David Barton

Barton: Second Amendment Guarantees An Individual Right To Own A Tank Or Fighter Jet

Today on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton doubled down on his assertion that there are literally no limits on the Second Amendment, declaring that individuals not only have an inalienable right to possess guns, but also tanks, rocket launchers, fighter jets, and anything else they can get their hands on; including, presumably, even nuclear bombs:

The belief of the Second Amendment was you as a citizen have a right to defend yourself whether it be against a thug, an aggressor, a crook, or against your government.

Now this is where a lot of liberals go through the roof; are you saying that you think individual citizens have a right to own a machine gun?

Yeah.  And an Abrams Tank, and a bazooka, and a F-16 because you've got a right to defend yourself with the same size of weapons that might be brought against you ... You have a right to fight back with whatever you can get your hands on to defend your life, your property, your possession, your family, your whatever.

Glenn Beck Supports Right-Wing Vote-Rigging Scheme

As a general rule, the candidate who receives the most votes in an election is declared the winner.  But that would all change if the Family Research Council's Ken Blackwell gets his way and states start adopting a vote-rigging scheme that he is recommending whereby, in a presidential election, electoral votes would switch from winner-take-all allocations to a system where they were awarded according to congressional districts.

As a result of such a switch, candidates who lose the overall popular vote in a state could still end up receiving a majority of that state's electoral votes simply by virtue of winning the popular vote in more individual districts.

As Blackwell admitted several months ago, if this sort of system had been in place during the last election, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency despite the fact that he lost the overall popular vote by nearly 5 million votes.

David Barton has eagerly been supporting the scheme by laughably claiming that it would "give the people a greater voice" and last night he got Glenn Beck to endorse it as well on his television program:

Barton Cites Decade-Old Survey As Proof Abortion Will Be Illegal In Twenty Years

One of the great things about David Barton is that once he has adopted a talking point, he continues to repeat it regardless of how absurd or out of date it has become.

For example, earlier this week Barton appeared on "Praise the Lord" where he told hosts Matt and Laurie Crouch that legal abortion will not be an issue in twenty years because God has sent a new generation of teenagers who are overwhelmingly pro-life.

Claiming that polls show that 72% of teens oppose abortion, Barton said they were "an answer that God has sent with a new generation; we just gotta train these guys right and turn them loose to get this thing fixed":

If you actually bother to find the poll Barton cites, you discover that it is from 2003 and it found that 72% of teens thought that abortion was morally wrong.

If you trust Barton, then abortion should be illegal within the next decade, since the poll he is using it over ten years old.  The only problem is that the teens in that survey are now adults and according to a Gallup poll conducted in May of this year, 50% of adults ages 18-29 consider themselves to be pro-choice while 41% consider themselves to be pro-life.

Of course, as with so many of Barton's other talking points, he doesn't bother to mention any of that because doing so would completely undermine the very claim that he is making.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/9/13

David Barton Explains Why Academics And Historians Attack His Work

Despite the fact that the Religious Right still loves him, there can be no doubt that David Barton's reputation has suffered in recent years due, in large part, to the efforts of many Christian historians and professors who have worked diligently to debunk his pseudo-history.

Barton, of course, doesn't see it that way, as he explained to a conference last year when he declared that the real reason all these professors were attacking him is because they are hostile to any teaching about God.

Asserting that the true purpose of history is to chronicle the way in which God has carried out his plans through humanity, Barton said that professors at Christian universities had been trained in secularism by their professors and were now intent on indoctrinating their own Christian students with that same agenda. 

As such, when he wrote a book challenging that agenda, academic historians attacked him because "by and large, that profession as a whole is now the most hostile to God things of any profession in the nation":

What's been interesting is that in the last twenty to thirty years, you've also had lots of Christians join in and say 'hey, you can't teach this kind of stuff.' Now why in the world would Christians join with all these other groups to say you shouldn't be teaching providential history? Why would Christians join in to say you gotta keep history secular?

And the answer is probably found a great passage that Jesus gave us in Luke 6:40 where he says 'every student, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.' What happens is you've got a whole lot of [professors] at Christian schools that were trained by really secular guys and every student when he's fully trained will be like his teacher.

And so what happens is all these guys go through and get their PhDs but they've been trained by really secular-minded, higher criticism type guys and when they get there, they just communicate on to these Christian kids, or whatever kind of kids they've got, whatever they've been taught.

...

