Christian Reconstructionist Takes David Barton to Task for Faulty History in The Jefferson Lies

I don’t know how large American Vision’s audience is but I suspect there is at least some overlap between David Barton’s Christian nation audience and American Vision’s Christian reconstruction constituency.

If so, this article today by Joel McDurmon could cause Mr. Barton some heartburn. Mr. McDurmon offers a devastating analysis of Barton’s chapter on Jefferson’s faith. He begins his critique by grounding it in his worldview:

In short, when we create a false reality of what a Christian and biblical society is or may be, we blind ourselves to the real changes and sacrifices we need to make. And in stretching the facts to create that false reality, we discredit ourselves and hand power and opportunity over to liberals to have free reign. But in the end, we have no one to blame but ourselves, because we have deceived ourselves, lied, and become complacent in the first place.

This is why I wish to offer an overview and partial critique of the important factual errors in Barton’s book. It is important that Christians see and understand the depth of these so they can have a true foundation from which to plan and to move forward.

While I have strong differences with Christian reconstructionism, I understand this starting point. We started in a similar place in our book. We did not write it to attack Christianity (as if fact checking Barton is an attack on Christianity), we wrote the book to uphold our faith. A little later in the article, McDurmon calls me a liberal (compared to McDurmon, most people are liberals). It is all the more striking that McDurmon and I come to similar conclusions about the factual problems with The Jefferson Lies. As with other evangelical figures and groups (Chuck Dunn, Colson’s Breakpoint, World magazine), no one can accuse McDurmon and American Vision of being liberal.

I encourage readers to review the entire article, but here is a taste of McDurmon’s analysis of the claim that Thomas Jefferson was theologically orthodox throughout most of his adult years:

Yet Barton selectively quotes [Benjamin] Rush to give just the opposite appearance of Jefferson’s views. Indeed, he uses this sole piece of butchered evidence to prove his claim that “for nearly every Christian doctrine that Jefferson called into question in his last fifteen years, there were times in his earlier sixty-eight years when he had embraced that very same doctrine as orthodox.”[10] As we have seen, this is utter nonsense, and is unsupported by anything Barton has presented. It is not clear by any means that Jefferson at any time in his life held orthodox Christian views. That anyone would claim otherwise, especially upon such terrible evidence, is a disservice to both historical scholarship and the Christian faith.

With all of these exaggerated and outright dishonest claims about Jefferson, there is indeed one thing about Barton’s book that is apt: its title, The Jefferson Lies. They abound not only from the “academic collectivists” and “deconstructionists,” but in this book as well.

As such, it is no surprise that when alerted, Thomas Nelson reacted as quickly as it did.

Bam! By which I mean, he nailed it.

McDurmon closes by telling his readers that he cannot recommend the book because they would need to fact check everything.

While a book like this needs to be written vindicating Jefferson from much liberal nonsense, the reader nonetheless will need to fact-check nearly every claim Barton makes for accuracy. And this is way too much to ask of the average reader. If that is to be the task, it would be better to skip Barton’s book altogether and go read all of Jefferson’s papers directly, because that what the reader will have to do eventually anyway.

Or you can get Getting Jefferson Right where we do the heavy lifting and point you in the right way.

This article is a significant shift for American Vision. Currently, they are hosting, with Kirk Cameron, a cruise featuring the movie Monumental which prominently features David Barton’s stories. If McDurmon submits Barton’s work in Monumental to the same scrutiny as he did to The Jefferson Lies in this article, then there will be a need for a disclaimer at the beginning and end of that movie.

 

  • Bronxboy47

    You could have avoided most of that “heavy lifting” by simply reading what Chris Rodda had already compiled.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Bronxboy – There are plenty of issues for everybody to research. As good as her work is, just relying on someone else is not intellectually satisfying. Also, we looked at many issues other than the ones she has examined.

  • Lynn David

    Barton is claiming that Thomas Nelson edited the book such that much of his evidence was removed? And further he did not see those edits before the book was published? So Barton is blaming TN? What kind of fool allows a supposedly scholarly book such as he claims TJL to be, to be butchered without his own feedback?

  • TxHistoryProf

    Lynn,

    No respected historian would allow his supporting evidence to be left out knowing critics would come after it. I spoke with Thomas Kidd at a summer history colloquia at Baylor and we were discussing his appearance on Glenn Beck’s “Founders’ Fridays ” in 2009. He received a substantial amount of heat from the academic community. I would assert that any PhD in history worth her or his salt would not publicly put their academic reputation on the line for a an undereducated revisionist historian.

