David Barton: Where is the evidence?

Soon after Thomas Nelson pulled David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies, Barton went on Bryan Fischer’s radio show to sling ad hominem attacks at me. On that show, he promised to release proof that he was right in his claims about Thomas Jefferson. He said at 2:34 into the clip below that he was “releasing pieces now one at a time” which would refute the work we did in Getting Jefferson Right. Again at about 6:50, Barton promised to release information showing how “silly” our claims are. Then at 9:18, he said he is going to “poke him (me) in the eye” with this proof. He followed that threat with a promise to bring out piece after piece refuting my claims, saying “after you get to error number 107 from Throckmorton, people are going to go, golly, I endorsed his book?”

Roll the tape…

Where is the evidence? What is the proof? So far, Barton has engaged in ad hominem attacks and gone on Glenn Beck’s show with straw man distortions of our claims. In the three months since the interview with Fischer, Barton has not released multiple pieces refuting our claims and no one has backed off from their endorsement of our book.

We are waiting.

 

 

Print Friendly

  • Richard Willmer

    There isn’t any.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    I don’t know why you keep beating this dead horse. I think most of the evidence is against you. But, it’s your ballgame. David is at least on solid ground with the Kaskaskia:

    ” Article 3 Kaskaskia Treaty

    “the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for the said tribe the duties of his office and also to instruct as many of their children as possible in the rudiments of literature. And the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.”

    Again, this clearly violates modern separation doctrine. The issue of land you bring up is a smokescreen as to the pertinent point at hand. Who cares about the land. I dont’ care if he gave them a bicycle too! It even talks about the Priest “performing the duties of his office” paid with our money! Does a Priest do missionary work? He sure does!

    Earlier, you also write this:

    “What we do with sovereign nations is distinct from what the federal government does with citizens.”

    Given this violates Natural Law, TJ would disgree with you. “I presume the views of the society are confined to our own country, for with the religion of other countries, my own forbids intermedling.” to Samuel Greenhow, January 31, 1814. TJ confirms the Natural Law involves all people, in every country:

    “[A] Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse. [bold face mine]

    –to James Madison, December 20, 1787

    The only error I see, if he made one, was using the word “missionaries” when he gave them one Priest. That is just semantics and you making a mountain out of a mole.

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

      You are correct that Jefferson did not believe personally in meddling in the religious affairs of other nations. Just as he did not attempt to tell the Kaskaskias what religion to believe in. Jefferson was not a fan of Catholicism as I am sure you know. If he would have sent missionaries to the Kaskaskia, no doubt he would have sent Unitarian ministers. You know he hoped they would come to Virginia. However, Jefferson recognized what the sovereign Kaskaskias wanted – which was a way to pay their priest and worship as Catholics – and he gave it to them as a part of the trade. Nothing more, nothing less.

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

    PS – The United States has used tax money to build and/or refurbish mosques overseas – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/10/tax-dollars-to-build-mosques/

    Now, one has some uncomfortable reasoning to work through here. The writer of the WashTimes oped complains that such projects are in violation of the First Amendment and should not be done. If we buy Barton and oft’s idea, then there was no violation of the First Amendment by Jefferson funding the Catholic church. If it is wrong to build mosques for sovereign nations as a diplomatic exercise, then it was wrong for Jefferson to do the same for the Kaskaskias.

    As I see it, the mosque project does not establish Islam as a state religion. In the same manner, Jefferson’s treaty did not establish Catholicism. The U.S. govt can do things in foreign policy with other nations that they cannot do internally.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren wrote: If we buy Barton and oft’s idea, then there was no violation of the First Amendment by Jefferson funding the Catholic church.

    That’s right.

    and

    “If it is wrong to build mosques for sovereign nations as a diplomatic exercise, then it was wrong for Jefferson to do the same for the Kaskaskias.”

    It isn’t wrong because it doesn’t violate the establishment clause and establish a religion. It’s wrong to help build mosques for sovereign nations because it’s a stupid thing to do.

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

      oft – we agree that there was no violation of church and state by Jefferson’s actions. However, we think it was ok for different reasons. I see no problem with it because the Kaskaskias were not citizens subject to the First Amendment and Jefferson was making a deal. Why you think it was ok, I am not sure. Your answer to Ken will help me figure that out.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    “Again, this clearly violates modern separation doctrine.”

    No it does not, and repeating that false claim over and over doesn’t change the fact that the portion of the the treaty you are taking out of context does not violate the modern concept of the separation of church and state. The treaty was an exchange between the Kaskaskias tribe and the US government, Jefferson offered the tribe something they wanted (a church and priest) for something Jefferson wanted (land). Now Jefferson could have offered them the cash equivalent of a church and priest, but likely they wouldn’t have been interested in that, because US currency was just paper to them. He could have offered them a rec. center with a swimming pool and to pay for a life guard/activities director. But I think Jefferson was smart enough to realize he was much more likely to them sign the treaty if he offered a church and priest.

