The GOP Race: Is Ted Cruz Our Best Option?

When we were in St. Andrews, Scotland for the Spring 2015 semester, I remember our Baptist church there praying for parliamentary elections. The implicit message of the prayers was, “Lord, we have no obvious options here. Please help us to know how to vote.”

I have been having the same feeling about the GOP race lately. The preponderance of white evangelicals are rallying around Ted Cruz. In many media circles, the myth of the “Trump evangelicals” has been dispersed. Many of the “evangelicals” who support Trump turn out not to go to church. The number of credible evangelical leaders who support Trump is vanishingly thin.

John Kasich is, on paper, more qualified than Cruz. (It goes without saying that he and Cruz are more qualified than Trump.) But Kasich struggles to connect with voters outside of Ohio, and he has a perplexing tone-deafness on religious liberty issues that irritates many evangelicals who might otherwise gravitate toward him.

Then there is Cruz. He’s the obvious evangelical choice in many ways, and he has the support of some serious people, such as his former Princeton professor Robert George. Cruz has deep experience in legal matters, making him an attractive choice for evangelicals who care about religious liberty and right-to-life issues. We’d have no hesitation about Cruz choosing a successor to Antonin Scalia.

But…what to do about Cruz’s traveling companions? I have written here before about Cruz’s close relationship with Glenn Beck, who has said that the Bible and the Constitution are both “sacred scriptures,” and who recently said that God has revealed to him that Cruz is the anointed candidate for 2016. I ended up in a kerfuffle with Beck over that issue, when I was quoted by Breitbart News saying that I did not believe that God reveals His preferred candidate to us. Beck replied to me on his radio show, saying “To you, Dr. Kidd. To you. To you God hasn’t revealed Cruz as divinely anointed.” But God had revealed him as such to Beck.

Then there is Beck’s history guru, and Cruz Super PAC director David Barton, whom I have written about in multiple venues. I led WORLD Magazine’s 2012 coverage of the controversy over Barton’s discredited book The Jefferson Lies.

Should evangelicals vote for Cruz, in spite of these connections? (Some evangelicals will have additional concerns about Cruz, of course, including his strident views on illegal immigration, and his vow to “carpet bomb” ISIS in Iraq and Syria.)

Here’s what I’m thinking: If the question is Trump vs. Cruz in the GOP primary, Cruz is clearly better. But that’s a pretty low standard. Not only is Trump unqualified and uninformed, but he has displayed appalling streaks of misogyny and gutter-mindedness that make him totally unacceptable.

If the question is Cruz vs. Kasich, I would reluctantly go for Kasich. This is a tough call. Kasich’s dismissive attitude on religious liberty controversies bothers me a lot. But he’s a qualified, successful governor of a swing state. Would he be better than Hillary Clinton? Absolutely. And unlike Cruz, Kasich would have a real chance of beating Clinton in a general election. (Two caveats: I don’t know how a Clinton indictment over her private e-mail, or a Trump third-party run, might affect the November dynamics.)

The problem, of course, is that there is almost no chance that Kasich will get the nomination, barring improbable scenarios at the GOP convention. And I appreciate the sentiment among Cruz supporters that Kasich simply needs to get out of the race so that anti-Trump support can coalesce around Cruz.

So, what to do if it is Cruz vs. Clinton in the general election? On policy questions, except maybe for immigration, foreign affairs, and military intervention, I prefer Cruz. (Yes, I know that Clinton’s handling of Benghazi was awful. This is lesser of two evils stuff.) I couldn’t vote for Clinton in any case, though I might be tempted to do so to stop Trump.

But what about Cruz’s connections with Barton and Beck? It is not just that Cruz has accepted their endorsements, a la John McCain and John Hagee in 2008. McCain eventually repudiated Hagee. Cruz depends on Beck and Barton in his campaign. They are among his most influential supporters and organizers. So a vote for Cruz means, to some extent, a vote for Barton and Beck. And the chance that Barton could end up with a position in a Cruz administration is a real concern, as ridiculous as that prospect might seem at first.

Sorry, folks. If it is Cruz vs. Clinton, I’m afraid that I’ll have to vote for a third party candidate, or not vote for president. In a way, it doesn’t matter what I do – Cruz would win Texas, for sure, with or without my vote. And I “get it” if many of my evangelical friends do support Cruz, and don’t share my alarm about the Barton-Beck connection. But for me, those traveling companions make Cruz a non-option.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Caleb G

    Or you could cut the gordian knot and vote for Bernie Sanders.

