David Barton Peddles More Hysterics

Did David Barton promote another Sharia hysteria falsehood on his radio show? It appears so.

In other news: water is wet, sky is blue, sun is hot.

Admittedly, this one caught us a little off guard, one we hadn’t heard of before. So we went digging and found it’s another Sharia hysteria story peddled by the far right and its activists’ favorite pseudo-news sources like NewsMax and the tinfoil-hatters at Free Republic.

Last month, as he was trying to take back comments he made on “The Daily Show” in which he appeared to approve Sharia law in certain situations, Barton made the following comment (as he and co-host Rick Green were going over the numerous guests they’ve had on the show to speak against the secret Muslim plot to feed the U.S. Constitution to the Sharia law bogeyman):

“And attorneys who went after TARP, because it allows Sharia law, and TARP, the way that Obama did Sharia law — I mean that TARP put Sharia law in places in financing.”

Barton appears to be referring to a lawsuit filed by the right-wing Thomas More Law Center in late 2008 over federal bailout funds received by insurance giant AIG.

The Washington Post has more on this suit from shortly after it was filed a couple of years ago.

The lawsuit’s argument is basically this: AIG got a federal bailout while one of its subsidiaries does business in the Middle East, where it complies with certain aspects of Sharia law that, according to the Post, “encourages trade and investment, but bans interest and prohibits investments in certain areas such as gambling, alcohol, pornography, abortion, human cloning, conventional banks or insurers, and most forms of entertainment.”

Therefore, if AIG received a federal bailout, it is using government funds to promote a religious doctrine, which (the argument goes) would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

As noted in the Post article linked above, legal scholars believe the arguments — like other hysterical Sharia conspiracy stories — are a little outlandish, which is why a judge earlier this year dismissed the suit.

So, yes, Barton appears to be pushing another bogus story.

And there’s one more falsehood in Barton’s statement. TARP was initiated under the George W. Bush administration, and AIG took the first chunk of government funds while President Bush was still in office. Further, the lawsuit was filed in December 2008, when Bush was still in office. So when Barton says, “because it allows Sharia law, and TARP, the way that Obama did Sharia law,” he’s ranting up the wrong tree.

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17 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Bad grief. Of course Ben, you know the real tragedy here. A really high percentage of the people listening to that are so ignorant that they would believe it is true, and I suspect that he knows that. Among the faithful types who follow him, you can fool nearly all of the people all of the time. That says something about something, but I am not sure what it is right now. Perhaps this is because they have crossed over into…The Twilight Zone. Help me Rod?

  2. Ben
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink
  3. Karen
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    ““encourages trade and investment, but bans interest and prohibits investments in certain areas such as gambling, alcohol, pornography, abortion, human cloning, conventional banks or insurers, and most forms of entertainment.”

    Yep!!! The Middle East will finally discover Jesus when Sharia Law is abolished so a flood of western conservative values can wash across the great deserts, bringing in lots of new businesses based on ” gambling, alcohol, pornography, abortion, human cloning, conventional banks or insurers, and most forms of entertainment.”

    Then all the Muslims will finally be right with the Lord!!!!!!

    Charles, I just fell in love with you.

  4. Ben
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    That was me.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Let me push you off a thousand-foot cliff to the rocks below. Our understanding of science suggests you might get hurt. But I guess that’s a matter of opinion.

  6. Posted June 8, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    My father used to say that all science is just someone’s opinion. Given that he was the Chairman of the Chemistry Department of Lehigh, I still found that hard to swallow. But he was right.

    The trick in which opinon to find most useful is the trick in verifiication from other sources done independently. That applies to whether one is using the net to do research or being a stack rat. No matter whose opinon it is, verify before trusting.

  7. Ben
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Good stuff, Charles.

    Joseph Allen, here’s an easy way to find out if Charles is telling you the truth. Join Facebook. Friend David Barton. Then write a post on his wall, telling him about this conversation. Cut and paste Charles’ entire comment on to David Barton’s wall. You know what will happen? It will disappear. Barton (or one of his minions) will delete it the moment he sees it. He knows that his claims and research methods can’t stand up against rebuttals from patient and honest people such as Charles and Chris Rodda.

