American History X: David Barton

by Lorette C. Luzajic
Part 28 of Pillars of Faith

Thou Shalt Not Lie

David Barton is reclaiming America for the Lord. He is tirelessly educating Americans about their historical roots and beloved constitution. He talks about the secular invasion in America, and he’s taking it back and giving it to God.

We’ve heard about one nation under god so often that we believe it. We know that in the beginning, God wrested America from the pagan hands of the devil’s children and gave it to his righteous servants.

But this is wishful thinking. Barton and his kind are Christian Revisionists, revising and denying history and spreading lies to suit an ideological agenda.

“The notion that America was founded as a Christian nation is a central animating element…of the Christian Right…The idea that America’s supposed Christian identity has somehow been wrongly taken, and must somehow be restored, permeates the psychology and vision of the entire movement,” writes Frederick Clarkson in The Public Eye.

The End Justifies the Means

Pullquote: “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church… a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie. Such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”
Martin Luther

Christian Reconstructionists don’t just re-construct a nation for God- they reconstruct facts. And history revisionism is a huge part of the movement. Forget that the Old Testament law that they aspire to return to forbids false witness. Lying is a standard modus operandi for so many “Christian Nationalists.” The end justifies the means.

We don’t have room for all details- suffice it to say that the word “God” was not in the Constitution, and the founding fathers, Christian or not, were adamant about separation of church and state. “We’ve seen how religious beliefs (and other ideologies) inspire people to view others as subhuman, deviant, and deserving of whatever happens to them, including death. It is the stuff of persecution, pogroms, and warfare. The framers of the U.S. Constitution struggled with how to inoculate the new nation against these ills…” wrote Clarkson.

And “In God we Trust” did not become the official motto until 1956.

Enter Christian Nationalist David Barton, a major player in the Texas Republican Party, and founder of WallBuilders, a Dominionist group hell bent on “restoring” theocracy. Time (2005) named him among the 25 most influential evangelists. He is on the advisory committee for National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, and for Providence Foundation, “training and networking leaders to transform nations.” Reconstuctionist groups like Providence ultimately aim to “reinstate” Old Testament law, including the stoning of homosexuals, witches, and disobedient children.

Barton lectures and ministers all over the Christian and mainstream media, given a voice by bigwig networks of all faith stripes, spreading his fiction gospel about the roots of the nation. He insists in The Myth of Separation that only Christians should hold office!

His flock won’t balk at his extremist views- or his falsehoods. Goaded by “authority” figures like James Dobson, the late D. James Kennedy, and Glenn Beck, they praise Barton for holding up the Constitution. His teachings inform politicians, too. Never mind that Barton has lectured alongside holocaust deniers for white power “Christian Identity” groups like Scriptures for America. Barton claims he didn’t know, a weak protest for someone so politically astute.

Revising History

Barton’s research in his speeches and books is convincing- how can all those facts be wrong? With so many quotes and references to so many documents, he makes a strong case even if we don’t like that case, no?

No. History scholars refute Barton’s teachings. He misquotes past presidents, and twists their ideas. He deliberately leaves out quotes and distorts contexts.

He also makes it up as he goes along.

Barton has been thoroughly debunked. Rob Boston writes frequently on this, showing us that scholars have questioned quotes pumped by Barton and attributed to the founders. Not only did they find no sources for many facts and quotes, but Barton himself admitted some were bogus!

He’s an admitted liar. His education is from Oral Roberts University, ahem. But now he reviews material for curriculum textbooks. And his words are as good as God to homeschoolers. Say what?

AFTER all of his lies became common knowledge, Barton’s influence and popularity increased. Go figure.

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  • Cletus

    “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church… a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie. Such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”
    Martin Luther

    According to the Bible, the devil is the father of the lie, and it’s the truth that sets one free. Apparently, Luther was possessed by the devil, while alive, and went straight to hell when he died.

    That is, if the Bible was anything but poorly written fiction, and there were any such things as the devil or hell.

    • Len

      The truth is still the truth, even if no-one believes it. A lie is still a lie, even if everyone believes it.

  • LRA

    The easiest way to defeat Barton and his ilk is to teach directly from the primary resources. Since that is a major element of any history class, dealing with his lies is actually a fairly easy thing to do (IMO).

  • krissthesexyatheist

    The book Liars For Jesus points out many of his distortions. For example he takes something said in a state document and says it is a federal document. Dude is totally dangerous because many homeschoolers use his books. Great post.


    • LRA

      Which is why I maintain that homeschooling parents should be required to pass teaching certification tests in order to teach.

      • Custador

        I’ll go you one further: They should have to teach to a similar curriculum as public schools and their kids should have to pass their SATs / GCSEs (delete as applicable).