  • Aron

    That would be more like putting a noose around one’s neck.

  • Caleb G

    That’s true if you are a lobbyist or super wealthy. But for us average Americans who feel that there is too much money in politics and the wealthy and special interests have far too much influence over our political system, Bernie Sanders would be a far better choice than Cruz, Trump, or Clinton.

  • Sven2547

    Cruz has recently doubled-down on the proposition that federal courts have absolutely no business ruling on the legality of marriages, ever.

    I’d love to hear his thoughts on Loving v. Virginia.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    I wish people would hang Ted Cruz fair and square instead of by jaundiced guesswork and insinuation.

    She followed up by asking whether Cruz would have opposed the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia striking down bans on interracial marriage.

    “Of course not,” Cruz said. “We fought a bloody civil war over the original sin of our country, which was slavery. Slavery was grotesque and immoral and some 600,000 Americans spilled their blood on American soil and lost their lives to expunge it. We passed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, to ensure everyone has equal rights regardless of race. And that was honoring the promise of the Constitution.”

    – See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danthropology/2015/06/ted-cruz-says-there-is-no-biblical-opposition-to-interracial-marriage-so-you-cant-compare-it-to-same-sex-marriage/#sthash.ds8HG3gl.dpuf

  • Sven2547

    Given that Obergefell was decided on 14th Amendment grounds, I confess I did not expect him to cite it. Thanks for the link.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Unknown to almost all Americans is that 14A has a Section 2. It explicitly excludes gender. The 14th is about race and was ratified with that understanding.

    ~150 years later, 5 members of the Supreme Court ignore 14A’s obvious intent and use it to abolish the concept of gender anyway.

    Ted Cruz, who has argued [and won] in front of the Supreme Court, is certainly someone who knows what 14A says and what it meant when it was ratified. There is no mystery at all that he would see Loving and Obergefell as apples and oranges, mainly because they are.

    There is a difference between male and female regardless of whether the Supreme Court decrees otherwise. They do not own the truth.

  • Sven2547

    Unknown to almost all Americans is that 14A has a Section 2. It explicitly excludes gender.

    Section 2 is about apportionment and voting rights, which was later amended to extend to women. Section 1 is about the equal protection of the governed; all of the governed regardless of gender. They deliberately did not use the phrasing “male citizens” in Section 1 the way they did in Section 2.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Expected application. To decide 150 years later that it applies to homosexuality [not homosexuals as individuals, mind you] was intellectually dishonest.

  • Sven2547

    Are homosexuals not American citizens, or something? Why should Equal Protection specifically not apply to homosexuals? Why single them out in this way?

    Intellectually dishonest is acting like Section 2’s gender-specific wording somehow overrides Section 1’s gender-nonspecific wording, in the context of Section 1’s Equal Protection Clause.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    I explicitly made the distinction between persons and conduct, and will not waste any more time on this issue.

  • Sven2547

    The Supreme Court applied it to persons in Obergefell.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Yes, they did. Dishonestly. The criticism that the Constitution is whatever 5 justices say it is is accurate. Hamilton was wrong. [Federalist 81]

    Particular misconstructions and contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be so extensive as to amount to an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree to affect the order of the political system.

    Had the invention of gay marriage by the court 150 years later been contemplated, the 14th Amendment would never have been ratified. The idea of a “living constitution” created out of whole cloth by a handful of judges was unthinkable, as Hamilton shows us here.

  • Sven2547

    It wasn’t “created out of whole cloth”, it was read in its plain text. Equal protection under the law. For all. You’re the one construing new meanings out of whole cloth, here.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    The text outside of context and understanding by its ratifiers. Individuals as persons were protected; conduct was not.

  • Sven2547

    I refer to my earlier comment, where I pointed out that individuals as persons were protected by the Obergefell decision.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Yes, you said that. I disagree. Conduct was institutionalized, something the ratifiers could not have contemplated, because “living constitutionalism” did not exist. it is a 20th century invention.

  • Sven2547

    You pointed out earlier that the 14th Amendment protected the right to vote. Is that not “conduct”?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    no, it’s the right to vote

  • Shawnie5

    The 14th Amendment does not protect the right to vote but citizenship. Citizenship does not automatically confer the right to vote. That is why the 15th and 19th Amendments were necessary.

    IMO, if the 14th could not give women equal access to education it is a travesty to suggest it could confer a right to ssm which was never even dreamed of by its framers.

  • Aaron37

    Did “every citizen” get rights under the 14th Amendment?

