Responding to David Barton Part I
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Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:58:59 AM EST
Robert Jeffress, pastor of historic First Baptist Church in Dallas, delivered a recent sermon on the state of the country.  He entitled the message, "America is a Christian Nation".  In his sermon he frequently quoted fellow Texan David Barton.  Barton, who advocates that separation of church and state is a myth, is having a huge influence in the state rubbing shoulders with Governor Perry and frequenting religious right gatherings.
It has been my own observation that anti-separation of church and state groups and leaders tend to have a comon root in David Barton.  When I have browsed through theocratic booths at religious right gatherings, I noted that people like Peter Marshall Jr. and various theocratic groups base their theories about America's origins on Barton's research.  Americans United for Separation of Church and State has called Barton the most prominent instructor of the revision of history regarding this matter.1
     I watched in person as Barton delivered his slick presentation on the orgins of the republic. He clicks on synchronized overhead projections timed to correlate with his verbal assualt on separation.  David claimed at the meeting that just about all the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christians with many of them being ministers.  He said half the original Congress were pastors. He commented that he has looked and not found separation in The Constitution. He them revealed he has been solicited to help rewrite Texas school books regarding American history.2
     Barton is a prime mover among the religious right with his attacks on separation. James Kennedy, the nationally known TV preacher, used Barton's quotes in his advancement of the idea of shelving the bad idea of separation.  David's videos are a regular in church viewings across the South.  He speaks at large churches as an invited expert and holds many regional rallies in larger cities.3
     Barton's influence is growing and his part on the Republican Platform Committee has brought him further attention. One Texas school board race in Dallas credits Barton's writings for the controversial board member's positions.4
     David wants to have a partisan influence in his home state sending out letters encouraging followers to support judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.5
     Barton's fame has grown with the recent court rulings on school prayer.  Barton has claimed these rulings are unconstitutional and threaten individual freedoms.  In his home state, where football games are routinely opened by a public prayer, the writer has gained a ground swell of followers.
     The problem with Barton's "research" is that noted historians claim it is bad history, bad Constitutional law and bad legal advice.  Barton's training consists of being trained to be a math teacher at Oral Roberts University.  Professor Mark Whitten, who is also a Baptsit minister, claims that Barton's prayer-meeting story about the founding fathers and the Constitution is a myth.6  Mark has written a book about such matters.
     As a matter of observation, accepting Barton's conclusions about church and state refutes just about every secular and religious universities' conclusions about American history. It is as if everyone else got it wrong, but Barton alone discovered the real truth of
American's Christian heritage.  Barton personally claims the vast majority of founding citizens were active church members, whenever my own inquiries have brought up figures of barely %30.  Some have surmised that less than %5 of the citizens had much interest in church attendance during this period.
     Americans United has publishsed a sheet refuting much of the writer's conclusions.  Such as; The idea that the wall was intended by Jefferson to be one directional.  Actually, Jefferson wanted the wall to apply to both parties.  While David says most of the founding fathers were evangelical, most were members of the Church of England.  Barton claims the First Amendment was only meant to prohibit the establishment of a national church. Actually, the founders meant much more than that ccording to AU.  Barton falsely charges that school religous practices were only challenged after court rulings in the early sixities.  This charge is not accurate.  Before this time schools had outlawed forced religious practices and courts had upheld separation.  The mail out also lists several quotes from Barton's works, that Barton himself had to refute as inaccuate.7
     The Baptist Joint Committee, a separation advocate in Washington D. C. , has published a fact sheet refuting the ORU graduate's conclusions.  The BJC charges that Barton promotes a form of dualism that denies government ability to remain neutral in matters of relgion.8
     Nicholas Miller, an attorney in the nation's capitol, has written a report attacking the Texan's conclusions.  Among his observations are the following; Barton denies that separation is  in the Constitution.  Separation is a myth, since it is implied, says Barton.  Miller refutes this.  Another myth is the idea that Jefferson used a hasty metaphor in describing the wall of separation.  The next myth is that the wall was one sided.  The myth of the national church and the uniforminty of the founders is attacked.  Miller lists the myth Barton advances about an uchanging Constitition. The final myth described is the myth that Christianity is dependent on civil powers.9
     In Barton's best seller, THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, there are some alarming statements presented to the reader.  David believes that Christians were the ones who were intended to hold public office.  pg. 26  Thus , Jews and other sects were not allowed to serve as elected officials.  Contrary to traditional viewpoints, like Dr. Estep's in REVOLUTION WITHIN THE REVOLUTION, Christianity was the official religion and other faiths were not given the freedom to worship in the nation. pg. 39  Separation applied mostly to denominational differences.  pg. 43  A summary of the work is found in the quote on page 46, "The doctrine of separation of church and state is absurd."  The author claims that general Christianity is the established religon of the country.  pg. 64  The most important political institution in the nation after 50 years was Christianity.  pg. 135  Barton advances a theocracy position as that of the founding fathers. He says that early court rulings made Christianity the official faith of the nation.  pg. 47  His conclusion on how to restore America to its original intent is to do it politically. He wants the church to become active in politics at the local level.  pg. 266 Barton became vice chair of the GOP in Texas.  His friend, Ralph Reed, reached similar heights of power in Gerogia.  

Several years ago I attended a meeting in the California Capitol building the purpose of which was to teach evangelical Christians how to lobby the legislature.

During the course of the all day meeting 10 Republican legislators and then CA Attorney General Dan Lungren (now Congressman) addressed the group. Without exception each used a recognizable quote from David Barton.

Also to be noted is that for at least the last three congresses, for incoming conservative members of those congresses, the Heritage Foundation has conducted orientation classes featuring David Barton.

by JerrySloan on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:52:52 PM EST

Jerry, thanks for the comments.  It is surprising how many ministers and leaders in denominations do not know who Barton is yet these powerful legilsators do.  As I mentioned here Barton and Huckabee are appearing to be as close as brothers and their daughters seem to run around with one another.

by wilkyjr on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:07:04 PM EST

Robert Jeffress and David Barton are GUILTY of spreading outright LIES and would do well to heed Abraham Lincoln's words about those in and out of the church, who are a danger to the public interest,and must be CHECKED. Our Founding Fathers clearly estalished a Secular nation as reflected in my article: " Why I Fight" to be published by Barton and Jeffress and those like them are causing dissension by their repeated lies, sounding more like Hitler's propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels who believed in telling lies Loudly & Often enough, until believed by those that have been duped. A Pox on all of them. Bonatti.

by Bonatti on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:40:04 PM EST

He knows that most of the people in his audience are mostly ignorant of their own country's history and remain so. Time and again I hear to this day about our 'Founders' supported a catholic view of religion, at least from a Christian perspective, and that the wall is really a one way mirror for their mythos alone. Jews are only tolerated so that they can be converted as is everyone else who doesn't accept their occult view of the universe. If they ever get to institute their theonomy we will be in danger. They must be stopped and put in their place legally and morally. We don't want to go into a new Dark Ages. Barton is leading the way to how such a culture would be thinking. From that to how they will act in a Black and White way in a universe of colors, tones and tints. It must not happen!

by Nightgaunt on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 03:20:08 PM EST

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