  • Villabolo

    The Ten Commandments of our Founding Fathers

    1. Your neighbor’s religion is none of your concern.

    “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    “Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle.”

    Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1813

    2. You shall not mingle religion with politics.

    And here, without anger or resentment I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.

    Thomas Paine, Common Sense. PDF download from “The Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government.” Pg. 51, Appendix.

    3. You shall not establish any religion above any other.

    ‘We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled “A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill…

    “3. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?”

    James Madison. Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments. C. June 20, 1785

    4. You shall not bar your neighbor from public office on the basis of his beliefs.

    “The proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right.”

    Thomas Jefferson: Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779. ME 2:301, Papers 2:546

    5. All religions shall have equal recognition.

    “The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally past; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read ”departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

    Thomas Jefferson, July 27, 1821, Autobiography. ME 1:67.

    6. You shall be religiously neutral.

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, “thus building a wall of separation between Church

    & State.”

    Jefferson, Thomas. “Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists: The Final Letter, as Sent.” The Library of Congress Information Bulletin: June 1998. Lib. of Cong., June 1998. Wednesday, 7 Aug.

    2010.

    7. You shall exclude the clergy of any religion from your public schools.

    “Ministers of the Gospel are excluded [from serving as Visitors of the county Elementary Schools] to avoid jealousy from the other sects, were the public education committed to the ministers of a particular one; and with more reason than in the case of their exclusion from the legislative and executive functions.”

    Thomas Jefferson: Note to Elementary School Act, 1817. ME 17:419

    8. You shall not disturb the religion and peace of other nations with missionaries.

    “I do not know that it is a duty to disturb by missionaries the religion and peace of other countries, who may think themselves bound to extinguish by fire and fagot the heresies to which we give the name of conversions, and quote our own example for it. Were the Pope, or his holy allies, to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith.”

    Thomas Jefferson to Michael Megear, 1823. ME 15:434

    9. You shall not ban any books.

    “I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this [i.e., the purchase of an apparent geological or astronomical work] can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offense against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? …. for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose.”

    Thomas Jefferson to N. G. Dufief, 1814. ME 14:127

    10. You shall question the Bible.

    “The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”

    Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

    The Age of Reason. Thomas Paine. Chapter I – The Author’s Profession of Faith.

    EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.

    Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

    Ibid. Chapter II – Of Missions and Revelations.

    IT is upon this plain narrative of facts, together with another case I am going to mention, that the Christian mythologists, calling themselves the Christian Church, have erected their fable, which for absurdity and extravagance is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythology of the ancients.

    Ibid. Chapter IV – Of the Bases of Christianity.

    Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

    Ibid. Chapter VII – Examination of the Old Testament.

  • Charles

    I still do not understand why it is so hard for Christians, like you Dr. Throckmorton, to go after Christian reconstructionists the way you have gone after Barton. In my mind, they are just as dangerous. I am beginning to think that conservative Christians do keep reconstructionist literature under their beds and sneak a read at night when no one is looking.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    @ Charles .. Obviously you have not take tne time to look at Dr. Throckmorton’s various blog entries under the heading of dominion, dominionist, or reconstruction.

    Additionally when dealing with a supposed history book the issue is a question of facts and whether the documentation used to support those facts was taken in context or distorted by ommissions or editing. When dealing with ideologies it gets a bit muddier since you are dealing with how people put their faith together and what conclusions they draw. If they deny their ideology .. this can be pointed out by quoting the person in question or authors and peope they support. If some of their ideology violates clear principles of scripture that most Christians follow then .. again .. this can be pointed out. But how a person balances out the various principles of scripture is not as black and white as quoting or misquoting a document.

    Dave

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Villabolo

    Re. the last paragraph of Thomas Paine quotations: a basic problem may well be that some parts of Christianity insist on saying that the Bible is the Word of God. Orthodox Christian doctrine says something rather different (see [Genesis 1 and] John 1)! Apropos of this, I’ve always maintained that the essential failings of reconstructionists, dominionists, bartonists, etc are theological, with other unappetizing features flowing from these central errors.

