something that’s “working pretty well” because “the government is not involved in it at all.” Apparently unaware that current FCC regulations allow his online network, The Blaze, to stream on an open internet, Beck claimed that regulations preserving net neutrality would end this supposedly government-free system in which he operates his business.

Beck’s cohost Pat Gray accidentally debunked his own point by comparing Internet regulation to the interstate highway system, which he seems to also think remains open and accessible because it’s free from government interference.

4. FreedomWorks

The Tea Party group FreedomWorks got into the game yesterday with a video “clearing up” net neutrality for its supporters.

As Consumerist explains, FreedomWorks’ net neutrality explanation is basically a work of fiction:

“Supporters of the plan call it a [uses finger quotes] ‘free and open Internet’ but in reality it’s anything but,” says Somberg. “What net neutrality does is force providers to treat all Web content equally — the same speeds, the same prices, the same access.”

This is simply untrue.

Net neutrality merely says that ISPs can’t slow down, block, or prioritize any content. It doesn’t mean that everything gets treated with the same speed — just that an ISP does nothing to impede or boost any particular content company’s speed. So if it’s fast coming in from the company, it should be fast going out to the end-user. And if the host is slow, then it remains slow.

5. Alex Jones

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones added his own special twist to the net neutrality debate, claiming that it is a “high tech version of what the Soviets and the Nazis and the Chinese Communists and Fidel Castro and every other nut ball did.” 

Bonus: David Barton

While net neutrality might have just recently crossed the radar of many right-wing commentators, make-believe historian David Barton has been beating the anti-net-neutrality drum for years. In 2011, Barton called net neutrality “socialism on the internet” and “redistribution of wealth through the internet” and insisted that it is "wicked stuff" that goes against the dictates of the Bible and the Founding Fathers.

This launched Barton into a discourse on the concept of “fairness,” which he said “is a word no Christian should ever use in their vocabulary” because “what happened to Jesus wasn’t fair.”

David Barton Is 'Grateful' That The Most Recent 'Left Behind' Movie Bombed

On the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, David Barton declared that he was "grateful" to see that the most recent "Left Behind" remake had bombed at the box office because, he said, the books and movies teach an unbiblical eschatology that causes Christians to check out of the culture wars as they simply wait for Jesus to take them away in The Rapture.

"The movie is a complete bust," Barton rejoiced. "It did really pathetic at the box office ... and quite frankly I was somewhat happy the movie was a bust."

Barton said that the books, written by influential Religious Right leader Tim LaHaye, and the movies, initially starring the likes of Barton's pal Kirk Cameron, promote a false eschatology, which is the theological belief about how the End Times will unfold. He said the "Left Behind" series has convinced too many Christians that "it is a waste of time to get involved" in the affairs of the world because nothing they do will change anything and they won't be around to suffer when everything falls apart anyway.

Barton said that this belief conflicts with Jesus' explicit teaching that Christians are to occupy the world until He returns and so he "was really grateful that the movie didn't do well because I didn't want that mentality going out there. It violates way too many things in the Bible."

"I think the movie not doing well is [a sign] that hopefully our eschatology is beginning to change for a more sound biblical direction in America," he said. "Maybe we're getting a little more mature and a little wiser over some things":

Barton: 'We Have An Inalienable Right To Marriage To Be A Man And A Woman And No Other Combination'

On a "Believer's Voice of Victory" episode scheduled to air on Thursday, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that no government can ever legalize same-sex marriage because "we have an inalienable right to marriage to be a man and a woman and no other combination."

Barton said that the institution of marriage was created by God long before government ever existed, and therefore "government can't get over into God's jurisdiction."

"Whatever God did in Genesis 1-8, government will protect but it cannot redefine, it cannot change," he said:

Barton: 'If You Choose Not To Vote, That's The Same As Casting Your Vote For Evil'

On a "Believer's Voice of Victory" program set to air on Wednesday, Kenneth Copeland and David Barton declared that it was immoral for any Christian not to vote for anti-abortion candidates because even refusing to vote "is that same as casting your vote for evil."

Copeland made the argument that Christians cannot ever vote for a pro-choice candidate because when you cast your vote for a candidate, you are endorsing every position that candidate holds. As such, Christians cannot support a candidate that is "on the death side," Copeland said, warning that anyone who does will be held accountable by God as an accomplice to murder.

"This is serious business, man," Copeland declared and Barton was entirely in agreement, adding his own warning that those who do not vote candidates who oppose abortion rights will be held just as accountable as those who vote for pro-choice ones.

Not voting for anti-abortion candidates "keeps you from being on the life platform," Barton said. "There is only one place of life, any place else except that is not life. There's not a third choice. If you do nothing, you have not chosen life ... If you choose not to vote, that's the same as casting your vote for evil":

Kenneth Copeland: God Allowed Obama To Be Re-Elected To Turn Us Against 'Progressive Socialism'

Right-wing televangelist Kenneth Copeland spoke with pseudo-historian David Barton this week for another series of broadcasts designed to encourage conservative Christians to vote in the upcoming election.

On a program scheduled to air tomorrow, Copeland told Barton that, prior to the last presidential election, God had told him that he would "like the way this election turns out," which caused a lot of confusion for Copeland given that President Obama was re-elected. Copeland said that he recently asked God what He meant by this and learned that it was all part of God's plan to sour America on "progressive socialism."

"At the time of this last presidential election, very, very few people in this country had any idea what progressive socialism was," Copeland said, asserting that God told him that He allowed Obama to be re-elected because "without a proper diagnosis, it's very difficult to treat and receive healing from a sickness or disease."

The Obama administration's "agenda to push progressive socialism with everything they got," Copeland said, has now allowed America to "get a diagnosis of what progressive socialism is and how it doesn't work ... and now we know why we don't want it":

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