One of the most interesting aspects of monitoring David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who is currently running one of Ted Cruz's presidential Super PACs, is watching how the claims that he makes become more and more dishonest as the misinformation that he spreads goes unchecked by his audience and associates.
A few weeks ago, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's television program to promote a new survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna, which they all falsely claimed had found that the vast majority of churchgoers wanted to hear their pastors preach against things like legal abortion and gay marriage.
As we pointed out at the time, "92% of the total respondents" of Barna's survey were conservative Christian activists, meaning that it really only represented the views of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views." But despite the fact that this survey was absurdly biased and represented only the views of a narrow segment of the Christian population, Barton has been hard at work falsely claiming that it represents the views of all churchgoers as he seeks to encourage pastors to start preaching on the issues that are central to his right-wing political agenda.
Last night, Barton appeared on Beck's television program again to misleadingly promote this same survey, which he did this time by claiming that it shows that churchgoers are "unanimous" in wanting to hear these sorts of right-wing issues preached from their pulpits.
Barton, without a hint of irony, stated that conservatives tend to remain quiet on contentious cultural issues because "they're concerned about truth" and often don't feel that they know enough to be able to comment intelligently on such issues, unlike liberals, who don't care about the truth at all and "will just throw stuff out all the time."
He then proceeded to explain his theory that 20 percent of the population will "oppose everything all of the time," which means that if a survey finds that 80 percent of people support something, then it is essentially unanimous. As such, he said that Barna's survey, which supposedly found that upwards of 80 percent of all churchgoers want to hear anti-abortion and ant-gay sermons, means that American congregations are unanimous on these positions.
"It's a landslide," he said. "When I see a poll that has 80 percent, that tells me it is unanimous. You';re going to have 20 percent of the people who don't think the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west, so you'll always have 20 percent who are loudmouths on the other side. When you get 80 percent, you're talking unanimous."
Last week, we noted that David Barton and Glenn Beck had launched an effort to pressure pastors into speaking out on issues of importance to conservatives by misleadingly citing a survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna.
All three men appeared on Beck's show to promote the poll, claiming that it found that large majorities of average churchgoers are clamoring to have their pastors preach against things like abortion, gay marriage and the separation of church and state. In reality, the poll represented only the views of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views," which was not surprising since conservative Christians made up "92% of the total respondents."
Barton filmed a video on behalf of the effort in which he, once again, misleadingly created the impression that the findings of the Barna poll represent the views of all churchgoers.
Saying that the poll represents the views of "Bible-minded churchgoers," Barton proceeded to declare time and again that "an astounding 91 percent of churchgoers say that it was critically important that they learn the biblical perspective on abortion," and that "82 percent of Bible-believing churchgoers felt that it was crucial to hear the biblical view of sexual identity," and that "80 percent of churchgoers want to hear about Israel," and that "79 percent of churchgoers want to hear about our Christian heritage."
Of course, what the poll really found was that these were the issues that conservative Christians want to hear their pastors preach about. But Barton never bothers to mention that basic fact because doing so would undermine his effort to create the impression that America's churches are filled with people just dying to hear anti-abortion and anti-gay sermons.
Glenn Beck felt that his television program last night was so important that he took to Facebook to tell his fans that "if you only watch one show the rest of this year from me on the blaze, make it today's." What his viewers found if they tuned in was David Barton promoting Seven Mountains dominionism, a movement that believes that Christians must gain control of the seven main cultural centers in order to create a "virtual theocracy" in America:
Barton has been openly promoting Seven Mountains since 2011 and now Beck is likewise on board, declaring in a separate Facebook post last night that "there are seven hills of culture. If you plan on surviving as a culture you must have these seven hills."
But all of this dominionist rhetoric was really just a lead-up to the release of a poll conducted by Christian pollster George Barna that reportedly found that churchgoers want their pastors to deliver more sermons opposing things like gay marriage and abortion rights and Islam.
The poll itself was conducted by Barna through the American Culture and Faith Institute, which just so happens to be "the public opinion research arm of United in Purpose," a Religious Right effort started several years ago for the purpose of mobilizing millions of right-wing Christians to vote.