    Myra Bradwell made an appeal based on the 14th Amendment, claiming that everyone was made a citizen, with equal rights. She lost! Here is her story.

    “Bradwell took and passed with high honors the Illinois bar exam.” But she was still denied the right to become a lawyer. She appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and lost:”as a married woman, since a married woman did not have separate legal existence from her husband and could not even sign legal contracts. Then, on a rehearing, the state Supreme Court found that simply being a woman disqualified Bradwell.”

    She also appealed the case to SCOTUS. “Myra Bradwell appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court, on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection provision. But in 1872, the court in Bradwell v. Illinois upheld the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to deny her admission to the bar, ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment did not require states to open the legal profession to women.”

    Therefore, the legal profession was open to men, but not to women; there was no due process or equal protection for women under the Fourteenth Amendment!

    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/laws/a/myra_bradwell.htm

    Also, in 1872, feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and several other women tried to register, and to vote, based on the 14th Amendment. They were arrested and fined, although Stanton refused to pay the fine.

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/anthony/sbaaccount.html

    Neither women nor “gays” received rights under the 14th Amendment!

  • J. Inglis

    Although Trump is contradictory, arrogant and unpredictable, I agree with Neil Carter (see his recent post: “Why Ted Cruz Is Far Worse Than Donald Trump”), that Cruz is a worse option for republicans and the nation than Trump because of what we do know about Cruz, what he is like, and the consistency of his nature.

    I think Carter aptly summarizes what is wrong with Cruz when he cites and quotes the story about Cruz actively working to keep a wrongly sentenced person in jail for years longer than he should have been. Like Javier, he is a man with no compromise and no mercy. Such a man should never lead a nation. Trump may be a bully at times, but he also shows heart and generousity at times also. Trump seems to be far more malleable and flexible, and hopefully he will act differently once he sees things “from the inside” (as Obama changed on issues such as war and security once he started getting briefings as a president). I also think Trump will be far more conscious of his image and his place in history and will want to go down as a “winner” rather than as someone who stuck to his guns even though it torpedoed his administration.

    I admit I’m from up north, and so don’t directly have a “dog in the fight”, so to speak, but we do want a generous and open and flexible person leading the most powerful nation on earth, someone who will listen to others in his party rather than steamrollering over all dissenting voices in order to force what he thinks is right. I can see our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, getting on with Trump at least to some degree; I can’t see him getting on at all with Cruz.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Very disappointing, Dr. Kidd. Glenn Beck’s belief in the Constitution as sacred is a normative [and harmless] Mormon belief

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/02/the-divinely-inspired-constitution?lang=eng

    and David Barton’s butchery of minor historical trivia is small potatoes compared to the challenges facing our nation and our posterity.

  • Asemodeus

    Besides the problem of way too many Americans thinking that Barton is a serious person. That’s not small potatoes.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Ad hom. Not interested.

  • Asemodeus

    Do you think he is a serious person?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    I think he’s small potatoes and that it’s a mistake to get sucked into the left’s demonization of him to smear Ted Cruz.

  • Asemodeus

    So you’re delusional.

    Noted.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Ad hom. You lose again.

  • Asemodeus

    Factual. Barton shows up routinely on Christian radio and TV, and thus reaches millions of people to spread his lies and theocracy towards. Calling that small potatoes is delusional, and dangerous.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    You have no actual direct quotes where David Barton is urging theocracy because there are none. That is left-wing fever swamp slime.

    You also have nothing tying Ted Cruz to theocracy except slime-by-association. This is why it’s a mistake to give into the left’s Alinskyist tactics.

    Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

  • Asemodeus

    Barton creates a strawman to burn to hide his schemes and you’re delusional enough to follow.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/david-bartons-bizarre-definition-theocracy

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Vague emissions from the left-wing fever swamp, right on schedule. But you can’t hide your argument behind a curtain, behind a link.

    “this far left stuff that says if Christians get involved, they’re trying to make a theocracy”

    True.

    The point here is slime-by-association against Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, it works.

  • Asemodeus

    Vague? I gave you a YouTube link. Did you even open the Url?

    Barton cites a biblical passage that literally shows a theocracy as a example of what a non theocracy looks like. Which would be stupid if Barton was stupid. He isn’t, he’s fully aware of his dishonesty and trusting that his viewers either don’t look up his citations, as you just did, or are too brain dead to put two and two together.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    As he quite well noted, as long as we have elections, there will be no theocracy. The left has been crying Theocracy! Theocracy! for quite awhile now. It’s a useful bogeyman.

