|Fiction over fact|
|How it didn't happen|
WallBuilders, founded by evangelist and pseudo-historian David Barton, is a Texas-based dominionist Christian author dedicated to presenting the forgotten "history" they discovered of an alternate universe United States in which only Christians get to enjoy the protections of the "Bill of Temporary Privileges", especially freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment.
WallBuilders would like nothing more than to see the America of our reality bend to what they imagine their weirdo, BioShock Infinite version of America must look like. In action, it's just an in-house publishing vehicle for the writings of Barton.
Barton is a Texas Republican, and holds a dubious B.A. from the world-renowned institute of religious racketeering, fearmongering, tithe-raising, and guilt-tripping, the Oral Roberts "University", and an also-dubious Ph.D. from the unaccredited Pensacola Christian College. Barton contradicted himself over whether he has a Ph.D. (which is actually about right, since he kinda holds a Ph.D. but not a real one). He has also boasted about holding a non-existent Doctorate in Education. He has no credentials in history or law.
Fundamentalism and pseudohistory
Barton's main thesis appears to be that the United States was founded as a Christian nation; he regards the Founding Fathers as fundamentalist Christians, and not as the historical assortment of Deists, liberal Protestants, Quakers, freethinkers, etc. they were in reality. Barton's writings extensively quote mine from the Founders to make his point, and he has gone so far as to even fabricate some quotes completely (this resulted in him pulling and then re-issuing his book The Myth of Separation under a different title, after his forgery of at least one James Madison quote was outed).
Barton's works, such as America's Godly Heritage, are widely sold by a variety of religious-right groups.[Which?] America's Godly Heritage is available in audio and video formats as well as as a small book, and features an illustration of George Washington on the front cover kneeling in prayer in a pose suggesting he is engaged in
oral sex spiritual warfare. Other books include The Bulletproof George Washington ("[a] riveting account of God's providence and protection"), Original Intent (originally titled The Myth of Separation, asserting that the Founders did not intend to enshrine the principle of separation of church and state), a biography of Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush, reprintings of early Puritan educational texts for the homeschooling market such as the New England Primer, and dozens of others.
Although mainstream scholars consider him a "pseudohistorian", Barton has unsurprisingly become very popular with the religious right, and his publications are frequently used by Christian private schools and homeschoolers (from which Barton has made quite a bit of cash, might we add). His name keeps popping up more and more frequently in the background of current religious right activities — most recently, he was "discovered" by Glenn Beck as a frequent guest "expert".
Barton also played a role in influencing the Texas Board of Education's decision to approve public-school textbooks which give a more favorable image of Christian conservatism.
White supremacist connections
In 1991, David Barton gave a speech presentation at white supremacist Rev. Peter J. Peters' "Rocky Mountain Bible Retreat", where he spoke alongside Canadian Holocaust denier Malcom Ross and conspiracy theorist and POW-MIA huckster James "Bo" Gritz. He also spoke at Kingdom Covenant College in Oregon in 1992, another Christian Identity group with ties to Peters. In 1993, Barton's spokeperson Kit Marshall released a statement claiming that Barton "had no idea that they were part of the Nazi movement". Right, Dave...
Barton's book The Founder's Bible quotes 19th century Governor of South Carolina James Hammond approvingly on the subject on his belief that America is a Christian nation. Unfortunately, Barton tends to gloss over the fact that Hammond also advocated slavery as a completely acceptable Christian institution as well. Oops.
Chris Rodda, author of Liars for Jesus, specializes in refuting Barton's bunk.
In response to some of Rodda's criticisms, Barton's radio co-host Rick Green also issued a direct challenge to Rodda to back up the "image" of Barton created by his "critics (sic) innuendo" and included the usual snarl words concerning "elitist professors" and "leftwing bloggers" as well as some cheerful Godwin-variety fun thrown in free of charge. Rodda responded and took up Green's challenge; Green's "response" mostly consisted of whining.
Barton's (non-)answers to other critics
The "critics of Barton hate religion" canard is a ploy that Barton commonly makes use of. He and radio co-host Rick Green conveniently ignored the possibility that criticism of Barton's work is accurate and chalked up attacks on him to a continuing effort to "disenfranchise Christians", despite the fact that some of Barton's most vocal critics (such as Warren Throckmorton) are practicing Christians. Barton (with the "assistance" of theocratic wackjob Bryan Fischer) even went so far as to attack Throckmorton's religious beliefs, which indicates that Barton will always find a reason to dismiss criticism of his work, regardless of the motivations of the author or the accuracy of the critique.
