Did we parrot our professors to write Getting Jefferson Right?

Yesterday, on his Wallbuilder’s radio show, David Barton took another swipe at Getting Jefferson Right. More precisely, he said:

The book we recently did on the Jefferson Lies, there’s two professors who came out with a book rebutting it before I’d even released the book! We don’t have to read this stuff, we know it all false.

I know of no other book by two professors which rebuts The Jefferson Lies, so I am pretty sure he is referring to our book. As RightWingWatch blogger Kyle Mantyla points out in his write up of Barton’s show, we announced the May 1st release of our book on May 3rd. Barton’s book was officially released on April 10, 2012.

Stranger still is Barton’s contention that we (including other Christians who have critiques Barton’s writing) are all parroting our secular professors. RightWingWatch has the audio, but here is the relevant portion:

…what’s happened is all these secular guys have been training students that were Christians, but now these Christian kids have been trained with a secular philosophy, they’ve become our professors and they’re just parroting what they heard. It’s not that they went back and check for themselves, they just assumed that their professors were right- they really like their professors, they were nice guys and they were really educated and had three Ph.Ds and they told me all the Founders were atheists. And so now you’ve to Christians repeating exactly what they’ve been taught rather than what truth and what history actually is.

In my case, I took undergraduate history from professors at Cedarville University, a pretty conservative Baptist school. None of my professors there told me that the founders were atheists. Beyond that, I don’t remember much of what they taught, except that the founders were a pretty diverse bunch. In my psychology and counseling graduate training, I don’t think I ever heard anything about the founders.

Mike Coulter is a graduate of Grove City College with his graduate work from the University of Dallas, a pretty conservative Catholic school. We both teach at GCC which is pretty well established as a conservative school, not known for parroting a liberal position.

Mr. Barton, that dog won’t hunt.



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  • Lynn David

    After reading the article you tweeted from the history prof on the Catholic website I’d say Barton is so consumed by the “us vs them” mentality of the far right that he cannot think straight. I don’t know of any person who claims Jefferson was an atheist. I have only ever heard him called a deist who appreciated Jesus as a philosopher – even in my Catholic grade school!

  • Lynn David

    This article for those who may read this and would like to read further:


  • Lynn David

    And I was going to mention that it’s rather hilarious that Barton cannot even get the history of the relationship of the publication/release of his and your book correct.

  • Apparently it is easier for Barton and company to make up lies about those who disagree with him rather than actually dialogue with them. This (sadly) seems to be a tactic of many and only brings harm to the integrity of Christianity and the message of Christ.


  • ken


    I would suggest that every time Barton misrepresents your work, you and/or Mike issue a correction directly to host and an offer to discuss/debate the books (and other issues) live with Barton. After a while, even Barton’s most blinded supporters are going to see him as running from the issue.

  • ken – reading my mind; this is what I have been doing…It has led to at least one upcoming interview which I will disclose closer to the date.

  • Carol A Ranney

    Barton is worshipping a very small and weak version of “God” if he has, as it seems, to resort to lies, personal attacks and twisting facts to defend his faith. As Dave says, it “only brings harm to the integrity of Christianity and the message of Christ.”

  • Carol A Ranney

    I also find it revealing that Barton seems to have mastery of the English language at about an 8th grade level. “all these secular guys…we don’t have to read this stuff, we know it all false.”

  • ken

    Warren Throckmorton says:

    June 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    “at least one upcoming interview which I will disclose closer to the date.”

    cool. If it’s not the “Daily Show” I’d recommend contacting them as well. They have had Barton on 2 or 3 times now. Once to promote the “Jefferson Lies”, so you should demand equal time for your book.

  • Look on the bright side, Warren, it looks like you have gotten under Barton’s skin.

  • Warren, it’s necessary that you set the record straight, and my thanks for doing that.

    When are you going to realise that this is not a “single isolated incident” though? This is how the “culture war” is fought. With lies, some of them far more malicious and mendacious than anything Barton has made up.

    You do a very good job showing people like me that not all Christians are like that. Just 95% of those I have contact with in a political sense (and 5% of those I have contact with in a personal sense).

    You’re doing your part, and some. I just wish that the 95% would get up off their duffs and criticise in public those who are making them look bad.

    I have a question for you too, one I’d like you to think about, but not answer. Do you think Barton believes what he’s said and written?

    I refer you to this document:

    The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling.


    6. Scientific Method

    We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact; and that the faith nature of the results of scientific investigation is evidenced by the investigators’ proselytizing intent, that is, their attempt to transform man into their idea of what man should be.

    We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.

    I’m not at all sure they believe in an objective reality. When facts apparently contradict their beliefs, they feel it only right to ignore them.

  • ken

    Zoe Brain says:

    June 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

    “Do you think Barton believes what he’s said and written?”

    A better question:

    Do you think someone who believes in what he says would be afraid to face his critics?

    As far as your quote from the “Coalition for Revival” I don’t really see the point. If you search the internet long enough, I’m sure you could find a quote supporting just about anything you want. There is an old quote:

    The greatest thing about the internet is that anybody can publish on the internet;

    The worse thing about the internet is that anybody can publish on the internet.

  • Ken – before you write them off as just another bunch of Internet Kooks, have a look at this:


    You’ll recognise some of the names here in the list of authors, George Rekers being possibly the best known.

    Then have a look at their involvement in Florida GOP politics, and the “Christian Counsellors” movement. Bachmann et al. While as a movement they’ve not gained the traction that FOTF etc have, their manifesto has been of significant influence politically, and they’ve actually infiltrated a few state governments through political appointments to the bureaucracy.

    It is not uncommon to have a set of articles of Faith, and to dismiss all contrary evidence as the product of deliberate misrepresentation by political or ideological opponents, without examining it (lest it be true). In my youth, it was the Left that tended to be most guilty of that.

    I’ll quote Post-Modernist Bruno Latour in “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern”

    And yet entire Ph.D programs are still running to make sure that good American kids are learning the hard way that facts are made up, that there is no such thing as natural, unmediated, unbiased access to truth, that we are always the prisoner of language, that we always speak from one standpoint, and so on, while dangerous extremists are using the very same argument of social construction to destroy hard-won evidence that could save our lives. Was I wrong to participate in the invention of this field known as science studies? Is it enough to say that we did not really mean what we meant?