Historian John Fea asks: “Is it time to gather Christian historians together to sign some kind of formal statement condemning Barton’s brand of propaganda and hagiography?”
Easy question. The answer is “yes.”
David Barton is a liar and a con-man who poses as a Christian historian.* That’s bad for the reputation of all Christians and of all historians, and especially for the reputation of Christian historians.
Even worse, since Barton’s shtick is premised on the idea that he is a lone, brave truth-teller standing against a conspiracy of lies, one of the underlying lies for everything he writes and teaches is that all legitimate historians — those teaching the facts that contradict his fantasies — are dishonest and anti-Christian.
So Barton isn’t just routinely lying about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the rest of the founders. He’s also routinely lying about every Christian historian.
Given that, it is long past time “to gather Christian historians together to sign some kind of formal statement condemning Barton’s brand of propaganda and hagiography.”
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Speaking of lying con artists, let’s check in with our friend the “evangelist” Bob Larson: Rogue demon-hunter.
Tisinai coughed up the $9.95 that Bob Larson charges for his online Demon Test®. Larson says “This Test is the result of more than 30 years of research and thousands of hours in a personal ministry with troubled souls. Through this vast experience we have been able to design this test so that we may quickly determine an individual’s spiritual condition.”
Tisinai was disappointed to find how “sadly mundane” Larson’s Demon Test® proved to be. It doesn’t employ any of the cool tricks I’d come to expect from years of watching the Winchester boys on Supernatural. Instead it’s just a bunch of questions likely borrowed from “a standard psychological exam” with a few that come closer to the pop-culture mythology (“Have you asked Satan to take your life in exchange for something?”).
But apparently nothing involving holy water, cold iron or flinching at the name of God. And no questions about levitation, or about suddenly lapsing into ancient Sumerian.
But Larson was at least true to his word in promising to provide a prompt, definitive reply:
So here’s the result: I don’t have a demon. Seriously. Rob Tisinai, confirmed homosexual, gay blogger, not a Believer an any conventional sort of deity. … And I don’t have a demon.
Not even me.
The test, obviously, is a fraud.
Read the whole thing, it’s hilarious.
Tisinai’s conclusion: “It’s better to know your demons and wrestle them than to pay $10 for assurance they aren’t there.”
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Jeremy Hooper on Bryan Fischer: “They really don’t think they verbally abuse us; that’s a big problem.”
Fischer is the feverishly anti-gay spokesman for the feverishly anti-gay American Family Association. He daily repeats the most dishonest, horrible and hateful slurs he can dream up about LGBT people, liberals, environmentalists, moderates and anyone else who isn’t Bryan Fischer.
Yet this same Bryan Fischer recently tweeted this: “Why conservatives do not verbally abuse those who verbally abuse us: ‘When he was reviled, he did not revile in return.'”
That’s one of the most astonishing displays of a lack of self-awareness I’ve ever seen.
Bryan Fischer is a reviler. He reviles. He reviles every day. He reviles constantly. He reviles for a living. Reviling is what he does. Reviling is all he does.
Bryan Fischer is on the short list of candidates for the vilest reviler ever to revile.
Yet here he is congratulating himself for never verbally abusing others.
Bryan Fischer seems to have very successfully achieved a sense of contrived innocence.
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* Update: That phrase “Christian historian” is a bit murky. Fea, and I, are both using the phrase here to mean historians who are also Christians (and not historians who study Christianity). The point is not that historians who are Christians have a particular sectarian approach to the discipline, but rather that Christians make up David Barton’s target audience and constituency.
Barton’s audience has been carefully trained over many years to distrust “outsiders,” so a broader statement from all historians would likely be received as just another form of “persecution” from those Christian-hating intellectuals they’ve been warned about for so long — and thus, perversely, as a kind of affirmation and confirmation of Barton’s nonsense. A statement coming from “Christian historians” — from historians who are Christians, and who can speak the evangelical dialect with a native accent — may be more likely to be heard and heeded. Maybe.
I’m hopeful that John Fea — who teaches at the evangelical Messiah College — will seriously consider doing this. Perhaps with help from Michael Coulter of Grove City College, another conservative evangelical school. Coulter is co-author with Warren Throckmorton of Getting Jefferson Right, a book refuting Barton’s claims about the third president. (For a taste of that, see Throckmorton’s recent Salon piece, “Faux history for the GOP,” or his long history of responding to Barton on his blog.)