David Barton’s Christian Publishers Have Pulled His Book from the Shelves Due to Factual Inaccuracies

Just a day after NPR reported on the inaccuracies in Christian pseudo-historian David Barton‘s very aptly-named book The Jefferson Lies, publisher Thomas Nelson has ceased publication and distribution of the book:

“When the concerns came in, from multiple people, and that had weight too, we were trying to sort things out,” said Thomas Nelson Senior Vice President and Publisher Brian Hampton. “Were these matters of opinion? Were they differences of interpretation? But as we got into it, our conclusion was that the criticisms were correct. There were historical details — matters of fact, not matters of opinion, that were not supported at all.

Wow.

That should be a huge blow to Barton, just as it was for Jonah Lehrer, whose book was pulled by his publisher after it was discovered he was fabricating quotations. But you have to wonder whether Christians will accept the publisher’s conclusion and stop listening to Barton, or whether Barton will become even more popular now that even his publishers have said what secular historians have been saying all along: Barton has no idea what he’s talking about.

So… Thomas Nelson removed the book because the supposedly-factual details weren’t supported by the evidence.

I guess that means they’re no longer publishing the Bible, either?

(Thanks to Greg for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    the liberal bias of reality oppressing a christian conservative once again…

    • Beigeplanet

       Idiot^

      • http://profiles.google.com/tychabrahe Lauren Eve Pomerantz

        Reread, please: “the liberal bias of reality”

        Sarcasm, not stupidity.

    • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

       I don’t like the facts! Give me different facts!

      • Stev84

        Adam Savage’s “I reject your reality and substitute my own” t-shirt should be incredibly popular among believers

    • Pixelbrush

      I guess I will take your accurate word for it, so much
      oppression against American Christians that  none of our previous presidents where Christian?

      • amycas

         You need to recalibrate your sarcasm meter.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I think it has become unsafe to use sarcasm on this blog.

          On the upside, that’s largely because I think Hemant is drawing a much wider audience lately.

          • Aaron Scoggin

            It’s also increasingly difficult to tell whether someone is being sarcastic or is just batshit crazy. When you’re talking about religious people, I think you have to go WAYYYY over the top to be sarcastic, since they say stupid things quite a bit when they’re being totally serious.

            • CultOfReason

               Poe’s law in action.

            • Joe

               ^^^ Dat. ^^^

        • Carroll Price

          You have to be careful using sarcasm around religious nuts because they invariably take it serious.

    • http://twitter.com/jay_peg Jay Greening

      Sarcasm?
      Yes?
      Hoping so.
      Otherwise.
      Um.
      Yeah.

    • Ender

       It hurts them to know truth carries a liberal bias.

  • Jsaun314

    I’ve no doubt he will be seen as a hero and martyr among the more conservative Christians. Surely it is far easier to claim a conspiracy among publishers to suppress the true Christian origin of America than to claim a conspiracy among scientists to suppress the true Christian origin of the universe.

  • GregFromCos

    “But you have to wonder whether Christians will accept the publisher’s conclusion and stop listening to Barton, or whether Barton will become even more popular now that even his publishers have said what secular historians have been saying all along: Barton has no idea what he’s talking about.”

    Hopefully the fact that Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher might make a few actually think. (source: http://www.thomasnelsoncorporate.com/mission/)

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Rest assured, Barton will become a martyr for Christofascism. He — and they — will believe Thomas Nelson “caved in” to “political correctness”; that his book contains no lies at all, and that they acted only under unrelenting pressure from the Evil Human Secular/Muslim Brotherhood/Homosexual Agenda/Kenyan usurper/ACORN/Global Caliphate Conspiracy. Don’t worry your little head about it … I’m sure he’s cooking up such a scenario as I type this, and Rightists around the country are soaking it up eagerly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Appelget/100000185646776 Steven Appelget

      I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.  Thomas Nelson is a division of HarperCollins, so the cries of censorship from the secular media will be directed at that entity by his core audience.

      • jdm8

        You mean the HarperCollins of News Corp. / Rupert Murdoch fame?

