David Barton Lies About Who was Burning Whom at the Stake

The Burning BY CHRISTIANS of two "sodomites" at the stake outside Zürich, 1482

David Barton continues to spew absurdities, and Right Wing Watch caught his latest, this being a reference to burning Christians at the stake, though there is no actual record of anyone other than Christians burning Christians at the stake. The persecuted Christian meme is never crazier than when wielded by the King of Fake History. According to Barton, speaking on WallBuilders Live about how “religious liberty is under attack in a way that is reminiscent of England in the 16th and 17th centuries, ”

This is a really important thing, to be able to have the presence of religion there but now we’re seeing a hostility that we’ve not [seen before.] This is like England back in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds, quite frankly. Now, we’re not burning people at the stake yet, but we are imprisoning people for their faith and to say that in America, that’s unbelievable.

Barton fails to explain in what way America is similar to England in the 1500s to 1600s but that is the least of his problems:  the only people in England persecuting Christians since the tenth century have been other Christians.

The weight of atrocity in the Western world in the 1500 to 1600s belongs to Christendom, from slavery of blacks and Native Americans to wholesale destruction of Native American cultures and civilizations, to the burnings of women – women – at the stake for no other reason than they were women (though most accused witches were actually hanged).

Let’s look at the Christian history of burning people to death (from Wikipedia unless otherwise noted) – the list is necessarily abbreviated because history shows Christians LOVED to burn people, David Barton:

The Inquisition was so crazed that burning living people wasn’t enough; they would dig up the bodies of dead heretics and burn them. Inquisitor Bernard Guy, mentioned above, had sixty-nine bodies dug up and burned between 1306 and 1323.

David Barton cannot show us one Christian burned at the stake by secular powers because secular powers did not exist until the United States Constitution established one. In fact, what Barton is proving (unwittingly of course) is the danger of state-sponsored religion, the very same dangers that motivated the Founding Fathers to established our government as a secular government wherein one religion does not have the sanction of the state to suppress and torture and kill those of other religions.

For David Barton to pretend it was government that burned all those people is disingenuous at best; it was CHRISTIAN GOVERNMENTS and a Christian Inquisition that burned all those people and the vast majority of those people will guilty of nothing more than refusing to believe what the Christian authorities insisted they believe.

State-sponsored Christianity is, of course, the goal of Barton and other religious fundamentalists. If burnings are in our future, rest assured Inquisitor David Barton will be among the cheerleaders as part of a privileged caste of fundamentalist Christians.

43 Replies to “David Barton Lies About Who was Burning Whom at the Stake”

  1. Well, since some so-called christians today believe that god creates billions of souls for the express purpose of burning them in them in hell, getting a head start on it here on earth probably doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all, at all.

    I grew up in a family that very much believed in hell fire and damnation (some of them still do, eh?) but the idea that this “loving, forgiving” god of theirs would create souls just for the purpose of torturing them forever goes a long way to explaining the hatefulness they express in their own lives. My family didn’t believe this so it was quite a shock to come across these folks.

  2. Believe it or not, the reasoning of the Inquisition was that whatever slow, torturous deaths they could inflict on their victims amounted to a trifle, since it was just giving the condemned practice for Hell. Thus, swift burning wasn’t enough: many were condemned to the bruloir, a slow-oven that took hours to kill.

  3. Yes! I agree with everything except, “The history of atrocities in the 1500 and 1600’s belongs entirely to Christendom”. There is a looong list of atrocities from humans all over the globe during this time period.

  4. However, it can be argued that The atrocities of European Christendom had a much farther reaching, and thus more severe impact than what other cultures were inflicting on each other.

  5. People like David Barton will fall back on the Constitution to support their arguments. It completely escapes them that the Constitution’s authors wanted to prevent the kind of wholesale religious intolerance that led to shameful events like the Inquisition and was instrumental in inducing people to leave European countries to settle here.

  6. Sorry – meant in the Western World, Johnee – I did some final editing before posting and that bit got clipped. I will fix the sentence. Thank you for catching that.

  7. Take a look at India and the Emperor Arangzeb’s rein of terror; he called for over 10 Jihad on northern India that lasted almost 100 years starting with the 5th Sikh Guru, Arjun Dev…The Sikh history is full of martyred children who were “bricked alive” for not converting (or chopped up and made into garlands then hung around their parents’ necks).

    Arangzeb was said to be “inbred” and schizophrenic as the reason for his constant belief that “others” (non-believers) were untrustworthy and plotting against him, hence his violent mood swings and “urge” to conquer for his religious belief system…so tell me again, what’s Barton’s excuse? Is it, the best offense is defense if you imagine “the other” is plotting against you, right?