        • LRA

          LOL! BRGrulker and JonJon are gonna get us now!


    • Peter Cross

      Liars for Jesus by Chris Rodda

  • Alexis

    Perhaps he should have a face off with this guy:

  • nazani14

    Reminds me of Marcus Garvey’s goofy notion that the 18th and Ptolemaic Dynasties of Egypt were actually Nubian or sub-Saharan Blacks.

  • PsiCop

    The key to Barton’s success lies in this statement:

    “History scholars refute Barton’s teachings.”

    You see, the “scholars” are all just eeevill “secularists” who want to abolish all religion and destroy believers. That they disagree with, and have refuted, Barton, merely confirms that he’s actually correct. Those “scholars” wouldn’t be taking the time to refute and condemn him, if he were not actually correct in what he says. Because he dares stand up to these “secularists” who want to kill off religion and believers in the US, they are trying to wipe him out, you see.

    In the eyes of the people most likely to listen to him, anyway. The whole scenario is bullshit, of course, but when you’re emotionally invested in an ideology and a religion and have been rendered delusionally paranoid by it, that kind of bafflegab makes sense to you.

    People like Barton cannot be defeated, because there is nothing that can ever happen to them that they will interpret as anything other than a “victory.” They can only be resisted. And they need to be resisted, no doubt about it.

  • michael

    Are Americans that dumb and gullible to fall for all that crap? I think it really is time to re-name America: “The United States of Dumbfuckistan”! Be careful cause it appears that Americans may eventually be labeled the dumbest people on Earth!!

    • Japanther

      I mean Really?
      Who talks like this?
      !!! ! !!

    • LRA

      Whatever, Canook! Your science minister is a creationist. Those in glass houses, and all…

      • LRA

        ps. There are a lot of smart Americans fighting off this bs.

        • Japanther


        • LRA

          pps. I find it difficult to believe that we Americans are an entire nation of dumbf*cks when we have schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, etc. etc. etc. What has Canada got???

          • Japanther

            Small penises.

            —Side note—
            My somewhat racially insensitive dad calls them ‘Upper Mexicans’. It’s probably a hockey thing though.

          • LRA

            Wellesley, Penn, the UC schools, University of Chicago, Barnard, NYU…

          • wintermute

            Very few people get to go to Harvard or Yale.

            • Japanther

              I think that’s why LRA kept listing colleges. I had a response that is awaiting moderation. (:<

            • LRA

              My uncle went to Harvard and I went to Columbia. We are both Texans. I’m just sayin’. Not all Americans (or Texans) are ignoramus Barton types.

            • Japanther

              I'm Texan too.

            • LRA

              (ps My aunt… my uncle’s sister… went to Oxford. Unfortunately my dad only went to Univ. of Houston. But he got married to my mom at 20 and had me at 23. So, the lesson is…stay in school kids, and don’t get knocked up!!!!!!!!!!!)

            • LRA


            • michael

              Wasn’t G.W. Bush a Texan, too? Didn’t Texans overwhelmingly support Bush and his “war” in Iraq?

            • Ty

              Yeah! Texas gave us GWB!

              That state has a LOT to answer for…

            • japanther

              George W. Bush is not from Texas. In your face! (:

              From Wikipedia Born July 6, 1946 (1946-07-06) (age 64)
              New Haven, Connecticut

            • Ty

              No, he isn’t FROM Texas, but you guys elected him Governor, and gave him the platform from which to run for president.

              He is YOUR fault.

            • michael

              Are the tuition fees part of the problem? Between university and health care, anyone coming out of US universities are appallingly debt ridden. Unless you are born with a gold spoon in your mouth, you don’t get to go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton…….etc. One request: Could somebody name the last president who did graduate from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford…..etc. Our greatest prime minister P.E.Trudeau did graduate from the “London School of Economics”. What President graduated from that institution?

              ps: I do appreciate Americans and their great institutions of learning…..unlike some of you who seem to hate those who aren’t born in “god-bless-America-land” and aren’t cursed with a 13+ trillion dollar debt!

            • japanther


              Also, I do not understand your post-script.

            • LRA

              My family is *NOT* rich! Not even a little. My uncle graduated with 4.0 from college and got a scholarship. My aunt went to Oxford on a Rotary Scholarship. I went to undergrad on a scholarship, and took out student loans to go to Columbia (which covered the cost of tuition– I worked to pay the cost of living). You absolutely do not have to have a silver spoon to go to a good school.

            • michael

              @japanther: what’s not to understand?

            • michael

              Dubya attended Yale?! How embarrassing for Yale! Yale offers basket weaving courses?