  • http://twitter.com/RedditContinuum Reddit Continuum

    Chris Rodda has been saying this for a long time, especially about Barton and his Jefferson fantasies in her book Liars for Jesus. 

    • LesterBallard
      • http://twitter.com/ForgotMyOrange Forgetful Orange

        It can be difficult to wade through the whole book in one go, but it’s incredibly well researched, meticulous and you learn a bunch of really interesting historical events.
        Eye[-opening for me was how sneaky people like Barton have been in constructing their “facts”… I found them sinister in that it becomes obvious “he must know” that certain facts are stretching or wrong or completely misleading. If he knows enough to write some of the stuff he does, with the relevant historical documents in hand, he must know that he’s lying.

    • Ibis3

      I hope this means her new book, which takes apart this one lie by lie, gets picked up by a big publisher–I’d love to see *her* on the Daily Show.

  • Ken

    I guess we are all just to stupid to discern the difference between “truth” and facts.  That’s okay, Pat Robertson will tell us, so we don’t have to do anything hard, like read, or think.  

  • Barb_lauber

    So Thomas Nelson is admitting that they do no vetting whatsoever of authors or of the content of the books they publish?

  • 3lemenope

    Wow.

    QFT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlos.e.yanez.7 Carlos E Yanez

    always trying to change the meaning of what our founding father intended for us a country free of religion opression.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    What I’d prefer is that they still publish it with a forward explaining some of the problems.  I’m tempted to get a copy, from the used market of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stanner1972 Steven Tanner

    The forward by the great comedian and propagandist Glenn Beck should serve as a giant red flag to everyone.

    • Pixelbrush

      Who else besides Glenn Beck would risk a profitable career for a couple of lies?

  • Piet Puk

    Again the bigot Athiests trying to cencor the freedom of speach of Christianity!!1!
    /Poe

    (I know I should have used Caps Lock, but this is enough Poe for now)

    • Profdobro

      Maybe spellcheck would be in order

      • http://twitter.com/AndrewHess77 Andrew Hess

        You might want to get a jokecheck installed on your PC.

    • Miss_Beara

      I am sure that comment is being said with that exact spelling (or worse) by the bibul belivin’ GOD belivers who is alwys bein prosectued. 

  • smg77

    Will they be taking Bibles off the shelves for the same reason?

  • LesterBallard

    His readers won’t care. These folks believe every word of the Bible is the word of god. The inerrant word of god. The unchanging word of god. The this how you (and everyone else) should live your life word of god. Being full of lies isn’t a problem for them.

  • Mbeakley

     HA! I called it! I knew this guy was full of shit! This is why you cannot trust a religious educator. They will lie if they think that by doing so they are saving your soul. Then, any inconvenient facts disappear and lies take their place (well, that sums up all religion, actually).

    • allein

      I would never have called Barton an “educator”

      • Lynn Dion01

         Ah, but the people that let him teach call him one.
        They don’t play the same game at all — the ethical emphasis is one of ends justifying means.  As long as atheist predations can be fended off, any size or forward effect of the lie is always far smaller than the benefit to be gained in the name of “Truth.”  How can, for example, scientific method or any academic rigor stand up in front of that kind of value system?

  • Miss_Beara

    Forward by Glenn Beck. 

    lol.

    that is all.

  • farnsworth

    I freely admit that I have a problem.  An ugly ugly problem.  But sometimes I can’t help it.

    “Forward” is a direction.  “Foreword” is what goes in the front of a book.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OHRORFA3SAT4Y23A7QBJCLA7PE Iolanthe

       I am a fellow sufferer.   Don’t castigate yourself.   People like you and me are all that stands between this culture and Idiocracy.

      (My beef?   No one knows the difference between “rein” (like a horse) and “reign” (like a king) anymore.)

      • Thefoneisbetter

        You two must really like the smell of your own farts.

        • http://twitter.com/SimpleConundrum SimpleConundrum

          Someone never studied homophones in English class

          • Lemon the Tard

            That’s not natural!  Leviticus tells us homophones are an abomination before god.

            It’s hard to type that with a straight face.  Or a gay face.   

        • farnsworth

          Wow, that was pointlessly stupid.