That's why today if you do something like try to put God in history, you're going to get nailed.  A book that we did, "The Jefferson Lies," made all sorts of national news because all these professors came out [and said] Jefferson didn't believe in God, he wasn't religious, he was a great atheist. I mean, they just went bonkers when we went back through and showed all the things Jefferson did ... but man if you try to get God back into the position that we ha him in history for three hundred years, it just drives these PhDs nuts.

Now there are some good PhDs, there are some good professors out there, great guys, but by and large that profession as a whole is now the most hostile to God things as any profession in the nation.

Does David Barton's 'Sober-Minded Scholarship' Include Attacks On Gays, Native Americans And Science?

While David Barton’s egregiously bad and outright dishonest scholarship makes him a laughable figure among historians, as Politico’s Stephanie Simon points out, his work continues to be popular among conservative activists and GOP politicians. Barton, himself a leader of the Texas Republican Party, pushes an avowedly partisan take on history while at the same time claiming that any criticism of his work is politically-motivated.

Although Barton’s biggest critics include scholars from conservative and evangelical institutions, Republican leaders don’t seem to mind Barton’s routinely debunked claims about the nation’s founding era. In fact, the widely discredited claim at the core of Barton’s historical analysis -- that the Founding Fathers were all evangelical Christians who would’ve even been farther to the right than the average Tea Party member -- is exactly what makes him an esteemed figure on the right.

Simon mentions that Barton will undoubtedly have a significant role in the upcoming Republican presidential primary and has earned the praise of potential candidates including Ted Cruz, commentators such as Glenn Beck and key GOP figures in Iowa.

But what Barton lacks in credentials as a real historian he makes up for with absolute confidence in his work, so much so that Simon writes that analysts believe he “brings an air of sober-minded scholarship to the culture wars.”

Examples of Barton’s “sober-minded scholarship” include his beliefs that:

And the list goes on.

While Ted Cruz said that he is “not in a position to opine on academic disputes between historians,” he would do well to remember that this is irrelevant when it comes to David Barton, who is not a historian at all.

Among The Religious Right, David Barton's Reputation Remains Untarnished

Over the weekend, Politico ran a profile of David Barton which pointed out that he remains extremely popular with the Religious Right and members of Congress, despite the fact that he is the author of the "least credible history book in print" and his "scholarship" is laughable.

The piece noted that even his supporters have been forced to secretly edit videos and programs posted on their websites in order to remove some of Barton's more egregious falsehoods, yet they continue to stand by him, as Barton brags that the mounting evidence of his fundamentally inaccurate history has not damaged his reputation one iota:

During their campaign to point out the errors in Barton’s work, his Christian critics asked two of the nation’s biggest evangelical advocacy groups, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, to stop promoting his faulty scholarship.

The FRC responded by quietly pulling from its website a popular video showcasing clips of Barton leading one of his Capitol tours. FRC Vice President Kenyn Cureton said the video was removed because of “a few historical inaccuracies.”

But the group continues to promote Barton elsewhere on its website as a “good friend” and “close ally.”

Focus on the Family, meanwhile, edited two videos on its website featuring a lengthy interview Barton gave to Focus radio. The editing deleted a segment in which Barton declares that Congress printed the first English-language Bible in America — and intended it to be used in schools. That’s one of Barton’s signature stories — it’s a highlight in his Capitol tour — but historians who have reviewed the documentation say it’s simply not true. Focus also cut an inaccurate anecdote about a contemporary legal case, which Barton cited to make the point that society today punishes people of faith.

Asked why the videos were edited, Carrie Gordon Earll, a senior director of public policy at Focus on the Family, at first said they had not been, though before-and-after footage can be publicly viewed on websites archiving Focus broadcasts. Earll then said she could not comment beyond a statement noting that Focus “has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with David Barton” and respects his “broad base of knowledge” about early American history.

In an interview with POLITICO, Barton said his remarks were sometimes taken out of context but defended his scholarship as impeccable.

And he said the controversy last summer did no damage to his standing, “not at all.”

If anyone knows anything about taking things out of context, it would be Barton, since that is a central feature of his "scholarship."

Barton: Everything The Bible Says Will Eventually Be Confirmed By Science

Today on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton returned to one of his favorite themes: that all true science and knowledge must correspond to the Bible.

As Barton has said before, all science that contradicts the Bible is false science. As such, it will eventually be realized that things like salt are good for you because that is what the Bible says; in fact, you can basically just take all of your healthcare recommendations straight from Bible.

Today, Barton added that everything the Bible says on every issue will eventually be confirmed by science: 

Barton: If God tells you to do it, I guarantee you at some point they will find scientific evidence on why that it is the right thing to do. It may be against the culture, it may not make any sense, who knows what, it doesn't matter.