    Trying to tie it to Ted Cruz is without a shred of evidence, only slime-by-association.

  • Asemodeus

    Ignoring the theocracies, today, that have elections.

    Like I said, he uses strawman to burn to hide his intentions from viewers who aren’t totally on board for his desire for a theocracy. It’s intentional dishonesty, and you fell for it.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Barton isn’t running. In fact, as he heads a PAC, Cruz is forbidden by law to consult with him.

    I’ll not be sucked into this slime-by-association game; it is a false premise.

  • Asemodeus

    Irrelevant. People not running can still influence elections. At this point you’re just twitching on the ground.

    So, in summary. Barton is a con artists that lies to gullible Christians into either openly supporting the violent overthrow of America, or just makes them too stupid to realize that they’re supporting candidates that are working towards the violent overthrow of America.

    You’re in the latter camp.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    You don’t know anything about me. And you’re charging Ted Cruz with “working towards the violent overthrow of America?”

    This is why I’m so disappointed to see Dr. Kidd surrender to the fever swamp. This is what we’re dealing with.

  • Asemodeus

    You’re buying Bartons lies, which speaks volumes about you.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Ad hom. You lose again.

  • Asemodeus

    Proven fact. You bought his lies that theocracies don’t have elections. They do.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Wrong again; you misread him. Barton said WE won’t have theocracy as long as we have elections, which we won’t because of our religious diversity. Do you think evangelicals want to be ruled by the pope or liberal Catholics be ruled by John Hagee?

    A national religion was impossible at the Founding and is even more impossible now.

    And picking a sentence by David Barton out of context has zero to do with Ted Cruz. This is why it’s so disappointing to give in to this slime-by-association.

  • Alley Oop

    Barton isn’t running for office, you moron.

  • Asemodeus

    Never said he was.

    Try reading comprehension, boy.

  • Sven2547

    Does he have a career other than the butchery of history, which conveniently aligns with the modern right-wing love of historical revisionism?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    David Barton is a bogeyman for the left. He explicitly disowns theocracy, and his larger thesis, that America was shaped by Christianity, is rather modest and largely defensible;

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=23909

    his errors are on trivial matters. The Jefferson book was the worst of it, but even if Thomas Jefferson had indeed been an orthodox evangelical, it makes zero difference in 2016.

    I understand that as one of the few respected non-left scholars of history in America, Dr. Kidd wants to create as much professional distance as possible, but I think deciding the 2016 election on David Barton is disproportionate to his actual importance.

    Al Sharpton is a far more destructive force in the American polity but you won’t see Democrats commit electoral suicide by shunning him, nor would I expect them to.

  • Sven2547

    I’ll take that as a no, and your link in support of Barton’s fallacy-ridden hypothesis underscores the problem.

    Further, there are much greater problems with Cruz than the company he keeps. His fiscal policy would bankrupt the country. His positions on civil liberties are a fright. Foreign policy? The man openly brags that he’ll have US troops committing war crimes.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    What’s a lowdown dirty shame is history repeating itself, being sucked into attacking David Barton just like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell a generation ago.

    Meanwhile, the Obama administration drags nuns into court. This is the real threat, not Barton’s trivial Parson Weemslike fancifications.

    fallacy-ridden hypothesis

    This is not an argument or rebuttal. Do show everyone his thesis and why it’s wrong. I maintain he’s a bogeyman for the left.

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Barton is easy pickins, but Daniel Dreisbach [J.D., Virginia/D.Phil., Oxford] is not.

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wall-of-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policy-and-discourse

    The left neither knows or cares about Dreisbach, because none of this is about the actual historical truth.

  • Sven2547

    All your whining about “the left” is nothing but a string of ad hom, as is your emotional appeal regarding the nuns.

    Dreisbach attacks Jefferson’s motivations without much support, and conspicuously omits the Lemon Test, which should be considered in any broad analysis of the separation of church & state.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Yes, there is an emotional angle to the brutishness directed by the Obama administration at the Little Sisters of the Poor. Decent people should be quite angry.

  • Sven2547

    Signing a form that absolves them from paying for contraceptives is “brutishness”? Please. This over-the-top rhetoric is just a smokescreen for their complete lack of a case.

  • Cranky Squirrel

    Yes, decent people should be angry at the purveyors of non-sense that are trying to sell the idea that signing a form in any way impinges on religious freedom. Giving the Little Sisters an opt-out of the legislation is already kowtowing to the religious group. Laws are for other people, not precious nuns, I suppose.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    They are precious, and your behavior is swinish. Good day.