        • Lynn Dion01

           Is that “fone” in the middle of your handle? 

      • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

        Or “tenet” (as in belief) and “tenant” (as in renter).

      • vondehl

        I know the difference. I also know the difference between “loose”, “lose” and “their”, “there” and “they’re”. I’m a freak, I know.

        • Yes_really!

          Fellow sufferers and frustrated English teachers!  You will LOVE this blog.  A Way with Words
          They also have a radio program.

  • reynard61

    My question would beis: “Then why the *HELL* did you idiots accept the book for publication in the first place?!?!?!”

    • Jimmy

      Because they know it will *sell*.

      • Lynn Dion01

         Bet he never suspected how quickly they would throw him under the bus . . .  but you know, the Coliseum is falling apart and the games were never that good for the lions, so this clearly does have martyrdom value that may actually be better for him in the long run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielenglishocilla Daniel English

    I love being liberal. I don’t have to lie about history just to meet my agenda. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SXD6UHKK4UDFTE4P5ZBJG2VPKM Michael Smith

       No, you just completely misinterpret what the Constitution says as if the Founding Fathers were closet Commies. Liberals are every bit as bad as Neo-Con Fundies. You guys have more in common than you’re willing to admit. LOL

      • Smithington Michaelson

        I’m curious whether you actually believe that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=695041749 Drew Reagan

         A most excellent application of Poe’s law right here folks. Honestly, I’m blown away by this masterpiece of a comment.

      • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

        I swear, delusion appears to be running amok in the SoCons these days.

    • Jeff from Virginia

       I know of some liberals who have lied about history as well… Stephen Ambrose.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OHRORFA3SAT4Y23A7QBJCLA7PE Iolanthe

    Before the “Christian” right hijacked the Jesus People Evangelical movement in the late 70s/early 80s, “bearing false witness” used to be a sin!

    Now it’s an Evangelical crowd pleaser, every time.

    Sometimes I hope there IS a Hell, just because I know that David Barton, E. R. Rushdoony, Francis Schaeffer Sr., Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc. would go there.   Sure, I’ll go there too, just for wishing that, but it might be worth it to see the look on their faces when they discover that Lying Your Ass Off for the Lord was NOT a good and moral and uplifting strategy.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OHRORFA3SAT4Y23A7QBJCLA7PE Iolanthe

    BTW, hearing utter baloney like Barton’s from the pulpit, way back in the 80s, when I was attending a church that was sliding fast into Dominionist Nonsense, helped wake me up and get me out of there!

    I was a history minor at a UC school, and happened to be studying the actual writings of the Founding Fathers, in their own words (sometimes in their own handwriting) at the time.

    A bigger load of crap has NEVER before been foisted on unsuspecting people.   Horrifying.

    That’s when the penny dropped for me:  “Oh, *I* get it!   It’s not that I am “spiritually immature”; it’s that these people are just flat-out Lying Their Asses Off for Jesus!”

  • Who Dat

    These (atheist) writings are founded on the stupidity that nothing created
    everything. That is scientifically impossible. According to the Bible
    (and to common sense), atheists are fools who profess to be wise, and
    their agenda is to reproduce after their own kind. That is where they
    find a sense of security. They think that stupid is no longer stupid, if
    enough people believe the stupidity. They point to great intellects
    such as Carl Sagan (who wasn’t an atheist), Albert Einstein (who wasn’t
    an atheist) and Mark Twain (who wasn’t an atheist) and with no qualms of
    conscience say that these men didn’t believe in the existence of God.

    • Who Dat

       That’s from Ray Comfort

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        You happen to have a citation for that?  I can accept some random person on the internet thinking Carl Sagan wasn’t an atheist, but I think even for all his foolishness, Ray Comfort would have to acknowledge that Carl Sagan most certainly did not believe in God.

        (Einstein didn’t either, and Twain at least did not believe in an afterlife)

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Whadya know.  Ray Comfort is that stupid.
          http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/2012/08/atheist-blogs.html 

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Since it doesn’t look like Ray is going to approve my comment on his blog, I’ll just leave it here.