Barton also brought up the strawman of Deconstruction as being the motivation behind his critics' opposition to American exceptionalism despite the fact that Barton's use of the word "deconstruction" seems more than a trifle idiosyncratic. That, or those same "elitist academics" just hate Jefferson and the other founding fathers.
Barton has also gotten more petulant in tone as criticisms by Throckmorton and William Coulter of Barton's The Jefferson Lies have apparently begun to sink in. Barton actually seems to think that there's something less legitimate about criticisms of his work that can be downloaded electronically (via Amazon, in this case) despite the obvious fallacy that a valid criticism of a work is made no less valid by the format it's published in. Barton has also asserted that "jealousy or liberalism" play major parts in adverse criticism of his work and that he's not particularly concerned about criticism of his work by historians. Add to this the aforementioned kvetching about "elitist academics" and Barton's claims that he's a "historical expert" (despite his own previous statements that he's not a historian), and what you have is a really profound example of Dunning-Kruger at work.
Barton's suspect approach to valid criticism of his work has apparently backfired in a truly epic fashion; not only did he get a massive dose of adverse publicity on NPR's All Things Considered, but Thomas Nelson — the publisher of Barton's The Jefferson Lies — announced that they were pulling his book due to "historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported". Word has it that Barton's little collection of historical lies has now been picked up by the publishing company owned by an even more publically prominent loon, namely Glenn Beck. A second edition was published in 2016 by WND to try to counter Throckmorton's criticisms, and in 2023, Throckmorton responded with his own revised edition.
Speaking of which...
Send zem to ze CAMPS!
The Barton/Beck "brain trust" (for lack of a better term) presumes that "God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids.".
The ironically-named "brain trust" decided that the only way to stop the pollution, contamination, corruption, and pre-version of Young America's fluidic, ideological, theological, and sexual purity from Liberal education (translation: whatever the "brain trust" says it is) was to establish
indoctrination education camps. There's no truth to the rumor that all of the instructors will talk like Sergeant Schulz from Hogan's Heroes, though.
Other fun stuff
In addition, Barton is now getting into bed (pun intended) with other creeps including the likes of Rick Santorum and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on the supposed connection between advocating gay marriage and bestiality. As to how he comes off when he gets on a subject like this, let's just say that his passing resemblance to 30 Rock character Kenneth Parcell doesn't help matters much.
Barton, as stated elsewhere, bangs the drum loudly for Christian economics at times; a good example is the aforementioned appearance on Kenneth Copeland's Believers Voice of Victory where he makes reference to the belief that allowing gay marriage will adversely affect economic prosperity. He also seems to think that God will come roaring out of the sky on his Motorcycle of Doom poetic license because we're not following the usual Prosperity Gospel-related crap, and because we're "using our money to reward those who aren't productive or bail out those who have run their business into the ground". This implies that Barton either doesn't know or doesn't care about the Great Recession; It also implies that he's just as clueless about economics as he is about everything else.
He also announced in January 2013 that "tolerance is a sin and hate is a virtue", especially when calling for appropriate levels of being "intolerant of liberalism" despite the fact that tolerance of opposing, non-violent political views is a hallmark of democracy. Needless to say, he wrapped this rather unveiled appeal to authoritarianism in the usual fundamentalist Christian gobbledygook you'd expect from Barton. Oddly, he doesn't seem to think hatred is such a good idea when it's leveled at his opinions.
On a different subject, Barton believes that the white man came to America to try to engage in warfare with the native tribes for civilizing them as opposed to the established narrative of white people committing genocide to steal resources. To be fair, attempts at "civilizing" the Native Americans have been done in history through converting to Christianity and assimilation, not similar to the "kill-to-civilize" narrative Barton is trying to push, though. He's also under the impression that the European invaders were also trying to "end torture" on the part of their enemies, because we never do that kind of stuff at all.
He also believes that the United States was better off when women were second-class citizens without the right to vote. According to him, allowing women to vote "hurts the entire culture and society", probably because he wants to order them around and not ever get challenged on it.
He believes that Congress should have passed a bill "calling on people to be more religious" instead of the Affordable Care Act because he apparently thinks that "using God's word and applying God's word" will automatically make you more healthy and will even cure you of being uninsured.