  • Andrew Dowling

    brutishness? By asking them to sign a form simply articulating their beliefs and giving them an opt-out? Oh the repression! Oh the horror!

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    The Lemon Test is bad law, since the Founders saw religion as a self-evident good in itself, and thus served a positive secular purpose through its very practice.

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.”–GWash, Farewell Address, 1796

  • Uncle Dave

    Obama dragged the nuns into court? I thought the nuns filed the litigation.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Technically true but not substantively true. Obama could have let it go, and should have. Using the power of government against religious conscience was unnecessary, which hopefully will be what the Court will say.

    Free contraception can be achieved without dragging the nuns into it.

  • Uncle Dave

    Probably the court will split 4-4 on this :)

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke
  • Uncle Dave

    I find it hard to see how written notification to the government is substantially different from the verbal notification to the insurance company as a suggested solution by the SCOTUS. Either way it triggers third party coverage that the sisters don’t have to pay for. Seems like smoke and mirrors to me.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Perhaps. Anything less than stepping on the nuns’ throat is a victory of sorts these days. The left’s open hostility to religious freedom is manifest in this very thread, and this case will not assuage it regardless.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/georgia-pastor-eric-walsh-sermon-homosexuality-firing-him-documents-show-162299/

  • The Happy Atheist

    Whoooahh, there cowboy. I will first admit that I am a historian – an actual, degreed and experienced historian – and that I absolutely despise David Barton. Religious pablum aside, he is as much a historian as I am a psychologist. His errors are not “trivial.” Indeed, he violates pretty much every standard of modern historical study and writing all in service to substantiating a pre-existing religious agenda. His errors are so basic, in fact, that the academic community views him as just another amateur writer of turgid conservative nonsense no different than Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. He parrots long debunked theories about role of Christianity in the founding of the United States. He propagates ideas about the nature of the Civil War and slavery that have been universally rejected by historians since the 1950s.

    I mean, historians have a hard time with authors like David McCullough, who is worlds – no, GALAXIES – ahead of Barton.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Yes, his errors are trivial. I’m familiar with most all of them, for the same handful are repeated endlessly by persons like yourself, for whom he is a useful cudgel to beat your political enemies with.

    Indeed, I wish he would stop, but unfortunately the legit historians who work along the same lines such as Philip Hamburger, Jeffry Morrison, Mark David Hall, and Daniel Dreisbach prefer to stay out of the left’s line of fire, and as we see, for good reason.

    Neither is the left particularly interested in their work, because the historical truth is of no interest, only weaponizing it against Barton and the Religious Right.

    For those actually interested in the subject, please do stop by my groupblog, American Creation, which is devoted to religion and the Founding. Here’s an excellent guest post by a legit scholar, Carl Richard, a PhD from Vanderbilt.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-founders-and-bible-by-carl-j-richard.html

  • The Happy Atheist

    That was a fair and considered response, which I respect and appreciate. I think, however, that you are glossing over the undeniable fact – and, as a historian, I use that word carefully and sparingly – that the vast majority of historical scholarship strongly suggests that Christianity as a religious movement does not underlie our common heritage as Americans. There are absolutely a small number of legitimate historians who disagree, and some of them make solid arguments. This is true of virtually every historical topic imaginable. In the end, though, scholars of history tend to side with the majority opinion while leaving room for outlying ideas, especially when “majority” really means 95%.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    the vast majority of historical scholarship strongly suggests that Christianity as a religious movement does not underlie our common heritage as Americans

    The “science” is settled, then? No demurral is permissible?

    Forgive me if I do not accept the edict. It is my experience that very few historians have the proper background in law, philosophy and religion to have an authoritative opinion. They may be experts in the Zoroastrian lesbians of frontier Wisconsin, but that is not sufficient.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Of course it’s not “settled.” There is no such thing in historical scholarship, and no historian worth his or her salt would ever suggest it. On the other hand, there are viewpoints that have been fairly well established by a preponderance of the available documentary evidence and those that constitute hotly contested fringe views. The supposed Christian origins of our founding is a great example. I agree that there are solid arguments for that view, but they are absolutely dwarfed by the arguments for the other position, both in quantity and quality.