    Much of the ‘blood, guts and gore’ in the O.T. are simply historical accounts (or myth or saga) there to show us as much how things should NOT be done, as well as how they might be. (A good lectionary will often contain ‘contrapunctal’ [O.T. and N.T.] reading for a particular Mass … the counterpoint being given to us by the Church to challenge us to think in a truly moral way.)

  • TxHistoryProf

    Villalobo,

    Well stated. Religion is personal not a team sport.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ TxHistoryProf

    With respect, I disagree; I would argue that it is precisely because religion IS a communal/societal phenomenon, as well as a ‘personal matter’, that such careful consideration must be given to the relationship between is and power politics.

    When one considers what that relationship should be, I would say that we who are Christians are given a very clear ‘steer’: Jesus himself was, on more than one occasion, tempted to use ‘power political tools’ to advance his agenda, and he resisted that temptation. We should try to do the same.

  • Krista Vessell

    Any religion is a “team sport.” Each individual’s relationship with his Maker is personal.

  • Richard Willmer

    I think that is very well put, Krista.

  • photoshockpenn

    Part of the problem with the revisionist history of David Barton is the fact that by giving false information and spouting this nonsensical history he makes the founding fathers seem as if they actually believed that f fundamentalism was a viable alternative to the Church of England back then. In fact “the Fundamentals of the Faith,” was not in existence until after the tun of the 20th Century.

    Most of the founding fathers would have been part of the Church of England as it was the pervasive church back then, the Congregationalists, the odd dissenter to the CoE were part of the founding fathers but they would not have been in the majority. Frankly the idea of a whole society built on such a strident and virulent form of belief was and is anathema to the founding fathers. They fought a revolution against the power installed by God, for the purpose of being able to think and act for themselves and driven by their own consciences they would have done so to the last man.

    Now though we have such revisionist historians as part of the collective mind that we are again fighting a wholesale war on thinking and actions based on one’s conscience. If as is predicted Willard Mitt Romney wins this election, then we are doomed to a culture of obedience and dictatorial power being wielded for our “benefit,” No benefit will be accrued to us though, we will live under a stern taskmaster, one who brooks no dissent, who cares not for the rights of the minority and is quite happy to dictate the actions of all our citizens. This is the end result of an election that Mitt Romney wins.

  • TxHistoryProf

    Richard and Krista,

    You both make valid points. I want to clarify my statement. A persons choice of religion is personal and that religion should not try to eliminate all other “competition” to become the dominant controlling religion. In other words, religion needs to stay out of politics and focus on the poor,the widow, the orphan,the homeless, and other charitable issues. If one denomination controls national policy it does so a he exclusion of all others as Madison stated in “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religios Assessments”

  • Richard Willmer

    @ TxHistoryProf

    I completely agree that religion never works ‘for the common good’ when used as tool of power politics. That said, religion does, in the ‘real world’, influence polity, and this is why discussions such as we are having are so important: it is how that influence is brought to bear, and what are the fruits of that influence, that is key. And if those ‘fruits’ are the promotion of care for ‘the fatherless, widow and the marginalized’, then it can be judged that religion is performing one of its proper societal functions.

    Given that neither any individual person nor any group of persons has a ‘monopoly on the truth’, it is no bad thing that there are different religious perspectives around.

    (I suspect we may be saying rather similar things, but from different frames of reference? Something like that?)

    @ photoshockpenn

    I think the Election is still wide open, especially if the US economy continues to show some growth (over here in the UK, it seems that our ‘one club golfer’ policy centred on reducing the deficit ‘at all costs’ is not working too well, to put it mildly!). I’ve also noticed that the US gross govt. debt, as a percentage of GDP, has started to fall, and, by the same measure, the gross external debt has been falling for some time. I think a good campaign by the Incumbent could see him re-elected (and – to be absolutely honest – I, like many Europeans, would be very pleased to see that happen).

    But even if Romney (or is it really Ryan?) wins, I doubt that the highly decentralized US political system would allow too much damage of the kind to which you allude to be done. Like us bloody-minded Brits, Americans value their personal liberties, and many appreciate that the liberties of others are ‘part and parcel’ of their own, and if those liberties are seriously threatened …

  • TxHistoryProf

    Richard ,

    We are saying the same thing to an extent. As long as many different religious and irreligious perspectives are influencing public policy where the common good of all is targeted then we have progress. However, to do so with one domineering perspective excludes the civil body politic who have views different from the majority.