And we have learned, after years of doing this and seeing literally thousands of stories like this that, you know what, if it's in the Bible, science is eventually going to show that that's the right stuff and the right thing to do.

If God says it and it's in the Scriptures, I don't care if its homosexuality or marriage, I don't care whether it's economics or debt, I don't care whether it's education and studies; if God says to do it, it's going to be the right thing to do and it will help me and benefit me.

Rick Green: And eventually it will be proven out.  Whether it's six months or six hundred years, at some point it's going to get proven out.

Obviously, it is now only a matter of time before modern science conclusively proves that adulterers, homosexuals, heathens, blasphemers, and rebellious children must be put to death, just like the Bible says.

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/5/13

  • The American Family Association is ending its three-year long boycott against Home Depot, claiming that the company has stopped making contributions to pro-gay causes.  We look forward to Home Depot responding by pointing out that the AFA is lying.
  • Focus on the Family's Kim Trobee says gay activists are eager to "force an entire nation into submission."
  • David Barton has endorsed Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk, which makes sense given that Loudermilk mindlessly repeats Barton's nonsense.
  • Rush Limbaugh literally has a new book coming out entitled "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims."
  • James Dobson and Liberty University are "working together to build a curriculum based on Dr. Dobson’s writings and body of work."
  • FRC prays that "may the weakening of our armies by homosexual abuse and the decision to put women in bloody combat be reversed by courageous leaders in Congress and the Pentagon's weakening our Armies be reversed."
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer declares that "we are never, ever going to say same-sex marriage is okay":

Barton: Being A Good Scientist Or Mathematician Requires A Proper 'Fear Of The Lord'

Last week, we posted a clip of Bryan Fischer explaining that liberals can never be wise because they do not have the "fear of the Lord" that is required for true wisdom.

It comes as no surprise that a similar view is shared by David Barton, who claims that our entire educational system was based on the assertion from Proverbs that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." As such, Barton said, if someone wants to be a good scientist or mathematician, they must first have the proper "fear of the Lord."

But in recent decades, Barton lamented, education has become increasingly secular and the Bible is not required to be read in public schools any more, which is why people are far less educated today than they were in the past.

"When we had a God-fearing approach to education," Barton asserted, "our educational knowledge was so much higher than what it is now.  Just something as simple as having prayer in school and having a daily Bible reading.  Did you know, back when we did that in schools, America was number one in the world in literacy? We had the highest literacy rate in the world.  The last forty years we said 'ah, we don't want any religion in schools.'  We're now 68th in the world in literacy. Our knowledge of even how to read has fallen through the floor; correlates exactly to the time we said 'oh, fear of the Lord can't be part of our knowledge":

Barton: Atheism Is A Religion And Violation of Separation Of Church And State

Rep. John Fleming was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today, discussing his effort to prevent the military from creating positions for atheist chaplains. After Fleming alleged that the proposal itself was nothing more than an effort to drive religion out of the military, David Barton blamed the entire thing on the Supreme Court, delivering a convoluted argument alleging that atheism is itself a religion and therefore should be banned from public school in the name of separation of church and state:

The Supreme Court opened the door to all of this. Back in decisions like U.S. vs Seeger and others, the court, in their dislike for traditional religion, they defined religion as whatever someone believes so sincerely and so strongly that it affects the way they act.

Now, if that's the case, by the court's definition, atheism and humanism would be religious because they affect the way people act.  But if that's the case, then why don't we have the separation of church and state with them, if they're a religion?

Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don't we say 'hey, we can't teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave.  I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.'

Or why don't we say 'hey, I don't see any prayers going at graduation; that's atheism!  I demand separation of church and state. Atheism has chaplains, they're a religion. Get atheism out of the schools.'

Hmmm, so not having prayer in school is now a violation of the separation of church and state? So what is the solution?  To require prayer?  Because that's somehow not a violation? 

Filling In For Glenn Beck, David Barton Lies About Common Core

As we noted several months ago, Glenn Beck has transformed his The Blaze network into a public policy organization dedicated to fighting the implementation of Common Core because he is convinced that it is going to lead to a 1984-like learning environment where students are strapped to computers and monitored at all times.

Leading this effort has been none other than David Barton, who, after hosting another gathering of anti-Common Core actvists and state legislators at Beck's headquarters, sat in for Beck on his television program on Friday for a hour-long program dedicated to Common Core and who, during his opening monologue, played this misleadingly edited video of an educator supposedly saying that, under Common Core, it doesn't matter if students think that 3 x 4 = 11 so long as they can explain how they arrived at that answer (skip ahead to 7:30 mark):

Following the clip, Barton said it showed that education under Common Core is not about "getting right answers," which is fundamentally false, and Barton knows it.