    Barton falsely portrayed this treaty as Jefferson’s attempt to push a particular religion onto the Kaskasias. Hiding the fact that they were already catholics. So here is a question for you Oft, (lets see if you have more courage than Barton in answering it): Do you believe Jefferson was trying to use this treaty to proselytize to the Kaskasias tribe?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken wrote: Do you believe Jefferson was trying to use this treaty to proselytize to the Kaskasias tribe?

    A better questions might be this: How could TJ not know that a catholic priest was going to proselytize? The Treaty says not everyone was Catholic, not that it matters if they were anyway. Preaching Christ or religion to any Indian not Catholic, or to anyone else, using our money, is a violation of modern separation doctrine. But it’s not a violation because TJ didn’t see it that way regardless of his ulterior motives about the land. Warren’s posting of TJ’s thanksgiving fast mandating pastors to preach is more proof he didn’t believe modern separation doctrine.

    Warren wrote: I see no problem with it because the Kaskaskias were not citizens subject to the First Amendment and Jefferson was making a deal. Why you think it was ok, I am not sure.

    The Kaskaskia were subject to the First Amendment because the 1A is founded on Unalienable Rights. Unalienable Rights is given to every human being on the planet. TJ’s letter to JM saying “every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse” tells us citizenship has nothing to do with unalienable rights. TJ is saying even a foreign govt. “every government on earth” are prohibited for doing this to any people because they are unalienable.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    “How could TJ not know that a catholic priest was going to proselytize? ”

    No one is claiming the Jefferson didn’t know what a priests duties are, and I suspect Jefferson didn’t care if the priest was going to try to spread the catholic religion to any non-catholic Kaskasia (or any other native american tribes) (although, I would image Jefferson would have preferred if the priest was just going to act as a lifeguard at the local swimming hole :) ) . That is irrelevant to my question. Do you believe Jefferson’s intentions were to proselytize when he signed that treaty?

    It wasn’t our money it was the Kaskasia’s money, the US was just spending it how they directed via the treaty.

    “The Kaskaskia were subject to the First Amendment because the 1A is founded on Unalienable Rights. ”

    No, the Kaskasia were no more subject to the 1st Amendment than the Chinese are. And it was no more the US’ responsibility to enforce the 1st Amend. on the Kaskasia than it is for the US to enforce it on the chinese, or any other SOVEREIGN NATION today.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken says Do you believe Jefferson’s intentions were to proselytize when he signed that treaty?

    Probably not.

    Ken says It wasn’t our money it was the Kaskasia’s money, the US was just spending it how they directed via the treaty.

    The Treaty says “the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion…”

    Ken wrote: No, the Kaskasia were no more subject to the 1st Amendment than the Chinese are. And it was no more the US’ responsibility to enforce the 1st Amend. on the Kaskasia than it is for the US to enforce it on the chinese, or any other SOVEREIGN NATION today..

    Then the 1A is not founded on Unalienable Rights. An Unalienable Right cannot be enforced. It exists antecedent to the Amendment.

  • Doug Indeap

    oft,

    The First Amendment’s establishment clause constrains the federal government not to take steps to establish religion. It does not constrain the federal government from entering into trade treaties with sovereign nations; in this treaty, the federal government merely gave the Kaskaskia, comprised largely of Catholics, what that nation desired in trade for land. If you don’t see the fundamental difference between that and other government action, e.g., a statute, that funds or otherwise promotes a church, then there is little more to be gained from discussion.

    And what’s this talk of unalienable rights? The establishment clause says nothing of that; rather, it imposes a limitation on government action. Recall, too, that at the time the First Amendment was adopted, most of the several states had established religions. Certainly, there was no thought that the First Amendment’s establishment clause expressed some unalienable right in this regard that precluded the states from retaining those established religions.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Do you believe it was Jefferson who suggested paying for a church and a priest or did that idea come from the tribe as part of the treaty negotiation?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Doug,

    Chief Justice Reinquist believes as I do that there is no difference in the reasons for why public money supported religion. It doesn’t even matter what nation, or citizenship. What matters is that money was spent to support religion:

    “As the United States moved from the 18th into the 19th century, Congress appropriated time and again public moneys in support of sectarian Indian education carried on by religious organizations. Typical of these was Jefferson’s treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, which provided annual cash support for the Tribe’s Roman Catholic priest and church. It was not until 1897, when aid to sectarian education for Indians had reached $500,000 annually, that Congress decided thereafter to cease appropriating money for education in sectarian schools.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0472_0038_ZD2.html#472_US_38fn5/5ref

    Notice the Chief Justice sees no difference, as you allude to, in another nations’s religion and out own. The free exercise clause encompasses all nations.

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

    oft – Do you agree with the opinions of all Supreme Court justices? If a justice writing it means you agree with it, then I suspect you won’t complain about activist judges.