    Our debt as % of GDP is RISING contrary to your assertion. In 2011 we exceeded public debt as 90% of GDP and for 2012 it will exceed 100%. We need to reduce our spending and social programs.

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_debt_chart.html

    The sainted UK PM Margaret Thatcher said it best “”The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”

    Our decentralized government allows government to be as close to the people it governs which is where government works best. We don’t believe that national government needs to micromanage us and attempt to mold our behavior.

  • Richard Willmer

    The figures I’ve seen shows that the trend (for gross, but not net, debt) has just ‘turned’. The fall is admittedly very slow at this point. All the major western European countries’ debt to GDP ratio is rising relatively faster than was the US’s until recently, austerity programmes and higher taxes notwithstanding.

    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    To make any serious dent in the deficit would require both spending reductions and tax rises. This is what Thatcher did in 1980-81, and what Cameron is doing now. Of course, this approach can lead to serious problems with regard to economic growth. The Falklands business probably saved Thatcher to ‘fight another day’; the Cameron government is in trouble, although his problems are mitigated by a relatively weak (for now) opposition.

    If an incoming Republican administration were to take the necessary measures substantially to cut the deficit quickly, the result would probably be an fairly big shift in the balance of seats in Congress in the 2014 Election. People want quick answers, but the economic problems we face are very deep-seated. They are much much worse in the UK, of course, since our manufacturing base has all but disappeared. At least you still have GM!

    I understand your point about (arguably) overweening national government. My reading of the situation is that both party programmes are in their different way tending in this direction; it’s really a matter of which ways one might prefer to be ‘interfered with’! In my view, it was really only Ron Paul who presented a coherent political programme that moved things in the direction of ‘decentralization’. Apologies if this sounds a little cynical!

  • Richard Willmer

    Anyway, we’d probably better not get diverted into the relative merits of the competing programmes, such as they are (and I think there’s still very considerable uncertainty, especially on the issue of taxation), set before the US electorate!

  • Tracy

    Interesting discussion, which i will segway back to Barton. Does Barton have any opinions about the Christian faith of Alexander Hamilton? I have never heard of any and would doubt that he ever went near a church. Nonetheless, I have always respected Hamilton for his razor sharp mind.

    Per the discussion above, I believe in a strong central government with other things left to the states. You cannot run a nation with 50 parts of it going down 50 different paths, which appears to me to be what Barton would like to see. As for fixing the deficit, I thought the key issue was jobs. Oops!!! That’s right. If you will recall, the primary issue was jobs, jobs, jobs on election day 2010. On the day after election day 2010, no one in the Republican Party ever heard of the word “jobs,” and Mitch McConnell changed the subject to the budget deficit. Did any of you notice that?

    Because you guys have stated your preferences above, here is my preference. If the only way out of this economic mess is to institute tough and sacrificial economic measures, I would like to know that the President doing it has a heart with some kindness, compassion, and love of Jesus in it. I fail to see any of that on the GOP side. In my local newspaper (Knoxville, Tennessee) in nearly every Letter to the Editor written by GOP folks, the uniform message is that the poor, sick, homeless, struggling elderly, etc. are all lazy people who made poor life choices. Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, etc. are all salves that keep people from feeling the sharp pain of punishment that they deserve for their failures in life. Take those salves away and Introduce the painful punishment that these people so richly deserve, then, given a choice between death by starvation and starting their own successful businesses, they will all “snap out of it” and become useful citizens who pay their own way. By doing that, the GOP folks insist that they will get to keep more of their money, which they claim is stolen from them through taxes, so they can build bigger barns. It is my understanding that Mr. Barton is right in there with them, even trying to create new Christian theology to support doing away with the minimum wage.

    If we are truly a Christian nation, as Mr. Barton so often proclaims in his dubious historical weavings, and the sentiments I just described are what we should be striving to “once again become” as this so-called Christian nation, why is it that I see absoluetly nothing of Jesus Christ in the attitude and sentiments of the GOP folks who write those letters to my local newspaper—and numerous ones of them claim to be born-again Christians. Can anyone explain this to a poor old United Methodist like me?

  • TxHistoryProf

    Tracy,

    I see your point. Those same GOP folks need to realize also that it is the job of the church to take care of the very people they vilify for “poor life choices”. Some people do make poor life choices. Many out of ignorance of alternative choices. Churches could take these people in, show them the right way to make good choices and teach them self reliance that started in 1607 when John Smith told the settlers of Jamestown “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”. Amazingly they began to work to eat and the colony began to turn around.