As we pointed out earlier this month, this video has been misleadingly edited, since the speaker is cut off after supposedly saying that getting the wrong answer is not important when the full video shows that she then goes on to say that any student who answered that 3 x 4 = 11 would be wrong and would be corrected.

In fact, Beck's own The Blaze network debunked the very clip that Barton played on the program last Monday:

The truncated clip features August’s statement: “But even under the new Common Core if even if they said 3 x 4 was 11, if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer, really in words and oral explanations and they showed it in a picture but they just got the final number wrong? We’re more focusing on the how and the why.”

An audience member then asks whether students will be corrected for giving the wrong answer.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We want our students to compute correctly. But the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer — and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?” August replies.

A fuller video of the forum, however, reveals that August said first students should certainly know that 3 x 4 equals 12.

This is now the third time that we have found something debunked by The Blaze being repeated on Beck's shows as statement of fact.

Maybe the people at The Blaze who help put together Beck's programming ought to start reading their own reporting.

Stemberger: New Anti-Gay Scouting Organization Like The Resurrection Of Jesus

John Stemberger was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today, discussing the new anti-gay alternative to the Boy Scouts that will be announced later this Fall.

During the discussion, Stemberger stated that with the formation of this new organization, something good will finally result from the vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay scouts, likening it to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

"Sometimes things have to die," Stemberger said, "before there's a new birth and it comes back better than before. And, not to extend the analogy too far, but even our Lord went through that process":

Later, co-host Rick Green asked Stemberger what he would say to a Boy Scout leader who was thinking of remaining with the Scouts because this is not an issue for them because they don't have any openly gay boys wanting to join their troop.  Stemberger responded by warning that gay activists will begin to "strategically place openly gay boys in troops, especially very conservative troops and see if they will, you know, deny them membership based on the fact that they are flaunting their sexuality" in order to file lawsuits:

Near the end of the broadcast, David Barton picked up on Stemberger's warming to issue a warning of his own that "little sins always grow to become big sins that will turn and devour you."  To illustrate this point, Barton cited  naturalist Joy Adamson, who wrote the book "Born Free" about her experience raising a lion cub.

"Joy Adamson is a name back years ago out of Africa.  She did the famous movie and the book 'Born Free' and then 'Living Free' where she raised the lion cubs and Elsa was a lion cub and she ends up getting killed by her favorite lions that she's raised from cubs":

Of course, like so much of what Barton says, this is not true at all, as Adamson was actually murdered by a former employee, not killed by lions. 

David Barton Doesn't Understand Why Atheists Are So Angry

Today on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green hosted Ray Comfort, who was on to promote his new "God vs Evolution" film, which he claims utterly destroys the theory of evolution.

Following the conversation, Barton commented that atheists are really angry about the film and are, in fact, pretty angry in general about all sorts of things, which doesn't make any sense.  After all, Barton said, he doesn't believe in UFOs or Bigfoot, but he is not out there trying to shut down people who do:

You challenge what they believe about evolution and they get angry. And you ask them questions they can't answer about their own belief, they get angry.  And I was thinking too, you know, they do that in so many areas, including faith areas.

I mean, here I am, I don't believe in UFOs but, you know, there are some UFO societies out there - in December, I drove through Roswell, New Mexico and all the UFO societies - but I'm not suing to close them down. I'm not mad at them.  I'm not angry with them. I just don't believe in them.

In the same way, you know, the series that was on TV last year about in search of Bigfoot.  Hey, I don't believe in the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot or Sasquatch, but I'm not suing to shut these people down because they don't believe like I believe.

I've had people tell me, hey, we never landed on the moon; that was a big government conspiracy and it never happened.  I'm not looking to shut them down. I'm not mad about them believing that.  I just think they're wrong. 

Why is it that atheists get mad? If they don't believe in God, then why do they care if we do.  And yet they go out there, working so hard and they're so angry to shut down every expression.  There's groups that I don't agree with and I don't believe with, but I'm not angry at them and I'm not looking to shut down their existence.

And [Comfort] is right: atheists get angry because they do know that God exists.  That's what makes them mad.

First of all, anyone who preaches that "hate is a virute" probably ought not to be lecturing others about being angry.

And secondly, it should be noted that believers in UFOs and Bigfoot don't have powerful, like-minded allies in Congress, nor do they have dozens of influential political organizations all operating with the goal of forcing the existence of Bigfoot and E.T. to be taught in public schools as fact and generally working to ensure that such beliefs form the basis of this nation's public policy.