  8. Charles
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Joseph Allen:

    Thank you for your comments.

    I am a Christian. I am also an American archaeologist that works with American history and quite often adds to our body of new knowledge in the field of history, especially with regard to local history in small rural towns.

    Yes, David Barton comes across as a gentle and sincere man. However, as my Southern Baptist preacher used to say about various people that he had encountered, “He was indeed sincere—just sincerely wrong.” As Chris Rodda and various legitimate historians have pointed out on numerous occasions, Barton is wrong on far more than just a few historical counts. Many people consider him to be a deliberate liar about the American past.

    All too often, we Christians come to church believing that it is always a totally safe place where we can just turn off our brains at the front door, relax, and assume that everything we are being told is absolute truth. After all, the pastor seems like a nice enough guy. He seems sincere. He went to seminary to study the Bible and the Christian faith. He says he follows Jesus. If I cannot trust him, then who can I trust? The answer to that question is simple. You can trust Jesus himself and HIM ALONE. Be highly wary, critical, and skeptical of anything that another human being tells you about matters of faith and the gospel. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” Jesus also warned us about this same thing in these very specific words: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15). This is Jesus telling us Christians to be alert at all times and be skeptical about what other human beings are telling us—test it out to see if it is really true.

    In the case of someone like David Barton, an appropriate and honest test would be for you to independently research his historical claims in a major university library like at the University of Texas. Keep an open mind and see what Barton’s critics have to say. Go find several legitimate Ph.D. historians who are also Christians and ask them what they think about David Barton’s version of American history. This should be a Christian historian at a place like Texas A&M University—-not a prejudiced and biased place like Fred Moore College of the Bible where you can already predict what the answer will be. Take all of the information you gather, analyze that information, and form your own opinion about David Barton’s history rather than just accepting the opinion some human being at church or on a street corner hands you on a platter.

    Now, I will offer you my honestly held personal opinion about David Barton and his view of American history. I do not trust him, and I have concluded to my own satisfaction that his work with American history is flawed—very flawed and misguided.

    On some days I think Barton must be a liar. On other days, I wonder whether he is just a sincere but incompetent researcher. If you are not aware of this fact, David Barton is not a college-trained historian. He does not have a college degree in history or a related field. For those of us who have been trained to do academic research in graduate school at a large national university, one of the things we frequently see is biased research done by untrained people like Barton. A person will come up with a great idea for a research project and state that he wants to direct his research towards “proving that his idea is true.” Then he proceeds to a library, starts reading, and begins jotting down everything he comes across that appears to support his idea—all the while completely ignoring all of the other facts in those books that go against his idea. With an approach like that, just about any outlandish idea you might come up with can be made to appear true when it is really not true.

    A properly trained scientist or historian develops an idea or hypothesis for the purposes of “testing it” (not proving it) against the full body of information that can be acquired in the library and elsewhere. He looks impartially, like the jury in a murder trial, at every fact that appears to support his hypothesis (or idea) and every fact that appears to go against it. Then he makes an informed and unbiased conclusion about the truth of his idea or hypothesis. Some good examples of the misguided approach to research are the various “gods from outer space” books that people have written “to prove” that the ancient civilizations on Earth were helped along by space aliens visiting our planet in flying saucers. The bookstore shelves and media outlets like the Discovery Channel are full of this misguided garbage. Many people are concerned that David Barton is doing the same misguided sort of thing with American history.

    As a Christian myself, a couple of other things trouble me about David Barton. For one thing, I am not at all sure whether he is a politician first and a Christian second. Is he a Republican because he is Christian, or does he just twist Christianity and use it as a cheap tool to line up votes for the party—all the while basking in those hearty “attaboy” pats on the back from rich and powerful men who are “…both in this world and part of this world?” In my opinion, the jury is still out on that one.

