David Barton: Playing the Victim

David Barton is now complaining that folks who oppose his appointment by the Texas State Board of Education to a panel of social studies “experts” are doing so simply because he’s a Christian and a conservative. We’re not going to let him get away with that blatant mistruth. (Some might rightly call it a “lie.”)

We oppose Barton’s appointment to the panel because he lacks the academic credentials to qualify by any stretch of the imagination as a social studies “expert.” His personal religious beliefs are irrelevant, as is the faith of each individual appointed to the social studies panel.

Barton’s college degree is in religious education, not history or another field in the social sciences. He works for no institution of higher education. He’s simply a smooth-talking political hack who distorts history in the service of an ideological agenda.

As we detailed in a 2006 report (pages 17-21 of The Anatomy of Power), Barton’s career is one long exercise in political propaganda, not truly academic historical research. Barton’s organization, WallBuilders, is dedicated to undermining constitutional protections for separation of church and state. Having served for a decade as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party, he also distorts history in an effort to promote the GOP. (For example, he claims the Republican Party is a champion of civil rights for African Americans. There is no question, of course, that the Republican Party led political opposition to slavery in this country and for many decades really did support civil rights. Some Republicans still do. But Barton conveniently ignores strong Republican opposition to civil rights laws since the 1960s, when white southerners and segregationists began their migration from the Democratic Party to the GOP. That kind of historical revisionism is dishonest and sleazy.)

Moreover, Barton’s arguments about church-state separation have been challenged by academics and even by religious organizations. Those organizations realize that separation of church and state is a critical protection for religious freedom. But Barton calls church-state separation a myth and even argues that U.S. laws and public policies should be based on the Bible. He is a clear example of someone who wants to use government to promote his own religious views over those of everybody else.

No, Mr. Barton, we don’t oppose your appointment because you’re a “Christian and a conservative.” TFN includes many Christians and other people of faith, including Democrats and Republicans. We oppose your appointment because the schoolchildren of Texas deserve far better. Shame on you, and shame on the State Board of Education for appointing you.

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3 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I am opposed to Mr. Barton and his activities for political, religious, and academic reasons:

    1) In my opinion, he is not a Democrat, not an Independent, and not even a Republican. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Republican. Barry Goldwater was a Republican. Howard Baker, Jr. is a Republican. Ms.” Tincy” Miller is a Republican. The time has come for REAL Republicans to purge extremists like Barton from the party and take back rightful ownership of it. It is starting to happen all over the country right now. Republicans are waking up to the reality that people like Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, and Ann Coulter are cancers that need to be “cut out” so the party can survive and have a chance to win another election one day.

    2) David Barton subscribes to the notion that the United States is a Christian nation. This is one of the primary tenets of Christian Reconstructionism and Dominion Theology. One can make a very good Biblical case that both of these related belief systems are heresy against the Christian faith. One of their major beliefs is that it is their job to take over worldly governments through legal means, use laws based on the Bible to perfect human government, human society, and human beings through their programs, and thus present a “perfected humanity” as a special post-millenial gift to Jesus Christ on a silver platter when he finally decides to come back. For those of you who have not read your Bibles in a while, most of the world Christian community (including even the fundamentalists) believe it is supposed to happen the other way around. Therefore, just me personally, in my opinion only, David Barton is a heretic and a true apostate.

    3) Is anyone here really stupid enough to think that the many thousands of history professors at all of the college and university Departments of History around this great nation go eagerly to work every morning to make up false history to teach their students? How many of you seriously think that your history professor stood in front of that blackboard 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago and lied to you about James Madison and John Adams? How many of you seriously think that all of the American history books on the shelves down at your public library are filled with lies about our American past? How many of you really think that the history and social studies teachers at your local elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools hold secret Satanic convocations to devise the next round of historical lies to teach your children? Sound pretty nutty? Sound just plain goofy? You bet it does. I ask you another question then? Why does David Barton claim that our American history is wrong, and why is he trying to rewrite it?

    “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee [and the Republican party too], if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4: 8-9)

  2. PHarvey
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    TFN Says:
    “Shame on you, and shame on the State Board of Education for appointing you”.

    That won’t work…the SBOE has no shame.

  3. jdg
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I guess he’s the “Stephen Meyer” of Social Studies???

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