So pseudo-historian David Barton was accused of associating with white supremacists by a couple of Democratic opponents in Texas. He sued and won in December of last year. He says he didn’t know the groups he spoke to were white supremacist.
Fair enough. We have no choice but abide by the court’s ruling in that case.
But now Barton is falsely claiming in an email from his organization WallBuilders to his supporters, that his win somehow validates his dishonest portrayals of American history. The only thing is, his win wasn’t about history – it was about whether or not he was knowingly consorting with white supremacists.
Over the years, Barton has lied about any number of things. Just a few that I’ve covered here are his claim that the Due Process Clause comes from the Bible. It does not. It’s origins are to be found in Medieval England. The Brits are wrong: Jesus is not an Englishman.
From the CRS Annotated Constitution:
Due Process is that which comports with the deepest notions of what is fair and right and just.”1 The content of due process is “a historical product”2 that traces all the way back to chapter 39 of Magna Carta, in which King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”3 The phrase “due process of law” first appeared in a statutory rendition of this chapter in 1354. “No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law.”4
Then there is his lie that the Founding Fathers settled the Evolution debate – before there was a debate. The Founding Fathers didn’t so much as talk about Evolution, let alone decide it, because Jean-Baptiste Lamarck didn’t introduce the idea of evolution to the world until 1800, thirteen years after the United States Constitution – Barton’s touchstone – and the term biology wasn’t even coined until 1802 – again my Lamarck. Charles Darwin, the great promoter of the Theory of Evolution, was born in 1809 and did not publish his controversial “On the Origin of Species,” until 1859.
So, yeah…you do the math. Then do what Barton hasn’t done out of that great store of original documents he brags about: provide proof.
He has actually invented reasons the Founding Fathers supposedly did not grant women the vote. The problem is for Barton that the Founding Fathers did NOT decide the issue of women voting: they left it up to the states. This is what we call a lie.
He has also lied about who was burning whom at the stake back in the day. In saying that Christians were being burned at the stake, he “forgot” to mention that while this is true, the people burning them were also Christians. We call that a lie of omission.
So back to that email about how Barton never lies. He tells supporters to spread the Bartonian gospel far and wide, that everything he says is true, even as he lies about having proof of this:
When you see attacks against WallBuilders and David on Facebook, Twitter, in articles, comments, and so forth, please take a few minutes to enter your own rebuttal comments, even linking to the national articles reporting that the critics’ claims are false (e.g., David Barton Wins Million-Dollar Defamation Suit).
He goes on to claim that,
But the second lawsuit we won addressed the false claims that David’s works are widely discredited, that he is an admitted liar, that he makes up his history, etc.
Here are the facts Barton won’t give you: This second lawsuit was against a blogger, W.S. Smith, who rightly called Barton a liar. He even provided examples. So Barton, who makes a living calling other people liars, sued for being called a liar, and now is lying about the results of that lawsuit – which, as it happens, he did not win.
As Warren Throckmorton reported yesterday at Patheos,
“In fact, Parker County, TX records show that the suit against Smith was dismissed by Barton on April 18, 2012.”
Barton has now claimed that he won a second case; WND said the same thing. Where is the case? Who was involved? The Parker County records don’t support the narrative in Barton’s email or the WND article.
Oh dear. Isn’t that interesting? No lawsuit. No win. No vindication for David Barton.
A couple of side-notes here:
Interestingly, the very visible and outspoken Barton critic, Chris Rodda, research director at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, was not sued, even though she actually invited Barton to sue her. It is worth noting here that Smith contacted Rodda, who published his response in an op-ed at The Huffington Post in 2011.
She is not alone among noted Barton opponents. Also not sued was Warren Throckmorton, co-author of a book refuting Barton’s book full of Jefferson lies. Nor was Rob Boston, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (au.org), who has called the lawsuit “the legal equivalent of a schoolyard bully’s shakedown.” Barton also did not sue Keith Olbermann, who interviewed Boston on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, back in 2010:
Boston, for the record, told Olbermann that “Barton is to history what the creationists are to science.”
All the respect in the world for Rob Boston, who has been writing about Barton since 1993, but that might be an understatement. David Barton has outdone himself here.
As Kyle Mantyla noted at Right Wing Watch, “But in typical Barton fashion, he was unable to even tell the truth about the results of his own defamation lawsuit.”
Finally, what follows in that email is, to me, the most critical. This is Barton’s “proof” of his own veracity:
(Makes up history? How ridiculous is this claim when WallBuilders owns one of America’s largest private collections of original Founding Era documents — more than 100,000 originals or copies of original documents from before 1812. In fact, we even footnote our historical email blasts!)
It is interesting, this theory that if you possess original documents, you cannot lie about them. You obviously can, since Barton penned an entire book of such lies, about Jefferson. Or that if you footnote your lies, your lies are suddenly not lies. But footnotes have no magical properties. They cannot transmute lies into fact.
The Blaze tells us that, “Barton said that he wanted supporters to know that his work is not comprised of ‘made-up stuff’ and that they have been able to rely on trustworthy history over the years.”
The problem is that his work is comprised of made-up stuff, and demonstrably so. And now, even his claims of proof that his stuff is not made up, are made up.
Let’s put this in simple terms:
David Barton lied that a lawsuit he himself dismissed, was ruled in his favor, and that as a result of this win which never actually took place, his lies are not really lies, but truths. Even though he is lying about the win he never had to prove he isn’t lying.
The verdict of history, if not the courts, is in: David Barton is a liar.
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.