Barton: We Haven't Had Global Warming In Sixteen Years

As we noted several months ago, David Barton is now leading the fight about Common Core and, in that capacity, recently sat down for a discussion about it in Oklahoma where he made the standard, utterly unfounded claims about how Common Core would lead to the use of iris scanners on students who will be implanted with biometric tracking devices.

But it wasn't only where Common Core would lead that Barton was worried about, as he also warned that the content of the curriculum is heavily focused on indoctrinating students by teaching them about things like global warming.

Barton insisted that while global warming does occur, is it not man-made but rather happens naturally and is no different than normal temperature fluctuations.

"Global warming occurs," Barton stated, but "we haven't had it in sixteen years. But anthropogenic? That hasn't been proved at all, not by a long shot.  Anthropogenic means man-caused global warming.  I mean, we've got cycles, you bet.  That's why we have averages.  That's why in Texas we go from summers of 70 degrees to summers of a 120 degrees. I mean, it's averages":

Barton: Gay Activists Don't Want Equality, They Want To Be Dominant

The guest on "WallBuilders Live" today was Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel church in California who came on to warn the audience about SB 323, the "Youth Equality Act," which would require youth nonprofit organizations operating in the state to comply with California’s nondiscrimination laws.

That, of course, is an outrage to folks like David Barton, who warned that gay activists don't just want equality, they want to dominate and force everyone else to accept their views, which is something that Christians would never do:

Notice that this bill is pointed against quote 'discriminate against LGBT groups.' Now discriminate against now means, in California officials' views, to disagree with.  So it's not discriminate against, it's if you disagree with these groups, we're going to punish you for not having a government-approved view. This is what happens when [Christians] refuse to get involved and its now going to effect home-schoolers as well.

We often say let homosexuals have the right to marry, et cetera; no, no, no, it doesn't stop with that - a little leaven leavens the whole loaf - these guys are not wanting to be equal, they're wanting to be dominant.

And that's what we've seen across Europe, that's what we've seen everywhere else but we keep thing, well, we wouldn't do that if we were in charge, we wouldn't force our views on them. Great, but you're not in charge and you're not getting involved and you're not electing people.

Lapin: 'Singleness ... Tends To Give Us Tyranny In A Society'

On several occasions, Glenn Beck has made it clear that he does not share the Religious Right's panicked belief that marriage equality will destroy the nation and even stated that the push for equality is winning "because the principle of it is is right."

So it was a little odd that he handed over his television program last night to David Barton and Rabbi Daniel Lapin who spent the entire hour making the case that, in fact, marriage equality will destroy the nation and that government has no right to change God's definition of marriage.

While Barton claimed that the Founding Fathers all agreed that the government had no power or right to change anything that God had established, Lapin declared that "it is marriage that makes government possible."

"Singleness," Lapin added, "in other words, an obliteration of marriage, tends to give us tyranny in a society and, what's more, tyranny seems to stimulate a destruction and a pulverizing of marriage."

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/23/13

Barton: Glenn Beck Is A Christian Who Identifies As Mormon Simply Out Of Loyalty

It has been no secret that there have been some among the Religious Right who have raised concerns about the prominent role that Glenn Beck has been playing within the movement because he is a practitioner of the Mormon faith.  And given David Barton's close ties to Beck, Barton has also received criticism for defending Beck, often by claiming that if you judge Beck simply by the "fruits" of his works and not his label, he is really a Christian.

While Beck himself openly embraces his Mormon faith and has even dedicated entire programs to defending it, Barton continues to insist that Beck is really just a Mormon in name only, and he only does that because he has a loyalty to the church for helping him overcome with problems with alcohol.

As Barton explained to Steve Deace last week, individual Mormons can go to Heaven and Beck really "became a Christian back when he was in Alcoholics Anonymous" but identifies as a Mormon today only "because he has a loyalty to them":

They see the label Mormon and they say "ah, I know what that is." No you don't.  To say a Mormon can't go to Heaven is like saying every Baptist is going to Heaven. What you have to look at is individuals. And individuals often don't believe what the rest of the of the group does.

Now, in the case of Glenn - and I'm not going to speak for Glenn, I'll just speak for what I know about him - Glenn became a Christian back when he was in Alcoholics Anonymous, but when he was up in New England and laying on the floor, curled up, trying to get withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, no Christians reach out to him; it was the Mormon Church that took him under its arm and said 'hey, let us help you.' And they just loved on him and they just held him and he's got a loyalty to them because they're the people who reached out for him when he really needed help.