To hear Barton, Beck and Barna tell it, the poll found that the average churchgoer is simply dying to have their pastor take on a whole host of controversial issues from the pulpit:
Top 12 Issues the Church Wants to Hear:
1. Abortion: Beginning of life, right to life, contraception, adoption, unwed mothers. 91%
2. Religious persecution/liberty: Personal duty, government duty, church response, global conditions. 86%
3. Poverty: Personal duty, government role, church role, homelessness, hunger, dependency. 85%
4. Cultural restoration: Appropriate morals, law and order, defensible values and norms, self-government. 83%
5. Sexual identity: Same-sex marriage, transgenderism, marriage, LGBT. 82%
6. Israel: Its role in the world, Christian responsibility to Israel, US foreign policy toward Israel and its enemies. 80%
7. Christian Heritage: role of Christian faith in American history, church role in US development, modern-day relevance. 79%
8. Role of Government: Biblical view, church-state relationship, personal responsibility, limitations. 76%
10. Self-governance: Biblical support, personal conduct, impact on freedom, national sovereignty. 75%
11. Church in politics/government: Separation of church and state, legal boundaries, church resistance to government. 73%
12. Islam: Core beliefs, response to Islamic aggression, threat to US peace and domestic stability. 72%
Throughout the program, all three men repeatedly created the impression that this was a poll of average "church-going, Bible-believing people" and that pastors have been failing to address the issues that their congregations care most about:
But if you actually bother to read the poll, you discover that "conservatives represented 92% of the total respondents" and that it's findings primarily reflected the desires of "spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views."
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that conservative Christians want their pastors to preach against abortion and gay rights, but obviously conservatives are not the only ones filling the pews on Sundays.
In Barna's poll, 92% of respondents were conservative, while the other 8% were "moderates"; unsurprisingly, the moderates did not share the conservative views at all:
Christian conservatives were twice as likely as Christian moderates to desire more information (67% vs. 31%). Christian moderates, in contrast, were five times more likely to say that churches should not be involved in politics at all ... It is helpful to note that there are huge differences in the opinions of conservative Christians and moderate Christians on the importance of receiving biblical teaching on these matters from their church. Comparing their answers on the dozen most important issues to conservatives, realize that the average gap between the two segments is 30.2 percentage points, with the conservatives indicating a higher level of interest on each of these twelve subjects.
Predictably, nobody on Beck's show last night bothered to point out this rather important fact, as they repeatedly presented the poll as representing the views of regular churchgoers instead of the views of right-wing Christians, which is what it actually represents.
To make matters worse, the misleading poll findings are now being used by Beck and Barton to launch an effort aimed at pressuring pastors into preaching on the issues that the conservatives want to hear about.
Beck even posted a sample letter on his website for people to use in urging their pastors to address these issues:
We also want to encourage you to be bold in providing a Biblical perspective and spiritual guidance on the important moral, social and cultural issues confronting us today. As never before in our history, we are facing complex problems, and there is a competing cacophony of voices telling us what to think about these issues. We need clear guidance on what the Scriptures tell us about such issues such as abortion, religious persecution, sexual identity, bioethics and so much else. Our thinking, our children and our families are under attack from so many secular voices telling us how to think about these issues.
We understand many of these things will be seen as controversial to some, but this is all the more reason we need a clear spiritual perspective on them. Everyone seems to have their own opinion, but we want to know what the Bible says on each of these issues.
We have recently discovered we are not alone in our hunger for clear guidance on specific issues. A recent survey conducted by national pollster George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute shows that the overwhelming majority of serious Bible-minded church-goers are also hungering for relevant information.
We want – indeed, we need – to hear what God says about these things, which are pressing in upon our thinking from so many directions. We want you to know that if you will take leadership in teaching us about these things, we will have your back – we will ourselves stand up to the critics – we will stand with you and for you. We want to become better disciples and think like Jesus thought on all of these issues.
A few years ago, Beck and Barton launched the National Black Robe Regiment, which was designed to mobilize "courageous and patriotic ministers who will provide leadership and speak out on the pressing issues of the day."
We are guessing that that effort must not have been much of a success if Beck and Barton have now been forced to launch a separate effort misleadingly designed to get congregations to pressure their pastors into preaching on the issues that only conservative Christians care about.
Lane has argued that conservative evangelicals need to unite behind a single candidate to prevent the nomination of an unacceptably establishment figure along the lines of John McCain and Mitt Romney — and he has organized many events for pastors to meet GOP presidential candidates. Cruz backers like Barton and the Wilks brothers are close allies of Lane — and the Wilks brothers are big funders of Lane’s organizing projects as well as Online for Life.
Ted Cruz spoke at David Barton's "Pastors' Briefing" last night on Capitol Hill.
Even Joe Arpaio thinks Donald Trump has gone too far with his anti-immigration rhetoric, which is quite an accomplishment.
Speaking of Trump, he has reportedly turned down an invitation to speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.
Dave Daubenmire credits the prayers of his "Salt and Light Brigade" for Kim Davis' release from jail.