    I’m sure I don’t have your background in law and philosophy, but I have a long background in the history of the ancient near east and Christianity, including all the relevant languages. Also, advanced credentialing in history includes a ton of training in historiography (the history of “history,” so to speak), which is crucial to understand the way historical narratives have developed over time, how they changed, and why. Unless you have an MA or better in history, it is training you lack, just as I lack a well-orbed understanding of law and philosophy, among many other things.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    fairly well established by a preponderance of the available documentary evidence

    Truth is not a democracy. Further, scholars are a lot like normal people, with the same confirmation biases and prejudices. If you haven’t noticed, there’s quite a crisis in the academy about the infestation of ideology over knowledge.

    http://www.ditext.com/searle/searle1.html

    As for historiography, I do know that there are precious few with a background in medieval Latin who are qualified to evaluate Brian Tierney’s thesis that our understanding of natural rights has deep roots in Catholic canon law.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/846231?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    Since so few scholars are qualified to handle the material, they ignore it, leaving us with pseudo-scholarly pap like Kramnik and Moore’s unapologetically bald left-wing polemic The Godless Constitution, which is accorded the respect and authority that should be reserved for serious work.

    And none of this is to assert that their thesis is wrong, only to say that theirs is not the only valid argument. So too, David Barton cribs a lot of his best stuff from David Dreisbach, a legit scholar. Just because Barton commits howlers like trumpeting Jefferson’s signature on a form document that mentions the Holy Trinity does not mean he’s not right about religious services being held in US government buildings during the construction of the nation’s capital, which is a probative argument about the accommodation of religion as a self-evident public good.

  • The Happy Atheist

    “Truth is not a democracy.”

    This is a revealing statement. There is no “Truth” in the study of history, only evidence that suggests likely conclusions. I think you and I are approaching this from two very different vantage points, too. You seem to have a philosophical focus rather than a historical viewpoint, and that’s fine, but we’re talking past each other.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    You addressed me, and yes, you are not listening. Epistemic closure, I believe you people call it.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Oh, the irony. “You people”? You are very sure that you’re right, aren’t you?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    :-)

  • Sven2547

    Yes, his errors are trivial. I’m familiar with most all of them

    That’s funny coming from you. The first link you sent contained a manufactured quote. Were you aware of that error?

  • Reason0verhate

    Yes, he’s the favorite hate target of trolls who never read a history book in their lives.

  • ChrisM

    you’ve got to be kidding!

  • Adrian S

    Are you shaming people’s choice of collaborators, meaning their associations, instead of dealing with their arguments? Is that what you really want to do?

  • AlongRedRiveroftheNorth

    Liberty from government coercion is the last thing anyone could conjure should Ted Cruz become president of the United States. It seems that he cannot wait to get his hands on the levers of federal power to assault an array peoples, groups and organizations he hates.

    After the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium Cruz declared that, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” As Esquire writer Charlie Pierce noted, “’secure’ is doing an awful lot of work in that sentence, and little of that work is good, and none has [anything to do] with ‘religious liberty’.”

    Guilt by association with bloviators like Glenn Beck and David Barton only amounts to a venial sin, when compared to having the truly odious Frank Gaffney as an adviser. His euphemistically named Center for Security Policy posits, a la Joe McCarthy, that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood (actually this alleged subversion predates Obama). Cruz also proposes legislation banning Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and as you mentioned, carpet-bombing the Middle East (shades of Curtis Le May and Barry Goldwater in 1964 advocating defoliating North Vietnam with atomic bombs). So much for any “right to life.”

    Speaking of ‘right to life, what about the right of a nonprofit organization legally (and constitutionally) providing reproductive health services to exist in the United States? Planned Parenthood is an even easier target for libertarian Ted to destroy. Cruz proclaims that on the very first day in office, he will instruct the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal conduct by that organization. Again, Charlie Pierce points out, “Surely you notice the mischief hidden in the phrase, ‘any and all criminal conduct.’ Cruz is saying plainly that he will put the feds on Planned Parenthood with the express mission of finding some reason to bring criminal charges, which a whole raft of state investigations has told us simply do not exist.”

    I could go on and on, but not in a comments forum. Bottom line, in his own words Ted Cruz talks more about repression than liberty.

  • Max

    Do you actually believe any of this drivel?

  • Sven2547

    He’s quoting Ted Cruz’s own policy positions. If it’s “drivel”, that is a shortcoming of Cruz himself.

  • The Happy Atheist

    These are all positions that Cruz has doubled and tripled down on. They are well established.

  • scottrose

    LOL.
    “well established” = “believed by all left-wing paranoids”

  • The Happy Atheist

    He’s QUOTING TED CRUZ. I’m missing the “paranoia” part.