So people get stuck over what the label is and my position has been very simple; if I walk up to a tree and it says I'm a banana tree but I keep seeing apples, what do I go by? The label or what I see of the fruit?

And so people again keep getting caught up over labels, but hey, back off the labels, judge the fruit.  And there's going to be things we disagree with and I think you analysis was good is that it's in development.  You know, you look at where he was three years ago and where he is now; a world of difference.

Republican Presidential Hopefuls' Favorite 'Christian Nation' Extremist

Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He decries Supreme Court rulings on prayer and Bible reading in public schools, and says, “It’s easily defended that America was founded by Christians, as a Christian nation.”

Cruz and Paul may be motivated by the fact that a similar David Lane-organized pastors briefing is credited with Mike Huckabee’s win in the 2008 Iowa caucus.  Evangelical political strategist Doug Wead has described Lane as “the mysterious, behind the scenes, evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee,” even though subsequent renewal projects failed to deliver South Carolina and Florida to Huckabee.

Still, Lane, a self-described “political operative,” has plans that go well beyond Iowa.  The “Rediscovering God in America” event scheduled for July 17 and 18 is just one of an ongoing series of pastors briefings that are central to the American Renewal Project’s 12-state strategy to turn out conservative evangelical voters in the 2013-2014 election cycle.  (Those states: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, Nevada, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.) 

In December, Lane described his project’s goal this way: “to engage the church in a culture war for religious liberty, to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and to re-establish a Christian culture.” And he has a clear message to representatives and senators: “Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home. Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.”

Lane is abundantly clear about his belief that the choice facing America is a return to its founding as a Christian nation or a continued descent into what he describes as paganism. He wrote  in December:

America was a Christian nation. The Mayflower Compact declared, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, having undertaken – for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith…”

Let’s decide if America is a Christian nation or a pagan nation – and get on with it; the sooner the better.

Lane told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody that “America has left God” and that “unrighteousness” is “the greatest threat to freedom.” Brody says Lane “believes it’s time to remove politicians from office who have led America down this immoral and unsustainable broken path.” 

A Christian-Nation Warrior Within the GOP

To be fair to Paul and Cruz, they are only the latest Republican presidential hopefuls who have allied themselves with the zealous David Lane in order to tap his network of politically engaged pastors. Lane has been holding “pastors briefings” in 15 states since the mid-1990s. He wrote last year that state Restoration and Renewal projects had hosted more than 10,000 pastors and spouses in ten states since 2005 alone, in events that have been used to engage pastors in anti-gay initiative battles and introduce them to politicians favored by Lane. Pastors’ expenses are covered with money from the American Family Association and other religious right mega-donors. The American Renewal Project operates as a project of the AFA; Lane also operates the California-based Pastors and Pews. 

Texas Governor Rick Perry is also reportedly scheduled to participate in this week’s Iowa gathering, which may confirm his apparent interest in another run for the presidency.  Perry has a long-term relationship with Lane.  In 2005 and 2006, Lane and his network played a huge role in mobilizing support for Perry’s re-election as governor. Six pastors briefings were held around the state, and all six were addressed by Perry.  As Governor, Perry hasn’t disappointed Lane and his friends.

Heading into the 2012 election cycle, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, and Newt Gingrich spoke to 600 pastors, ministry leaders and spouses at a March 2011 Iowa Renewal Project Pastor’s Policy Briefing. But as the primaries approached, Lane was not satisfied with the field. He played a key role in organizing conservative religious leaders to push Perry into the presidential race.  And he masterminded and served as national finance chair for “The Response”, an August 2011 prayer rally that served as Perry’s unofficial campaign launch.

Lane enthusiastically applauded anti-Mormon attacks on Mitt Romney made by Perry backer Robert Jeffress at the Values Voter Summit in October 2011.  The Daily Beast revealed emails between Lane and religious broadcaster Dick Bott in which Lane praised Jeffress, saying the message “juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”

After Perry’s candidacy imploded, Religious Right leaders split between Gingrich and Santorum, dooming last-ditch efforts to prevent Romney from becoming the GOP nominee.  Lane backed Gingrich.  He organized a conference call in Florida in late January 2012 to which he said he invited some 125,000 Florida evangelicals, including 2,400 pastors; the call reportedly had 1,000 participants and a recording was emailed to the other 124,000. But obviously he failed to prevent Romney from becoming the nominee.