    Barton and gang sit on a pedestal looking down on the poor rather than doing as the Bible commands by taking the burden off of government by taking care of the less fortunate among us.

    Richard,

    Thatcher and Reagan both cut spending while raising taxes. It works. In Reagan’s second term he cut taxes to spur economic growth. As long as unions demand wages and benefits in excess of market demand, we will lose our manufacturing base.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tracy

    I rather suspect that Barton would like to see 50 different paths only when it suits him.

    (It’s also interesting to see Thatcher cited above – politically, she was a great ‘centralizer’.)

    I know what you mean about the ‘rhetoric’. It’s very depressing, and of no use whatsoever when it comes to doing something about the real socio-economic problems of our societies.

    As for having a strong central authority: well one big argument in favour is what I call the ‘acid rain’ argument (why should state A be allowed to pollute and cause acid rain to destroy the forests in state B?).

  • Richard Willmer

    (Just an aside: I suspect that never before in human history have those of us in ‘developed western societies’ been so dependent upon each other; my ancestors could grow [at least some of] their own food in their little plots, but I – living as I do in a smallish apartment with no yard [I'm using American terminology here ... I would say 'flat' and 'kitchen garden' to my fellow Brits] in the centre of a big city – rely on others to grow the food that keeps me alive. The plight of the average British farmer, whom I rarely, if ever, meet in my daily life, is inextricably bound up with my own! Yet we so often allow ourselves to think, speak and act as if others’ fates have little or nothing to do with our own. Perhaps this is the fundamental problem we face? Just a thought for a Monday morning …)

  • TxHistoryProf

    Richard,

    You don’t see those farmers because the U.S. feeds the world as Jefferson originally envisioned America as a nation of yeoman farmers leaving the industrial complex in Europe. Well, that didn’t last long due to Hamilton and his ilk.

  • Richard Willmer

    Now I understand! (These days things are are just ‘complex’ over here; the industry has gone!)

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    From what I gather from the article and the comments… Trinitarians will literally flay and slowly roast Unitarians in God’s Holy Name if given the chance. And Barton’s Great Crime was breaking the 11th Commandment – thou shalt not get caught. Or rather, thou shalt not be too obvious when thou liest, lest that make the rest of us look bad.

    I don’t think McDurmon’s judged this right though, since he wants to seize political power “In Jesus Name!” . The Big Lie works just fine in politics, tell the Rubes what they want to hear and whether it’s obvious rubbish or not is irrelevant. Politically, he’d have been better off supporting Barton, whose influence on the Texas GOP and GOP policy platform is profound.

    If Christians cannot stand and tell the whole truth bravely, we lose several important things:

    1) We lose the moral high ground in criticizing liberals who distort history

    2) We lose credibility when our own exaggerations are exposed publicly

    3) With number 2, we lose influence in society

    4) Most importantly, by papering over the deep faults of our revered figures, we lose the ability to chart the proper course forward.

    Perhaps “losing the moral high ground” is recognition that knowingly telling lies, being intellectually dishonest, is wrong. That like Murder, Rape, Theft, it’s something one just should not do.

    Maybe. Perhaps. But in political terms it means something different. It means looking worse than one’s opponents. Which is politically damaging. This seems to be the main concern, nothing to do with “ethics” or “morality”. God is on their side, so nothing is forbidden in His Holy Name.

    *Sigh* We’ve heard it all before.

    And in stretching the facts to create that false reality, we discredit ourselves and hand power and opportunity over to liberals to have free reign.

    It never occurs to him that they might deserve it, under those circumstances.

    He agrees (largely) with Doug Phillips, of Vision Forum, who wrote:

    My first thought after reading about the withdrawal from Thomas Nelson was this: Something else is going on. Even if the accusations were true, this withdrawal is an unprecedented move against a giant of the Christian community by a company that publishes a broad spectrum of books, more than a few of which could easily come under scrutiny for containing inaccuracies.

    After all, they’re a Christian publishing house, and mere factual accuracy isn’t as important as Spreading the Good Word. Why pick on Barton? Others are as bad, or worse.

    It’s the most pernicious form of Post-Modernism, not that they’ve ever thought of it that way. The idea that there is no objective reality, everything is subjective and open to interpretation, and thus a work’s worth can only be judged by how well it supports a pre-determined agenda. They do this, and assume that everyone else must do too.