Finally, Phyllis Schlafly says that "when the Supreme Court ruled that all 50 states must license same-sex unions on the same terms as marriage, the court was implicitly declaring that Christianity and the Bible are wrong."
Naturally, he has now been tapped to take over the super PAC supporting Ted Cruz's presidential campaign:
David Barton, an influential Christian author and activist, is taking charge of the leading super-PAC supporting Ted Cruz.
The super-PAC, Keep the Promise PAC, is the umbrella for a group of related pro-Cruz political committees that raised $38 million in the first half of the year, more than the super-PACs supporting any other candidate with the exception of Jeb Bush.
"From the outset, the Keep the Promise PACs made their mission to provide a voice for the millions of courageous conservatives who are looking to change the direction of the country," Keep the Promise PAC said in a statement today. "Barton's involvement is an important step signaling that the effort will not be run by a D.C. consultant but by a grassroots activist."
David Barton took to his Facebook page yesterday to pen a defense of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, asserting that requiring her to do so violates the Constitution's prohibition on ex post facto laws.
Ex post factorefers "to a criminal law that applies retroactively, thereby criminalizing conduct that was legal when originally performed," and Barton, like others, bizarrely argues that since gay marriage was not legal nationwide when Davis ran for her county clerk position, requiring her to issue gay marriage licenses now is unconstitutional:
The third major criticism of Davis is that she is she knew what she was getting into and therefore should never have run for office. But this is a factually inaccurate statement. Davis ran for office in 2014; the Court issued its personal opinion in 2015 – a year after she was in office. She did not know that she was going to be asked to implement a federal policy that no American in the history of the Constitution had ever before been asked to enforce: issue a license for a homosexual marriage. She is now being punished for refusing to do something that was not part of her job description when she took office. In fact, her punishment smacks of an “ex post facto” policy. As even the very progressive Wikipedia explains, “An ex post facto law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions that were committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the law.” The Constitution explicitly prohibits this in Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 3, yet this is dangerously close to, if not exactly what is happening to Davis – except that it is not a law under which she is being jailed but rather the decree of a judge; but the results are the same.
Barton's understanding of ex post facto laws is laughable and therefore his entire argument is ludicrous since Davis is not being punished retroactively for something that was legal at the time she did it, but is rather being held in contempt of court for violating a judge's orders to stop preventing her office from issuing licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision.
Davis is currently breaking the law and that is why she is facing legal troubles.
Glenn Beck drove to Houston today to attend the funeral for Deputy Darren Goforth, who was ruthlessly gunned down last week at a local gas station.
Joining Beck on the trip was David Barton and his wife Cheryl and, on the way to the funeral, Beck and Barton had a conversation about the jailing of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for preventing her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, and Beck uploaded a video of it to his Facebook page.
While Beck said that he sympathizes with Davis, he cannot understand why she has not been fired for refusing to do her job. Barton, predictably, responded by asserting that Davis is entirely in the right to refuse to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because "the Founding Fathers made it real clear that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man."
"This is a law of God. Man's law is not allowed to contradict God's law," Barton said, which means there can be no justification for jailing Davis because she is upholding God's law.
Cruz is continuing this effort by sending out an email today via David Barton's WallBuilders network urging pastors to use their sermons this weekend to preach against Planned Parenthood and even providing a link to a sample sermon for them to use.
Provided by Lane's American Renewal Project, the sermon warns that God will harshly judge America for the sin of legal abortion and explicitly calls upon those in the congregation to contact their representatives in Congress to demand an end to any funding for Planned Parenthood:
Proverbs provides clear insight into God’s character. He has a personal hatred for seven things. God judges them to be so odious that they are an abomination to Him. His character will never allow His hatred of an abomination to evolve into a toleration of it. His children should be resolved to reflect His character, not to redefine it.
The Wise give shape to their personal and national character by loving what God loves and hating what God hates. Fools worship gods created by their vain imagination. They drift from the compass of God’s character. Their ears become deaf to His voice and their hearts become calloused to the touch of His hand. Any accumulative error of moral judgment is disastrous on a personal and a national level.
The abomination of any individual or any nation begins with the first act of disobedience to God. He finds rebellion disgusting, abhorrent and repugnant because it leads to a separation from Him and a loss of intimacy with Him.
When an individual or a nation stiff arms the character of God and embraces an abomination as the law of the land, it ends in disaster. When rebellious people disregard the compass of the most powerful, it is a very short step to dismembering the bodies of the most vulnerable. Like other nations, America has taken that step. It is time for a turnaround.