Barton is also an AGW denier, claiming that while global warming occurs it's completely free of any man-made causes. He references historical average temperature fluctuations in order to prove this, which it doesn't. In a near-perfect example of crank magnetism at work, he also used this occasion to assert (as usual, minus any sort of documents that would prove his point) that adoption of the Common Core educational standards would lead to students being implanted with biometric tracking devices.
Barton (along with fellow strange person Kenneth Copeland) has also convinced himself that members of the military are incapable of suffering from PTSD because they're "ministers of God" and therefore "guiltless before the Lord", and that anyone taking issue with that singularly bizarre assertion is intentionally taking things out of context only because of their raging hostility to religion and not because it seems like complete bullshit.
- Barton's Texas influence
- A critique of Barton's America's Godly Heritage
- Liars for Jesus - Chris Rodda's website thoroughly debunking Barton
- Right Wing Watch profile of David Barton
- The Quixotic Task of Debunking David Barton, Paul Harvey, Religion Dispatches
- Warren Throckmorton's page on David Barton's claims concerning John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
- Questions arise in Alabama after Public TV Employees were Fired after Rebuffing David Barton Programming, Right Wing Watch, June 14th, 2012
- American History Rewritten: Posts debunking the historical inaccuracies of Barton's work.
- Fact Checking Barton: A Deconstruction
- Christian Right's attack on rights The Washington Post Patel, Eboo. 17 Feb. 2010.
- Christian Pseudo-Historian David Barton Can’t Decide Whether or Not He Has a Ph.D.
- David Barton Told Glenn Beck He Has a Doctorate in Education. He Doesn’t.
- David Barton: Master of Myth and Misinformation
- Rodda To Get Book on Barton Website? Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Another Conservative Denounces David Barton's 'Prevarications' while Rick Green Compares Criticism of Barton to the Holocaust, Right Wing Watch
- Barton Radio Co-Host Issues Challenge; I’ve Accepted, FreeThoughtBlogs.com, August 11th, 2012
- Barton Co-Host Fails His Own Challenge, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- The David Barton-Rick Green Pity Party Drags On, Right Wing Watch
- Barton and Fischer Defend 'The Jefferson Lies' by Attacking Warren Throckmorton, Right Wing Watch
- The Things We Didn't Say
- In Throckmorton and Coulter's Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President
- The Most Influential Evangelist You've Never Heard Of, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, All Things Considered
- The Most Influential Evangelist You've Never Heard Of, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, All Things Considered
- NPR Looks Into David Barton's Bunk History, Refusal to Respond to Criticism, Right Wing Watch
- David Barton's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Right Wing Watch
- Beck to Republish Barton Book, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Getting Jefferson Right: Fact-Checking Claims About Thomas Jefferson by Warren Throckmorton & Michael Coulter (2023) Salem Grove Press. ISBN 0974670626.
- Barton and Beck to Run Two-Week Indoctrination Camps for College Students, Right Wing Watch
- For an example, see this
- Barton: 'Messing Around With Marriage will Affect Economic Prosperity in the Nation', Right Wing Watch
- Barton: God Will Come Out of Heaven to Oppose Our Unbiblical Economic System, Right Wing Watch
- http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/barton-hate-virtue-and-were-going-be-intolerant-liberalism Barton: 'Hate is a Virtue' and 'We're Going to be Intolerant of Liberalism',] Right Wing Watch
- Barton: Natives Had to Be Killed to Civilize Them, Dispatches From the Culture Wars
- Conservative ‘Christian’ Calls For Banning Women From Voting, Addicting Info
- Christian ‘historian’: Allowing women to vote ‘hurts the entire culture and society’, The Raw Story
- Barton: Instead of Passing Obamacare, Congress Should Have Called on People 'to be More Religious', Right Wing Watch
- Barton: 'Bioshock Infinite' Is Teaching Kids to Hate Conservatives and Christians, Right Wing Watch
- Barton Lies About Global Warming Too, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Barton: We Haven't Had Global Warming In Sixteen Years, Right Wing Watch
- Barton Defends His Dangerous PTSD Nonsense, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- David Barton, A Master Of Taking Things Out Of Context, Complains Of Being Taken Out Of Context, Right Wing Watch
- “Deplorable”: SREC member demands “true Christian conservative” Speaker, Texas Observer
- Barton: Harry Reid Supports Citizens United Amendment Because He Is An 'Atheist Mormon', Right Wing Watch
- Barton probably meant the Freedom From Religion Foundation, of course