    A major theological concern I have is with Barton’s idea that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation.” For anyone who truly loves Jesus, the words “Christian nation” should throw up an immediate red flag of concern with regard to those “…ravening wolves…” that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 7:15. We have a new heresy against the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church on the American landscape. It is called Christian Reconstructionism, and the “Christian nation” is its main new idea. This heresy was not invented by our founding fathers in 1776 or 1787. This wayward new idea was invented by a strange little bearded man of Armenian descent in 1958, basically at the same time as “I Love Lucy.”

    Christian Reconstructionists are actively seeking to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and our American form of government through peaceful undermining of our Christian faith and society, just as the Soviet communists tried to do during the Cold War. In opposition to the truth held by most American historians, they have created a classic “big lie” mythology that the United States was founded officially as a “Christian nation.” They are using this big lie as the basis for eventually establishing a religious dictatorship to rule our country with an iron hand, just as the Islamic mullahs do in Iran. Most Christians do not realize this, but Christian Reconstructionists now have a deep influence on the Christian homeschool movement and the educational materials they provide to teaching parents. Christian Reconstructionism (sometimes referred to as Dominionism or Theonomy) are not Christian. They are heresies against the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and their ideas and influences should be rejected by all Christians. If you see anyone in the universal church using the term “Christian nation” or stating that they want to “take dominion over something” you are quite likely listening to a person who is either a committed Christian Reconstructionist or someone who has fallen into the ideological snare of this heresy unawares.

    I cannot go into the details about Christian Reconstructionism here and the reasons why it is a heresy. It would take too long. You can look it up and read about it on the Internet. It is truly frightening. A number of extremely conservative Christian fundamentalist pastors and theologians have written long and hard essays on the dangers of Christian Reconstructionism and their “Christian nation” idea—and why it is heresy. I can find you some articles on the subject if you would like. Just let me know, and have a good day.

  9. Ben
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Gordon, have you watched those videos? David Barton is a liar. No question about it.

  10. Posted June 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    To call David Barton a liar assumes that he knows that what he talks about is false and does it anyway. David Barton’s statements that I have seen or read clearly states that his collection of American documents only extends to the period that ends with Appomattox.

    That is consistent with the arguments of his adherents and apologists that omit consideration or reference to the “Reconstruction Amendments” to the Constitution. These Amendments (13,14 & 15) clearly established that the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution apply equally to the States. Tea Party propaganda in accordance with that assessment deny that the Equal Protection of the Law applies to states and state law.

    It is also clear that the Tea Party Neo-Confederates have suddenly realized that the Compromise of 1877 aka the “Corrupt Compromist” that allegedly awarded the Electoral College victory to Rutherford Hayes as President in exhange for which Federal troops were withdrawn from the South which allowed Southern “Redeemers” to undo Emancipation for another hundred years.

    The battlecry of “take America Back” in essence is at least nostalgia for the Ante-Bellum South before that great unpleasantness of the War of Northern Aggression.

  11. Ben
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Joseph,

    David Barton has repeatedly proven himself to be a liar. It’s not that he has an “opinion,” it’s that he’s a liar. Simple as that. Want evidence? Start with Chris Rodda’s first video:

    Watch the rest of them. He’s a liar. He’s suckering you. Some things ARE a matter of fact, not opinion. For instance, a person could certainly offer his or her opinion as to whether we should have gone to war in Iraq. But it is a FACT that no weapons of mass destruction were found. See the difference?

    And it’s not just Chris Rodda who says that David Barton is a liar. Many, many people acknowledge that he is a liar.

    Open your eyes. Quit letting him sucker you.

    Also, it is not an ad hominem to call someone a liar when the evidence plainly shows that he IS a liar. Apparently you don’t understand what an ad hominem is.