Recent videos exposing the gruesome practice of Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of the organs of babies from their mother’s womb. Exposing evil to the light of day has brought waves of sorrow to millions of tenderhearted people. Sorrow is redemptive only when it leads to repentance. Repentance requires a stopping point and a turning point. Without both there is no Spiritual Awakening on a personal or a national level.
There must be a point in which the accumulative error of an evil decision thrust upon the nation by secularist jurists stops. It must be followed by a turnaround that is spiritual, not political. That day has come. Let the breath in your lungs be used to pray for it to begin in your own heart.
A repentant person turns towards Jesus, and receives God’s forgiveness. A praying church mobilizes an army of repentant people calling on God to use His children as instruments to guide lost people and a wayward nation back to The Father. God can do more in five minutes, through the life of one obedient person than millions of rebels can accomplish in 50 years of their own effort. Be the one. The Victory is His. Pray for it. It is only a breath away.
After you pray for your life to be back on course, pray for your Congressmen and Senators to hear from God regarding the ending of the slaughter of the innocent. Let them know that you are praying for them, and you are expecting them to do the right thing. You will no longer tolerate any excuse when they have the chance to vote to end government sponsored support of the murder and dismemberment of babies in this session of Congress. God hates it. You can stop it. For God’s sake, make it happen.
Alice Patterson is a Texas-based Religious Right activist who also has ties to the movement of self-proclaimed modern-day prophets and apostles known as the New Apostolic Reformation, so much so that she joined then-Gov. Rick Perry on stage during his NAR-heavy "The Response" prayer rally back in 2011.
She is also the sort of person who believes that the removal of prayer from public schools resulted in the assassination of president John F. Kennedy:
Passivity caused the court cases that removed prayer from our public schools to remain, causing the protective wall around the United States, our schools and our government to crumble. The very next year President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The country mourned but the protective walls were not restored.
Patterson warns that "the further you get up the ladder in Washington, D. C. or state government, the harder it is to withstand the power of the Ahab structure if you’re a Republican" ... which is why President George W. Bush did so many ungodly things, like appointing "an open homosexual to high office," meeting with Muslims, and failing to pass a federal marriage amendment:
Although the Republican Party Platform is full of virtue, many individual Republicans tolerate what the platform does not. Take former evangelical President George W. Bush. Here are just a few of his actions that align with King Ahab’s tolerance of Jezebel.
• He was the first Republican President to appoint an open homosexual to high office— Scott Evertz to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.
• After the Islamic terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, President Bush invited 50 ambassadors from Muslim countries for a traditional meal and prayer at the White House in November 2001 to mark the start of Ramadan. A Republican President was the first to invite Muslims to pray in the White House. President Barack Obama continued the celebration of Ramadan in the White House, but it was started by a Republican President.
• President and Mrs. Bush bowed before the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.
• President Bush “removed his shoes, entered a mosque and praised Islam for inspiring ‘countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity and morality.’ For the second time since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the president yesterday visited Washington’s oldest mosque, the Islamic Center, where Muslims from 75 nations gather to worship. Bush marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by praising Islam as a hopeful religion of mercy and tolerance.”
• President Bush outraged evangelicals by stating that he believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.
• In 2004 President Bush campaigned in favor of a Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, when he was elected, he said no more about it. If he had put as much importance on it as he did in reforming Social Security, the Marriage Amendment would have passed through Congress. He even said on several occasions that he supported civil unions, which give the same rights as marriage to same-sex couples.
• President Bush proved over and over again that he was an Ahab.
So, naturally, when Barton was helping Glenn Beck co-host Beck's television program last night, he brought Patterson on in person so that she could discuss her efforts at "bridging the racial divide" ... and Beck was so impressed by her and her fellow guest, San Antonio pastor and anti-gayactivist Charles Flowers, that he announced that he is going to start doing an entire series of programs featuring the duo in coming weeks:
Ted Cruz is not only appealing to the evangelical vote, he’s fighting for Christians and for the lives of the unborn. His honest and obvious devotion to his Christian faith is one of the things that appeals to so many Americans. Approximately 1 in 4 voters have identified themselves as evangelical in exit polls since the 2004 election cycle. In key Republican contests such as Iowa and in some of the Southern states that Cruz has said are critical to his run, that figure was higher during the last presidential campaign — nearly 50 percent. The evangelical vote is key to Cruz’s campaign goals and strategies. He is gifted at motivating and mobilizing voters. He’s also the favorite son of the Tea Party conservatives. Cruz is just the warrior we have waited for.
Peter Montgomery @ Religion Dispatches: Istanbul ‘Haven of Sorts’ For LGBT Syrians and Iraqis; Cayman Islands Affirm Marriage Ban with ‘Holy Bible Evidence'; No Room for LGBTs in Malaysia’s ‘Islam-Based’ Human Rights Policy; Global LGBT Recap.