During the flap over Perry backers’ attacks on Romney’s Mormonism, Lane had actually told broadcaster Bott that he would sit out the 2012 elections rather than vote for Romney. But whether or not Lane actually cast his personal vote for Romney, he continued mobilizing conservative Christians in an effort to defeat Barack Obama.  In Ohio, for example, Lane was part of a major effort by Republican evangelicals to put Romney over the top in that state.  Lane organized “several glitzy mass rallies for the state’s churchgoers featuring high-profile religious and political leaders,” the Washington Times reported last November. Lane and Ralph Reed each produced voter guides for “Ohio’s faithful.”

Although Perry’s tanking disrupted Lane’s plans to get conservative evangelicals to coalesce around a single candidate in 2012, it seems clear that he has similar intentions for 2016. He told the Houston Chronicle in June, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that they [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and Romneys left.”

At War With the GOP

Lane’s comment about “the McCains and Romneys” is just the tip of the iceberg of contempt that he has for what he sees as a cowardly, compromising Republican establishment. He denounces moderate Republicans who are “bound and determined to deposit homosexuality – and homosexual marriage – into the Grand Old Party.” And he insists, “Those doing this to our country must be removed from office and from leadership.” (These aren’t necessarily idle threats: Lane was at the center of the successful 2010 campaign to remove from office three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had been part of a unanimous ruling in favor of marriage equality. “Lane called the judges “Judicial Gods” who believe they have the “right to rule a free people” and “impose their will” however they see fit.”)

Lane was outraged last year when many Republican Party leaders abandoned Senate candidate Todd Akin in the wake of his infamous comments about “legitimate rape”— Lane was especially indignant because at the same time the GOP was backing openly gay Senate candidate Richard Tisei in Massachusetts.  Lane mobilized support for Akin among conservative pastors and complained loudly about the GOP. “Following the pounding of Todd Akin by the GOP kings and lieutenants in the last 36 hours, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real issue is the soul of America,” he wrote in an email to activists. In October, almost 400 pastors who had gathered for a Pastors’ Policy Briefing in Missouri prayed over Akin, whose cause Lane said was “the opening battle for the soul of the Republican Party.” After all, he argues, “someone’s values must reign supreme.”

After the 2012 elections, Lane drew his battle lines:

The moderate GOP chieftains and lieutenants’ philosophy of government and set of values – in the long run – are incompatible with Christian morality and principles. As these secular “pastors” – the GOP chieftains and lieutenants – seek to bully and dictate their worldly, amoral ethics – according to their importance, omnipotence and power of the purse – there can be no amicability and meeting of minds….

Christian conservatives are coming to their moment of truth within the Republican Party. Be friendly and disarm, or annoy and aggravate the GOP kings and lieutenants by laying down the law on Christian principles and Christian values.

….

Another way to put it is: I don’t think that “restoring America” is a Christian imperative. Being a witnesses [sic] to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the imperative. If that restores America, wonderful; if it means that America collapses – like Rome – the byproduct of the Permanent Republican Majority or a decadent, sinful, immoral culture and people, the church is God’s permanent “nation.” 

Lane writes that after launching a public fight for putting the Bible, Jesus, the Ten Commandments back into public schools, “then we will watch Providence call for ‘punishment executed by angels‘ to those who oppose His word.”

Lane says he believes there is “good news in the current Republican collapse and failure – brought about as a byproduct of the amoral, empty philosophy of the Permanent Republican majority” – and that is a political opening for evangelicals. In February, Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody said that Lane’s battle against Republicans who are more worried about the party than “sustaining a moral and righteous nation” is “the next confrontation to watch.”

Pastors as Cause of and Solution to America’s Descent into Hell

It is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings that the real reason for America’s slide from greatness into moral decay is that its preachers aren’t preaching aggressively enough. Lane is also in this camp. The relatively media-shy Lane told the New York Times in 2011, “From my perspective, our country is going to hell because pastors won’t lead from the pulpits.”

He complains that the “the Church didn’t even shudder when the Bible, prayer, Jesus, and the Ten Commandments were removed from the public schools in 1963.” And he says there was “not a peep from the Christian Church” in response to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, when the church “should have initiated riots, revolution, and repentance.”

Lane is fond of quoting Peter Leithart’s Between Babel and Beast. Last fall he included this segment in one of his frequently repetitive online commentaries: 

American churches have too long discipled Christians in Americanism, and that makes Christian involvement in the American polity far smoother than it ought to be. Churches must repent of our Americanism and begin to cultivate martyrs—believers who are martyrs in the original sense of ‘witness’ and in the later sense of men and women ready to follow the Lamb all the way to an imperial cross.

In a different commentary, this one for WND, Lane also quotes from Between Babel and Beast:

Until American churches actually function as outposts of Jesus’ heavenly empire rather than as cheerleaders for America – until the churches produce martyrs rather than patriots – the political witness of Christians will continue to be diluted and co-opted.