            None of those three men (Einstein, Sagan, Twain) believed in an afterlife or a personal God.  Sagan referred to himself as an agnostic, based on the ‘gnostic’ version of atheism.  Sagan and Einstein both held views very similar to Richard Dawkins.  If you think they’re not atheists, then neither is Dawkins.  And in the case of Sagan, we still have his wife to assure us that no, they don’t expect to meet in the afterlife.

    • Carroll Price

      If you want to convince me of creation, then explain to me who created the creator.  But if the creator appeared out of no-where (which is the only other choice available) then that disproves creation. 

  • mike

    Thank you David Barton,

     I love that David Barton has done this sooo publicly.  One of the hurdles that I had when leaving christianity was the question: would people blatantly lie about history and did the early church do that?  The questions of “would the apostles lie?, why would they lie?, would the church lie?, and why would they lie?” are now exposed as “Yes” and “Ask David Barton”.

    For centuries the churches have told little lies and covered their tracks very well.  They had councils and heresies and dogma to protect and glorify “the truth”.  And now one idiot decided to do it publicly and not cover his tracks at all.

  • http://www.themonthebard.org/ Themon the Bard

    Sorry, but the Bible is its own class of literature. AND, it remains highly profitable to print. Not going away any time soon…. ::sigh::

  • Carroll Price

    Thanks NPR, but knocking off religious nutcases is easy as pie.  Anyone can do it.  If you really want to do your job and serve the public, start broadcasting the established facts concerning what actually occured on 9/11, then sit back and see how long it takes before the government shuts you down.  Hint:  A good place to start would be to air some of the taped interviews given by 1st responders who all saw and heard the secondary explosions that brought all three building to the ground at free-fall speed. 

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

       what

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Oh, do shut up, troofer.

  • charlestonvoice

    Although not an atheist, Dave Barton is more of a GOP party hack and egoist than a “christian”. By eulogizing the first blacks in congress on his website, he omits they were all from the Occupied South during the Reconstruction, a time when the Radical Republicans prohibited white people in most ways connected to the Confederacy were not permitted to run for public office. Why introduce racism – inaccurate – at all to a true Christian ministry?

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Correction: The first black congressmen were actually Republicans, since this was the era before the Dixiecrats fled the Democratic Party and became Republicans. You can even see this in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, where Winston County, Alabama, is characterized as being strange in parts for being Republican (the novel is set in the 1930s but written in the late ’50s).

      • charlestonvoice

        They were Radical Republicans as we both say. And came to office under the Union military occupation. The Jeffersonian Democrats were emasculated in the northern invasion, ending state sovereignty. You might like a more definitive opinion of Reconstruction by Claude Bowers in 1929: The Tragic Era, http://chasvoice.blogspot.com/2012/06/carpetbaggers-scalawags-and-radical.html

        Best,

        Bill

  • Rebekah Moore

    David Barton’s book is pure truth. He has all the evidence to back it all up. Thomas Nelson was once a Christian publishing company but they sold out to a non believer by the name of Rupert Murdoch and his Media empire. Rupert Murdoch and his Media Empire also bought another Christian publishing company. Zondervan. They are changing and re writing bibles and really enjoying their work. Throwing out David Barton’s incredibly well researched book of facts is just the beginning for Rupert Murdoch and his followers and their world view.  Another larger publishing company has already picked up the book and will be publishing it.

    • No, Really?

      LOL!

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Let the conspiracy-mongering commence.

  • Guest

    Insecure lot these atheists.  A chance to simply say ‘looks like Christian publishers did the right thing.’  But in typical modern atheist insecurity, must throw in a dig.  A chance to show atheists can give credit where it is due and it’s blown to hell.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KR3WX4DCBEOLDZGUYKKXNDGP44 SOD

    they will continue to believe because he said and wrote it is so…so therefore it must be true…I never read the book…what was it about?

  • Lynn Dion01

    What kind of a press doesn’t have a fact checker on the editorial staff?
    Oh yeah — a Christian press.

  • The Didgeridoo

    You have the wrong cover on your site. Beck did not do the foreword to the printing/editions Thomas Nelson pulled. Instead, he did the foreword to the subsequent editions released after Nelson dumped the book!


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