David Barton thinks he scares us. Speaking at Ohio Christian University, he said, “I’m really scary,” Barton declared. “I am very scary for people who have a secular worldview.”
Watch courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
“I try to challenge people to prove me wrong,” Barton said, asserting that the Christian professors who criticized him did so only because they are “so secular” before predicting that the entire debate will be over in a few months when his book is released and it “tears them up.”
Barton also asserted that the Christian professors who attacked his book full of Jefferson lies were recruited by “secular guys.” Warren Thockmorton, being one of those Christian professors, demolishes this particular lie on his blog. A man of integrity, whatever his politics, does not need somebody else to point out lies to him. (Read my review of Throckmorton’s book here.)
This is an interesting claim because, in fact, Barton has been proved wrong many times. Right Wing Watch has done it. Warren Throckmorton has done it (which makes Barton stomp his little feet in frustration, you can tell). I have done it here as often as I can stomach the task, including Barton’s little lie about who was burning whom at the stake, about the due process clause coming from the Bible and about the Founding Fathers resolving the Evolution debate even before evolution was being talked about! Comedian Jon Stewart refuted him. And others too numerous to mention have refuted him.
Go ahead. Face palm. Get it over with.
So here’s a fact for you: Barton is refuted each and every time he lies. He is refuted with astonishing regularity. It’s just that he ignores it. Barton pretends it doesn’t happen because he has no answers. He cannot contest the facts laid out against him, which is why he himself avoid facts whenever he can. Like the time he invented a John Quincy Adams quote to support his theocratic agenda (his WallBuilders site is full of these invented quotes). Because, you know, John Quincy Adams was not a theocrat.
What’s a liar gonna do?
Barton’s supporters simply say the criticism itself proves Barton is right, though, of course, by this logic, Warren Throckmorton and Barton’s other critics must be right, which only goes to demonstrate the puerile reasoning skills employed by Barton’s supporters. If you ever wanted to know what his demographic is, you got it right there.
Barton’s lies are too many to list here but he lied spectacularly and publicly to Jon Stewart and his most outrageous lie to date might well be his claim that the First Amendment, which bans the establishment of a state religion, actually establishes Christianity as a state religion!
He is a profuse liar, you have to give him that. This is a man who can out-lie Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin combined, which is no easy task. Perhaps his most well known lie is ironically-named The Jefferson Lies (my review can be found here), his book full of lies about Thomas Jefferson. It is so full of lies his own Christian publisher pulled it when the outcry was no longer coming only from liberals (he says the re-written book is being republished by Simon & Shuster but even that isn’t exactly the truth, because as Right Wing Watch points out, ” the new version of his book is actually being released by his good fried Glenn Beck’s Mercury Ink, which has a partnership with Simon and Schuster.) ”
Remember now, this is the guy that other noted liar and rape enthusiast, Mike Huckabee, who loves him some David Barton, wanted to force us to listen to at gunpoint (presumably so we could learn how to lie). These men, and the women named above, embrace the idea that if reality is messing with your narrative, you must invent a more congenial world.
Because the facts of history are what they are, the way to do this is by telling lies about history (in the vernacular, “just making shit up”), and this has become a very lucrative business on the right, so lucrative, you wonder which is the means and which is the end.
David Barton does not scare us. He does provide hours of what can best be described as a sort of nauseated amusement, sometimes even hilarity, as when he demonstrates that he has no clue what the Bible says.
Sometimes, you have to either laugh or cry. I worry sometimes that my face will freeze into a pained expression, leaving me looking perpetually constipated.
Being a David Barton Watcher is rather like watching toddlers pretend to read. They move their mouths and sounds come out but they’re not the words they’re seeing on the page. They even pretend to comprehend what they’re reading. With toddlers it’s cute. They’re toddlers after all. With someone like Barton, who is an adult, and who does presumably know how to read, it’s sickening, because the facts are there, as accessible to Barton as to the rest of us. He just doesn’t like them, or maybe, intellectually, he cannot comprehend them.
No human being should be so ignorant or dishonest. Only Barton knows, on a case by case basis, which label best applies to him. Or maybe he doesn’t. More’s the pity.
But fear? No. Loathing might be a better word.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.