          • michael

            We fortunately don’t have a crippling debt(over 13 trillion) that will NEVER be paid off! The term “Dumbfuckistan” was thought by an American to describe places where there is a plethora of Republicans who would vote for jesus as President. You may have some great universities but why don’t they produce great presidents that wouldn’t sell their country away to the Chinese just for a ticket on the “rapture express”?

            • japanther

              We had one. Under Bill Clinton, we had a surplus of income. We were preparing to pay down that debt, but then we had a little Bush problem.

              You may have some great universities but why don’t they produce great presidents that wouldn’t sell their country away to the Chinese just for a ticket on the “rapture express”?

              It would take only one US President who didn’t sell the country for a rapture express ticket to demolish the implications of your question. 44 out of 45 of our presidents satisfy your question. (97.77%) Dubya is the only Rapture-believer that I am aware of. Maybe if Palin or Huckabee wins in 2012 or 2016, you could be slightly less wrong. Slightly.

            • LRA

              Yeah, people like to call Texas and other southern states “Dumbf*ckistan”, and yet 48% of Texans voted for Barak Obama!!!! And guess what… because of our growing Latino population, our Democratic party is growing!

              ps, just a few years back, we had a woman, Democrat governor… Ann Richards. She was kick*ss!

              So, no not all of us are republitard dumbf*cks.

            • michael

              Let us all hope Sarah Plain doesn’t get the ticket! @LRA: I do know that not all Americans are Dumbfuckistaners. What worries me is the growth of the neo-nazi christian influence in American politics. We may be just across the border but eventually the politics down south may migrate north…..that is if the “moral minority” don’t kill each other off in the struggle for absolute power.

            • LRA

              I worry about it too! In fact, I’ll be applying to science and society PhD programs because I’m joining the scholarly fight against dumbf*ckery.


            • michael

              You mentioned Palin and Huckabee but you forgot to mention Pat Robertson……President Pat Robertson…….mmm, it seems to roll off the tongue so easily.

            • Yoav

              Wasn’t Sarah Palin voted the preferred republican 2012 nominee by democrats? Last time she was a bit of a novelty, by now anyone except the of the edge bonkers teacups know what a moron she is. Hell, even Bill O’rilly admitted that he don’t think she is qualified to be president.

            • michael

              In America English is the primary language and Spanish is the second most spoken language. Should China call in the loans, perhaps y’all should learn Chinese as soon as possible. With any luck, the US government could give California, Oregon and Washington to the Chinese…….ah hell, just give them Utah and get rid of the Mormon problem.

            • michael

              @Yoav: 1. All she has to do is hold up a gun in one hand and a bible in the other while kissing her children. 2. She just has to open her mouth to say she’s opposed to abortion and gay rights. The teacups will come out of the woodwork in droves to make “it” President Sarah Palin.

            • Sunny Day

              That’s Great. The more unedumacated tea brained idjits we have on the republican ticket the easier it will be to scare people into voting for the other guy.

              Then again Richard Black could be right and we’ll elect the scary President to put fear in the hearts of our enemies.

          • Jasowah

            I know a lot of people who go to the states (from Canada) to do their schooling.

            But I’m told it’s because it’s a bit easier. =P

  • japanther

    George W. Bush is not from Texas. In your face! (:

    From WikipediaBorn July 6, 1946 (1946-07-06) (age 64)
    New Haven, Connecticut

    • michael

      Oh dear, my mistake. But wasn’t he Govenor of Texas at one time? Connecticut?…..oh well, there goes the neighbourhood!

      • Ty

        His political career (which is the only part of him I care about) is entirely Texas’ fault.

        • michael

          Not entirely….a lot of blame rests with “the lord”. “Jesus saves”?……naw, Jesus sucks…..every nickel and dime out of American’s hard earned money to pay off the “holy war’ with Islam. Stephen King may write average horror novels but Craig Unger wrote the most frightening book I have ever read: “The Fall of the House of Bush”. SCARY!

          • Japanther

            Michael you need a little voice to tell you ‘no’ sometimes. You started out strong there, but your 3rd sentence fragment yet again yields to your conspiracy-theory tendencies.

            • michael

              You think so? my-my-my.

            • japanther


            • michael

              My comment had to do with the little lie Dubya told the American people about WMD in Iraq, that started a war that will eventually cost the taxpayers over 13+ trillion dollars. What amazed me at the time was how the incredibly gullible American public fell for this little lie, despite efforts by those in the know who tried to expose it for what it was. I think if there are some who want to make the American people think that Benjamin Franklin was a pentocostal, born-again believer, they will do it and everybody will fall for it ….hook, line and sinker! I’m tired of American christians who call the US “God’s Holy Nation”. A 13 trillion dollar debt…..what a blessing indeed! God must really love y’all. What’s wrong down there? Is it the drinking water or is it just too damn hot?