    You can see this in a quote I’ve given before:

    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.

    – The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling

    The concept that someone with a humble and contrite heart, willing to admit their own fallibility, could honestly and sincerely attempt to discover reality, and go wherever the evidence takes them, eludes them completely.

    Hence W.Throckmorton the Liberal, the Heretic, and perhaps the Demon-possessed.

    We’ve heard it all before, and if anyone like this gains power, it goes ill for the rest of us. As it did in Geneva.

  • ken

    TxHistoryProf says:

    September 3, 2012 at 2:59 am

    “Thatcher and Reagan both cut spending while raising taxes. It works. In Reagan’s second term he cut taxes to spur economic growth. ”

    I don’t know where you are getting your information from, but Reagan didn’t cut spending at all while in office. From 1982 to 1989 government spending went from: ~$745 Billion to $1.14 Trillion, and with deficit spending every year he was in office (ave. ~$180 Billion in deficit per year).

    Also, Reagan cut taxes in his 1st term, he RAISED them in his 2nd term (although, not as much as he cut them so the overall effect was a lowering of taxes under Reagan).

    you can get a table form of the data here:

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/budget.php

    and spreadsheets you can play with here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Zoe

    You say “From what I gather from the article and the comments… Trinitarians will literally flay and slowly roast Unitarians in God’s Holy Name if given the chance.”

    What comments? I don’t think anyone commenting here has suggested anything of the sort!

  • TxHistoryProf

    Ken,

    I stand corrected. You are exactly correct. I had it flipped and wrong on the reduction in spending. However he did make deep cuts in social programs like Social Security. My dad’s survivor benefits originally covered me until age 22 as long as I was in college. Reagan reduced it to age 18. It did t hurt me and helped our nation. I joined the army in 1986 to do my part in the Cold War at its tail end until I got out in 1994. Lol it seems like yesterday. My memory is playing tricks. Ah, aging! Lol

  • Richard Willmer

    @ TxHistoryProf

    I think you highlight an interesting point here: some tax / welfare benefits are not actually needed by those for whom they are intended, and there may well be an opportunity to make ‘savings’ in this area. I could cite two clear examples of this very ‘close to home’ (but I’m not going to go into details, as I’m not a US Presidential candidate!!!).

    Perhaps we have a ‘cultural’ problem in our two societies? Maybe those of us who do not need tax breaks (and / or avoidance schemes) and benefits should be more prepared to ‘admit it’, so that there are more resources (which would not necessarily simply be ‘cash’, of course) available for those who do (and I meet plenty of people who, as far as I can tell, DO – in order to get a ‘leg up’ into, say, further education)?

    I wish I could find it again, but I did once see a very interesting extended commentary on the relationship between sustainable economic growth and wealth distribution. One thing I remember very clearly is that key aspects of the distributions of wealth in both the US and the UK were eerily similar in early 2008 and early 1929.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @Ricard Willmer – not the comments on this site. The comments on McDurmon’s site.

    Ones like this:

    In this entire comment, you did not state the Biblical doctrine of the trinity once. Unitarians are not Christians, because they do not believe in the God of the Bible, Who is triune. You may not like that, but it doesn’t matter, because that is how God presents Himself to be. What He says about Himself is the true definition of Himself. Jefferson is in hell, and you will go there when you die, too, unless you repent of your belief in a false unitarian god. I hope you will repent, and believe it or not, that’s the only reason I made this comment.

    Thomas Jefferson CLEARLY had a Christian worldview and was a brilliant man, and hated Calvinism and its rotten fruit, and I AGREE WITH HIS REASONS. But your post is mostly nonsense, though I agree the Lord is very merciful towards those whose understanding of things is lacking or even wrong. I believe Michael Servetus went to heaven, and John Calvin the murderer is in Hell – 1John 3:15

    Sevetus was burned at the stake in Geneva for the abominable heresies of nonTrinitarianism and anti-Paedobaptism..

    As Calvin said about the matter: There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.

    Legally of course, as he wasn’t a citizen of Geneva, the maximum penalty was banishment. But you know what Dominionists say about God’s law trumping Man’s, and they’re the only ones who get to say what God’s law is.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    When engaging in Combat for His glory, be it Spiritual Warfare or Cultural Warfare, it is vital of “forget all humanity”.

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