  • Aaron37

    Who are Ted Cruz’s real advisers? Barton, Beck, and Cruz Sr. are only well-known figures within a narrow but necessary group of religious, conservative voters. The real forces around Cruz are establishment Republicans like Kellyanne Conway (a Roman Catholic), who often appears on CNN as Cruz’s representative.

    http://www.nndb.com/people/204/000357130/

    See a list of Cruz’s six (or more?) super-pacs and their key people at:

    http://www.p2016.org/cruz/cruzsuperpacorg.html

    Senator Cruz’s real staff is composed of Republican insiders, mostly from the Texas Republican Party, who are advising Cruz and running his campaign. There is NO EVIDENCE that either Barton or Beck or Ted’s father have any influence on Ted Cruz.

    https://ballotpedia.org/Ted_Cruz_presidential_campaign_key_staff_and_advisors,_2016

    Let us deal in facts, not in speculations and in anti-Cruz political myths.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    There is NO EVIDENCE that either Barton or Beck or Ted’s father have any influence on Ted Cruz.

    Exactly. In fact, Ted Cruz is prohibited by law from consulting with any of the PACs supporting him.

  • BT

    That’s a completely different issue. One can be influenced by the same dangerous school of thought without having the respective organizations each represents coordinate with the other. Two entirely different things. One is tactical coordination, the other is implicit or explicit philosophical influence. You can’t do the former, but the latter is perfectly fine.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Since there are exactly zero incriminating quotes from Ted Cruz himself, all that remains is slime-by-association.

  • BT

    The influence of that school of thought is fairly broad within the far right of the GOP. Whether he explicitly endorses the full Monte or merely has an overlap with some of the key policies would be the issue for me.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Relax, it’s just more partisan slime and innuendo. The far left has been ringing that bell for years…including at Jimmy Carter!

    “Thin charges of dominionism are just another attempt to discredit opponents rather than answer them.”–Michael Gerson

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-holy-war-on-the-tea-party/2011/08/22/gIQAYRcOXJ_story.html

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/april-web-only/stop-calling-ted-cruz-dominionist.html

  • BT

    We’re it not for the fact that Dominionism has been a driving intellectual force on the far right, I’d be inclined to ignore it. Unfortunately, there is significant overlap on policy objectives even where the underlying motivations might be different.

    As it stands, it’s a legitimate line of questioning even if the answers aren’t easily forthcoming and smoking guns nonexistent.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    We’re it not for the fact that Dominionism has been a driving intellectual force on the far right

    It’s not a fact, it’s a slander. The right is quite content with natural law, which is available to all men and requires no resort to scripture.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2009/04/primer-on-natural-law.html

  • BT

    I don’t know how it can be slander. Check out Julie Ingersolls book for one, or just do a quick survey on the far right and see how often Gary North’s name comes up, or Barton’s.

    Many in the far right wear the label with pride, so it’s hard to see how one can slander someone else with the label they might wholeheartedly embrace.

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    Barton Derangement Syndrome

    and Gary North self-publishes and sells real estate or something on the side

    left-wing bogeyman

    oy

    At this point I’m just showing the readers [if any] just how fatuous the left-wing fever swamp is, trolling for the worst on the right and ignoring the best, like Dreisbach.

  • BT

    So are you saying there is no overlap or similarity between Cruz and Barton?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    I’m saying the burden of proof is on the left to offer more than vague insinuations and ominous links to the left wing fever swamp.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/april-web-only/stop-calling-ted-cruz-dominionist.html

    ”The contemporary religious Left’s version of McCarthyist red-baiting is to smear opponents by labeling them ‘dominionists.’ … Ted’s not a dominionist; he’s a constitutionalist. I’ve known Senator Cruz for more than half his life. I supervised his junior year independent project and senior thesis at Princeton, working with him closely on the Constitution’s protections of liberty by way of structural limitations on power. I’ve stayed closely in touch with him in the years since, sometimes discussing constitutional questions (especially those pertaining to religious freedom). In 31 years of teaching constitutional law and civil liberties, and 25 years of serving on various capacities in public life, never have I met a person whose fidelity to the Constitution was deeper than Senator Cruz’s.”–Prof. Robert P. George, Princeton University

  • BT

    So far I’ve only noted the policy overlap and the Barton/Cruz link which is sufficient to raise the question and enough reason to look a bit deeper.

    It would seem there’s enough there to warrant the inquiry at least. He is, after all, looking to occupy the White House.

    Are you saying we shouldn’t look any deeper?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    I’m saying when you have zero direct evidence, there’s some point when you’ve crossed a line into smear and slander. Some have already reached it.