  8. I guess I would have to ask, who was being imprisoned for their faith? It is clear however that David Barton wants to return to those days were he could burn some one.

    I have to think that if there were so many disgruntled people in heaven that they had to be cast out, that heaven is far from perfect Mr. Jones

  9. It’s been a long time since I’ve read of martyrdom and the methods used but I don’t remember ever reading about these ovens, eh? Grills and spits and stuff but not the bruloir. Isn’t it amazing how innovative the human mind is when it comes to tormenting those they don’t approve of?

  10. Also, the indisputable fact that several of the most famous and influential founders were mot Christians. So how in the world could they have been Christian nationalists? I can scream 2 plus 2 equals 50 all day long and it doesn’t change the fact that it still equals 4.

    David Barton can lie his ass off and say that the founders intended for this to be a “Christian nation” as often as he likes…It doesn’t change the fact that Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ or any of the supernatural trappings of the Bible.

    I have put out the challenge to many of these right wing fundies to read what the founders actually said, and not simply pay attention to social/Christian conservative websites and right wing talk radio, with their selective or fabricated quotes. It always falls on deaf ears.

  11. Since I had little knowledge of Barton till you mentioned him a few articles back, I did some research on him. Seems as though he has a PHD in twisting facts to suit his narrow perspective on the interpretations of our laws and Constitution.
    He is very good at “selective editing” snippets of laws and articles to fit his ideals of religion and how this current administration is destroying the “freedom of religion”.
    To give you an idea of how this guy rapes our founding fathers and our Constitution, I give you this small example: Barton wrote a book called “The Myth of Separation”. I don’t have to explain what Separation we are talking about here, you all know that. But, Barton takes a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists thanking them for their congratulation on his winning the presidency. The letter contains the statement “building a wall of separation of Church and State. Now, according to Barton, Jefferson went on to add “that the wall was to be one directional… protecting the church from the state. (http://www.publiceye.org/ifas/fw/9606/barton.html). That was not the intent of Jefferson letter AT ALL!! I’ll just let you read the letter here (http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html) and this wonderful history behind the letter here (http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danbury.html). Both pieces of information are with the Library of Congress in case the links don’t work.
    Just read the real history and then understand how this fool just “edits” his BS to fit his very restrictive and dangerous agenda.
    What I find so crazy about all this is that this has actually been going on (trying to have an official “state” religion) since our republic was started, and Jefferson was fighting a smear campaign against him just as Obama is fighting a similar smear campaign.
    The difference? Better communications these days to be able to get the lies out faster and louder.
    Scary times then, scarier times now. Vote people, vote!!!

  12. To expand on the death of Michael Servetus – he was invited by Calvin to come debate with him regarding his theology. Calvin guaranteed that he would not be punished or imprisoned for his differing theology.

    Then he was betrayed and ended up burned at the stake, and Calvin had a major hand in the whole thing (I kind of doubt that Calvin wanted him beheaded, but it could be – Calvin was cruel enough to relish Servetus being tortured by being burned).

    “Christians” think that Calvin and Luther were good people. They weren’t. One of Calvin’s preachers (it may have been Calvin himself – my memory is a bit sketchy on the details) actually denounced the “Lord’s Prayer” as an instrument that took people to hell. Yep, denounced words and a prayer attributed to Jesus Himself. Calvinism is the precursor to modern dominionism in all of its flavors and that’s where we get the heresy that God rewards good people with wealth and punishes sinners with poverty and suffering (in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings and the prophets and the message of the book of Job).

    The Anabaptists have their stories of that period too… the reason why they were persecuted was because they held it was sin to force others to convert (the ana-baptist, or second baptism charge was more or less an excuse for persecuting them). According to a book on the history of that period I read some time ago, the stance against forced conversion REALLY pissed off Luther.

    When I was in those churches, I heard all sorts of slanders against the people like Servetus, and now am certain the things I was taught about earlier people like Arian were also slander.

    All of that evil, and done in the name of maintaining the power structure with the aggressors at the top (and using God as an excuse). That is in a way what we’re battling now, except they WANT to be at the top and everyone subservient and submissive to them.

  13. Wait a second. I am not sure Barton can classify as a Christian anyway. He doesn’t seem to understand any of Christ’s message. No.. he seems like a heathen with a poor sense of history.

  14. A better term would be anti-Christian (as in antimatter to matter).

    I find most people have no problem, and even appreciate what Jesus taught (when they actually read and try to understand the message). Real Christians take those teachings to heart.

    Since Barton (and the like) don’t pay any attention to Jesus’ message (except snippets that reinforce their prejudices and misconceptions), the term anti-Christian would be far more accurate than heathen – whom I’ve found to be far more moral and ethical (as a general rule) than the anti-Christians.