  12. Joseph Allen
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Why is TFN so terribly hostile toward David Barton … ??? David is a very GENTLE MAN who has done research on the writings of our Founders and has SINCERELY come to some conclusions that he believes are correct. Maybe he is wrong concerning some of his conclusions; why does this make him a NAZI DEVIL … ??? Why is TFN trying to destroy David’s reputation as a historian … ??? In many ways, TFN has degenerated into an … AD HOMINEM attack machine …. !!!!!!

    I support TFN as a loud … AD REM attack machine … !!!!!!

    PS: History is NOT like Chemistry or Physics where you can empirically test an Hypothesis, and declare the Hypothesis to be proven/accepted. History, unfortunately, is NOT a Science; History is the … OPINION … of the Historian based on the research of that Historian. As the skeptics say: “History is written by the winners, not the losers, of the wars … .”

  13. Charles
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Going to Texas:

    Because the truth is too painful to engage. For example, if the President is an n-word and you don’t like n-words because your momma taught you that n-words are bad, then it is absolutely necessary that the President be the sole progenitor of TARP so there will be an acceptable excuse to get rid of the n-word. No one wants to engage the possibility that dear departed momma was wrong and that the nation is not really in grave mortal danger because one of “them” is in the White House.

    No person that dislikes n-words wants to publicly admit that they do not like n-words. After all, you can express what you really feel and lose your job—or maybe no one at the party will talk to you after they find out how you feel about “them.” For those who live it out in civil society, it is a lonely and scary existence. After all, you have rare, special, and very important knowledge about the true nature of n-words and the extraordinary danger they pose to the United States, white women like Cynthia Dunbar, butterflies, and electric toasters. However, you know that any overt public expression of it will bring the whole house down around your ears. Therefore, it is necessary to hold the special knowledge within like a bullet ricocheting on the interior walls of a battle tank, bide one’s time, and take whatever deceptive crumbs become available to fight the advance of the n-words. After all, if people were not so blind to the real truth that only you know, they would actually thank you for your service to the nation.

    I think the song goes something like that.

  14. Posted June 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    According to some Muslims who know a whole lot more about Islam than I assert that Jesus is mentioned in the Koran than is Mohammed. Likewise I am told that Jesus is the sixth prophet followed by Mohammed as the Sevent and last prophet.

    Christ’s divinity was not accepted by all Christians even after the councils at Nicea about 325 AD. That part of the Byzantine Empire that was conquered by Islam was facilitated by the prevalence of Chrtistians who did not believe in the Trinity. That area included the Levant, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt and North Africa.

    Islam is best viewed as a upgrade to Chritianity as the Mormon faith. The Muslims did not promote Mohammed to Saint status, just the last of the line of prophets reaching back to Abraham. I read of Christian chaplains in the services having extended and learned discussions of the common historical heritage.

  15. Posted June 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    It is amazing how many conservatives think that the TARP passed when Obama was president.

    Why do so many people insist on believing things that are not true?

  16. Charles
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Whoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ““encourages trade and investment, but bans interest and prohibits investments in certain areas such as gambling, alcohol, pornography, abortion, human cloning, conventional banks or insurers, and most forms of entertainment.”

    Yep!!! The Middle East will finally discover Jesus when Sharia Law is abolished so a flood of western conservative values can wash across the great deserts, bringing in lots of new businesses based on ” gambling, alcohol, pornography, abortion, human cloning, conventional banks or insurers, and most forms of entertainment.”

    Then all the Muslims will finally be right with the Lord!!!!!!

  17. Posted June 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    The Anti-Sharia publish articles and emails that quote the Koran, paragraph by paragraph, to prove Islams’ eveil evil intentions, and Islamic die hard committement to evil designs given carefully couched anecdotal reference to current events.

    The reverse strategy by the proponents of Islamic domination is nowhre to be seen. Instead Muslims counter by citing parts of Islamic doctrine that refute the claims of the Anti-Sharis crowd. To counter Anti-Shariah propaganda that cites the Koran, one should cite appropriate passages of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Since Judaism, Chritianity and Islam aer all Abrahamic, there is the possibility that all sides are quoting from the same religious authority/

    Those who seek the middle ground should double check the Bible for appropriate references.

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