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.