    “With me, as with many people in America, my faith is an integral part of who I am. I’m a Christian, and I’m not embarrassed to say that. … I’m not asking you to vote for me because of my personal faith with Jesus Christ. I’m asking you to vote for me because I’ve spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fighting to defend the American free enterprise system, and we need a leader who will stand up every day and protect the rights of everyone, whether they’re Christians or Jews or Muslims or anyone else.”–Ted Cruz

  • BT

    So having similar policy goals, reasonably friendly relationships with a prominent theonomist, and very close ties to the religious far right isn’t sufficient reason to poke around a bit?

  • https://twitter.com/DykeVanTom Tom Van Dyke

    If there were any real evidence, the slime merchants would have found it by now. Instead we get smear and innuendo, slime-by-association.

    We can see why Dr. Kidd wants no part of this, but I hate to see dishonesty and sophistry win. It’s even coming from respected members of the academy, which makes it all the more tragic, that they would sell out their professional credibility for petty politics.

  • BT

    That’s where I disagree. The role of Dominionism in the GOP’s right wing is just now finally getting the attention it deserves here in the past few months.

    As long as Cruz was just a senator from Texas, no one on the national stage cared. Now that he wants the top job, people have only now started to clue in to the possibility of that influence extended into the White House in a way it never has before.

    I don’t think there is going to be a smoking gun – he isn’t dumb enough to make Gary North his chief of staff or anything. But the discussion of where we see those influences creeping in is incredibly important to have.

  • Sven2547

    “No evidence” that Ted’s father (who is also his pastor) has any influence on Ted Cruz? Now who’s engaging in speculation?

  • Aaron37

    Ted Cruz’s father is NOT his pastor. His pastor’s name is Pastor Gregg Matte. His pastor in his youth was Pastor Gaylon Wiley, “who led him to the Lord as a youth”. Wiley also led Cruz’s father to become a Christian and to reconcile to his wife, Ted’s mother.

    https://www.tedcruz.org/news/ted-cruzs-pastors-speak-out-about-his-faith/

  • http://www.naturalspirituality.wordpress.com/ Howard Pepper

    I DO share your deep concern about Cruz’s connection with Beck and Barton. I’ve not voted Republican for several years because of the party’s conservative wing being waaay irrational and extreme, and Cruz represents that, along with Beck and Barton. (These affiliations are not surprising.) Beck is very confused and confusing, tho I’ve really tried to discern his organization of thought. It seems impossible, tho themes exist. Sort of like St. Paul, consistent themes but “logic” that is sometimes impossible to follow…. It just doesn’t add up if one is listening closely… self-contradictions, poor observations, etc.

    That aside, Cruz also proves unqualified on another count: He is either “bought out”, willfully careless in thinking or “merely” without integrity when it comes to climate issues. Seems to imbibe the groundless conspiracy concepts about international cooperative climate science. One needs only high school or college science and some of the unassailable, multi-validated data (easy to get) to see through this nonsense. How Cruz can be a “denier”, smart as he is, is a MAJOR red flag.

  • Andrew Dowling

    “On policy questions, except maybe for immigration, foreign affairs, and military intervention, I prefer Cruz.”

    Gutting the ACA and forcing millions of people off insurance, complete climate change denial and the death of clean energy, more laws allowing religious “exceptions” which become unregulated charades, a tax plan that will blow an enormous hole in the deficit, a complete unwillingness to govern and not be a blowhard backbencher . . .yeah what a keeper he is

  • Karl M

    The lefties’ bashing of David Barton is so ironic, since their messiah-president, who attended Harvard, is such a total ignoramus that he thinks “Austrian” is a language, that there are 57 states, and that “corps” is pronounced “corpse.” There OK with ignorance as long as its own of their own sorority pals saying stupid things.

  • Jim Jones

    Thank goodness G W Bush never once misspoke …

    Make the Pie Higher

    I think we all agree, the past is over.
    This is still a dangerous world.
    It’s a world of madmen
    And uncertainty
    And potential mental losses.

    Rarely is the question asked
    Is our children learning?
    Will the highways of the internet
    Become more few?
    How many hands have I shaked?

    They misunderestimate me.
    I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
    I know that the human being and the fish
    Can coexist.

    Families is where our nation finds hope
    Where our wings take dream.
    Put food on your family!
    Knock down the tollbooth!
    Vulcanize society!
    Make the pie higher!
    Make the pie higher!

    This poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George W. Bush.

    And never forget: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

  • Jim Jones

    Every one of “god’s selected candidates” is now toast.

    Is god a dick?