As we have noted several times before, David Barton is not about to stop repeating one of his talking points merely because it happens to be demonstrably false, and today he provided more evidence that he simply does not seem to care about the truth of the things that he says.
Since 2011, we have heard Barton repeatedly claim that the Department of Justice under President Obama has not prosecuted a single person for child pornography. This statement is categorically false, as anyone willing to spend one minute searching the database of the FBI website will find dozens and dozens of press releases announcing arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for child pornography.
But apparently Barton can't be bothered to get his facts straight and so he continues to repeat this claim, as he did again on his radio program today when he stated that "the last I knew, there has not been a single prosecution of child pornography under this administration. There were many under previous administrations; this administration just shut it down."
United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today the filing of formal charges against Jared S. Fogle for distributing and receiving child pornography, and conspiring to do so, as well as repeatedly traveling to engage in commercial sex acts with underage minors. Fogle, 37, of Zionsville, Indiana, was charged by Information and has notified the U.S. District Court that he will plead guilty to all charges. He had his initial appearance before a magistrate judge earlier today and was released on home detention with GPS monitoring and other conditions. The case was the result of a joint state, local and federal investigation by the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Minkler, “Mr. Fogle has admitted in court pleadings that he received child pornography involving multiple minors living in Indiana and other countries over the course of several years. His child pornography crime began when he learned that alleged co-conspirator Russell Taylor was sexually exploiting a 14 year old girl in March 2011. At that time, Mr. Fogle did nothing to stop the abuse or report it to authorities, but chose instead to receive and repeatedly view the child pornography involving the girl and those other minors produced by his alleged co-conspirator in the years that followed. It total, Mr. Fogle admitted in court pleadings filed today that his actions caused the sexual victimization of a total of 12 minors in Indiana before his co-conspirator’s arrest in April 2015. He preyed on minor victims who did not have the ability to protect themselves.”
According to the detailed charging Information and the admitted facts contained in Plea Agreement, between March of 2011, and January of 2015, Russell C. Taylor (who was federally charged in a separate case in May 2015) allegedly produced child pornography involving 12 minor victims in Indiana. Taylor secretly produced the images and videos of these minors, who were between 9 and 16 years old. The victims were filmed in Taylor’s house using multiple hidden cameras which were concealed in clock radios and positioned so they would capture the victims changing clothes, showering, bathing or engaging in other activities. Taylor allegedly then shared some of these images and videos with Fogle, who knew the victims were minors. During conversations and text messages with Taylor, Fogle made comments approving of the activity and discussed some of the minors by name. However, Fogle did not receive all of the material Taylor allegedly produced.
Fogle also allegedly received commercially produced child pornography videos from Taylor, who allegedly obtained the material through Internet sources. The videos were made outside of the United States by other persons and showed the sexual abuse of victims as young as six years old. Fogle viewed some of these video files on a computer provided by Taylor as well as through text messages and a thumb drive. On one occasion, Fogle allegedly displayed some of these videos to another person using a thumb drive provided by Taylor.
Update: Warren Throckmorton looked into Barton's claim more closely and found that he was off by a mere 12,859.
Five years ago, following the "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington, D.C., Glenn Beck and David Barton announced the formation of the Nation Black Robe Regiment, which was designed to mobilize "courageous and patriotic ministers who will provide leadership and speak out on the pressing issues of the day."
In the ensuring years, the group has not really amounted to much or actually done anything, despite Beck's laughable claim that he's managed to raise up tens of thousands of pastors who are willing to die fighting anti-Christian persecution in America.
So we can't help but be a bit skeptical about Beck's new plan to create 1,000 "unity teams" all over the country that will be prepared to step in and keep the peace the next time a Ferguson-like situation erupts.
Once again partnering with Barton, Beck announced on his television program last night that the main outcome of his upcoming "Never Again Is Now/Restoring Honor" event in Birmingham, Alabama, will be the creation of 1,000 local "unity teams" who can serve as "first responders" in cases of civil unrest, showing up to model for people "how to behave" properly.
"Our goal for next week," Beck said, "is to have 1,000 unity teams all around the country that will be the first responders — and I'm not meaning the first responders for a hurricane, I mean first responder when there is something going on and will give people the tools to be able to react. And then also, our own unity team, the national unity team, will be the ones that will go in when there is Ferguson, the local people will be there, the local pastors and the local people that are part of knowing how to behave and then we will come and join you on the ground in places like Ferguson to try to defuse things and show people there is another way."