  15. What is frightening is that given the opportunity, these maniacs will revisit the Inquisition to cleanse America just as Barton is attempting to cleanse the historical record of atrocities at the hands of whatever kind of Christian one calls them.

  16. Yesterday (and I was admittedly feverish) I dreamt of my own execution for the second time. Let me emphasize that I don’t go around with martyrdom fantasies.

    I was in what seemed an open plaza, and it was overcast but warm. Almost above me, suspended from the arm of a lamp post, was a hanged man, dressed in clothes that looked faintly cowboyish. I myself was kneeling on the pavement, my arms bound behind me, and I felt the barrel of a gun against the back of my head. “At least, it’ll be fast,” I thought. I was aware of a small crowd of captives ahead of me, perhaps destined for execution also. Then I awakened.

    A dream of fever, maybe. But if these people take control into their hands, I tremble for quite ordinary people whose sole offense is in not agreeing with them, or who even simply belong to groups deemed inherently unsound. It’s a thing we must not allow to happen.

  17. Alas, I couldn’t get it to open, but I gather it was about afterlife with dinner music and no dinner.

    I’d settle for a long, hot summer with occasional ice cream (aka Florida).

  18. Why can’t we just use the word “C” word? Cult?!!

    The title, The Cult of Fundamentalist Christianity is a fitting description for who and what they are, don’t cha’ think? Cultist of all stripes have always used/stolen/borrowed “teachings” and twisted them to frame a world view that is usually the following: extreme, or radical, claims to be “quoting sources” that they are right, but, blatantly cherry-pick to fit their view, plus, fill their volumes with conspiracy theories that they are the chosen ones and every body is out to get them, AND, they only answer to “their” god’s law or Ayn Rand’s rules or Machiavelli’s principles.

    It’s all about the behavior, not the belief…

  19. in my definition, all religions are a cult. I used to argue this at work with one of the guys who profess to be the ultimate Christian. He said Christianity was not a cult because they had the son of God. So I would mention what about the Hindus they had all kinds of gods including the sons of gods and the reincarnations of gods. they got more gods than you can shake a stick at along with some incredibly beautiful artwork.

    No they are all cults and as far as I’m concerned none of them are true to anything.

  20. Witches are are only hanged at the time they are being hung. Hung his past tense for hanged. hyung is also what you call A male friend who is older than you even if it’s by minutes in Korean

    just so you know

  21. Yesterday, I hung a picture. Longer ago, somebody hanged a heretic.

    Hanged is the past tense when a life is taken thereby. Hung is the past for all else. There is some tendency to blur the distinction informally, but in the sense of an execution under color of law, the past and past participle is always “hanged”.

  22. I seem to remember that the definition of a cult was the worship of another human as a god. Christianity fits that definition is Jesus actually lived.

    If he was a myth, it’s not a cult.

  23. Robyn, another term (which explains everything quite well) for cult is “Coercive (Religious) movement”. Not all cults are religious in nature, but the thing they share in common is coercion. A proper designation for dominionism would be a “Bible-based coercive movement”.

    Not all Christianity is coercive, but the types that have caused so much misery are – the reason why they’re the topic of this discussion is because of their coercive activities.

    There are other characteristics besides coercion that need to be considered, of course. But coercion is the first and main one.

  24. This is the thing that is never mentioned by those that insist that Christians founded America as a haven for Christianity – the people that the Pilgrims were fleeing from were other Christians. Not only that, but the minute that they established their own rule, they immediately began persecuting those not of their faith.

    Something that is mentioned in the quote that I am curious about, though, “but we are imprisoning people for their faith.” Maybe I have missed something, but other than the bombers of abortion clinics and murderers of abortion doctors, and maybe Jeffers, the leader of the Mormon sect who was found guilty of raping children, who has been arrested for practicing their faith?

  25. I’ve been wondering the same thing. Maybe it was the son of one of the megachurch pastors down here, who was thrown in prison for fraud (ripped off a LOT of people, especially poor people and the elderly). As soon as he was convicted, they started working to get him freed. (And having met the father, I can see where his basic crookedness and dishonesty came from). The last I heard, they were claiming that he was a “Good Christian” and being persecuted by being in prison.

    I also know of a lot of pastors, youth ministers, and church elders in prison for pedophilia (raping the kids in their care, or as they say “under their authority”). Maybe he’s talking about them.

    The Pilgrims? If the tribes up there were anything like mine, they were far more Christian than the people who appeared on these shores. Many of us also knew Teyose (our name for Jesus), long before the white man ever appeared – but we didn’t have the Bible. Maybe that’s one of the big differences and why the idea of religious supremacy and proselytizing was so WEIRD to us.

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