Lane also quotes Leithart in a June 2013 commentary that seemed to be too much even for the virulent WND, which has removed the post. Here’s part of the Leithart he approvingly quotes:

Americanists cannot break Babelic or bestial power because they cannot distinguish heretical Americanism from Christian orthodoxy. Until we do, America will lurch along the path that leads from Babel to Beast. If America is to be put in its place – put right – Christians must risk martyrdom and force Babel to the crux where it has to decide either to acknowledge Jesus [as] imperator and the church as God’s imperium or to begin drinking holy blood.

To that bracing section Lane adds his own words:

Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see on America? Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?...

As to the future of America – and the collapse of this once-Christian nation – Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning, and pagan media….

Christian America is in ruins…

You ask, “What is our goal?” To wage war to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage with all of our might and strength that God will give us. You ask, “what is our aim?” One word only: victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.

He sees the solution as the political organizing he does among pastors.  “Bible-believing pastor,” he wrote last fall, “without overstating it, the survival of America is on your shoulders.” According to the New York Times, at a 2011 briefing in Iowa Mike Huckabee “lavished praise on Mr. Lane for ‘bringing pastors together so they go back to their pulpits and light them on fire with enthusiasm, to make America once again the greatest country on earth under God.’”

Lane’s increasingly war-like rhetoric has given people pause. Lane frequently closes his commentaries – including the one recently pulled from WND -- with the question, “Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please stand.” In the Old Testament, Gideon is called by God to defeat the armies of enemies of the Israelites and end the worship of false gods. Rahab the Harlot is another Old Testament character: she enabled the Israelites’ conquest of the city of Jericho by helping two spies sent into the city by Joshua. She and her family were the only ones spared when the city was destroyed and every other man, woman and child was killed. Politicians who stand with Lane might consider asking him just what he means by his frequently repeated calls for a Gideon or Rahab to stand up among American evangelicals.

This IS the Religious Right – and the GOP’s Dominant Right Wing

Sadly, Lane’s extremist views and rhetoric do not make him much of an outlier among today’s hard-right political figures. He is closely allied with major Religious Right leaders and has no problem attracting current and former members of Congress and Republican presidential aspirants to his closed-door gatherings.  Among those scheduled to take part in this week’s Iowa event are Christian-nation “historian” David Barton, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, and the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon.  In 2010, Lane joined Barton and anti-gay activist Jim Garlow, and Lane offered a 12-day, $4000, Next Great Awakening Tour of historical sites in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.

Also part of this week’s program in Iowa is Lane’s friend Laurence White, who says “if we do not stop abortion then God will destroy and God should destroy America.” Another participant is Ken Canfield, who ran for Governor of Kansas in 2006 on a platform calling for a “no exceptions” ban on abortion; he came in second in a crowded GOP primary .

Lane, like other Religious Right leaders, sees the acceptance of homosexuality as a sign that America has turned its back on God. In one column he approvingly cites an author who describes gays and lesbians as “parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.” Last summer he asked pastors to “exhort the flock, entrusted to you by the Living God, to refrain from shopping at Target Stores until its leadership ends pushing homosexual marriage in America.”

He’s even got the Tea Party’s anti-big-government rhetoric down. He wrote in February as sequestration approached,  “we should immediately begin the mobilization of pastors and pews to contact—read tongue-lash and rail against – local Congressman and U.S. Senators to decry the immoral debt being piled on our kids and grandkids because Congress lacks the guts to make hard, painful decisions and cut spending.”

In fact, Lane covers all the issues important to the modern day right, connecting them to court decisions upholding the separation of church and state, which he says created a religion of secularism:

This ‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America – and the public square.

Lane is connected to Champion the Vote, a project of United in Purpose, which had aimed to unseat President Obama with an effort “to mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012.” United in Purpose produced DVDs of Lane’s 2011 event in Orlando to distribute for house parties. In the wake of Rick Perry’s supposedly non-political “Response” rally, the American Family Association sent out emails to those who registered for the event  to engage them in Champion the Vote.  It said the Response “was just the beginning of a nationwide initiative to return America to the principles on which she was founded, with God at the center of our nation.”

Politicians like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul should be held to account for partnering politically with David Lane. But given the increasingly small differences between the GOP’s right wing and its really right wing, we probably shouldn’t expect politicians cozying up to Lane to show any discomfort with his extremism. As Ted Cruz said in another context, “If standing for liberty , if standing for free market principle and the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then, then I am a very proud wacko bird.”

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