    Congress did appropriate money for religious education of Indians, just as Congress appropriated money for the PEPFAR program. Many religious groups in East Africa used that money to educate their citizens about AIDS using religious messages. The same allocations to American groups would raise First Amendment issues in ways that giving money to foreign countries doesn’t.

    I also note that the questioning of such allocations is not a modern, activist phenomenon, unless you think of 1897 as recent.

    The most important thing you have done by raising Rehnquist’s opinion is to further discredit Barton. At least Rehnquist gets the facts right. Barton says Jefferson sent missionaries to evangelize the Kaskaskia and then built them a church to worship in after they were converted. At least on the historical events, Rehnquist is right and Barton is wrong. What the facts mean for the First Amendment is a matter of debate. What is not debatable is what Jefferson and the government did. Barton consistently misleads his followers on that aspect of the situation.

  • TxHistoryProf

    It comes down to one sovereign nation doing a business transaction with another sovereign nation. The direct benefit to Americans was land for which cash was given as consideration. How that money was spent after it left our treasury is irrelevant for Americans. The religious services procured with the money had no impact on Americans.

    Unalienable rights are given from nature and cannot be taken away ONLY if a government recognizes them as such and codifies them as protected rights. If the Kaskaskia didn’t recognize the very idea of unalienable rights then the separation issue is a moot point.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    “Notice the Chief Justice sees no difference, as you allude to, in another nations’s religion and out own. ”

    I don’t the evidence for this claim (Rehnquist makes no distinction between foreign and US governments), in the text you quoted or the opinion you cited.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    Reinquist is in-line with the Founding Fathers, activist judges are not. You will need written proof from the founding to support your interpretation. Reinquist, and myself, make this assertion because it’s consistent with unalienable rights, couched in Natural Law, and the fact it is illogical (giving taxpayer money for nations to build churches, but not for our own citizens), otherwise Reinquist would not have used this in his dissent.

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

    oft – Of course, the justices you agree with are correct and the ones you disagree with are wrong.

    I disagree with your interpretation of things but you continue to dodge the fact that Barton misleads people with his claims about missionaries and a church being built to accommodate the converts.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    I’m not dodging anything. I don’t speculate. I want written words from the framers themselves. Let me ask you this, If the Congress makes Treaty’s (Federalist 75), and they are the Supreme Law of the Land, how are one group of people exempt from a part of the law, and others aren’t?

  • Doug Indeap

    oft,

    That Rehnquist, like you, fails to distinguish between an appropriation for a treaty and a regular appropriation by Congress and offers no explanation is hardly an argument in support of your view. Rehnquist’s foregoing assertions about history, moreover, have been shown to be off in critical respects. See Chris Rodda, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History (2006) 86-122 (available free on line http://www.liarsforjesus.com/)

    The quotation by Rehnquist is interesting in that it comes from his dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree. For his claims regarding the intended scope of the First Amendment, Rehnquist recites the various revisions of the precursors of the First Amendment and the debates on those in the First Congress and then simply asserts that “[i]t seems indisputable from these glimpses of Madison’s thinking, as reflected by actions on the floor of the House in 1789, that he saw the Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion, and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects.” Rehnquist’s conclusions, though, hardly follow from the evidence he recites. Indeed, the opposite conclusion is more logical. Madison initially doubted the need for any amendment on the subject because he considered the matter beyond the government’s power anyway; since others insisted on it, though, he was persuaded to introduce a proposed amendment. During the discussion in the First Congress, some expressed a desire to focus the amendment on establishment of a national religion by law. Madison was generally comfortable with much of what others proposed, including that, and he actually made a motion to add the term “national” to a precursor of what later became the First Amendment. As it turns out, though, those versions of the proposal were rejected. The term “national” was omitted and broader phrasing was employed in the First Amendment as ultimately adopted. The explicit consideration and rejection of language focusing the amendment on establishment of a national religion suggests that the ultimately adopted version is not so focused. Not only does Rehnquist’s conclusion not logically follow from the evidence he offers, but Madison, the very founder whose intent he purports to champion, repudiates Rehnquist’s views in other documents Rehnquist simply ignores. See Madison’s Detached Memoranda. In any event, it bears noting that Rehnquist’s is a dissenting opinion of a single justice who failed to persuade even one of his colleagues to join him. Note too that Rehnquist is the only justice to voice such views. The irony is that by offering such a full throated, yet obviously weak argument for the just-no-national-religion claim, Rehnquist effectively undercut it by making so plain the relative strength of the evidence and argument favoring the contrary view.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Doug,

    The Wallace v. Jaffree vote was 5-4. Madison’s Detached Memoranda was after he left office and irrelevant.

  • ken

    Actually Wallace v. Jaffree was 6-3 (Stevens, Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun, Powell and O’Connor concurring, with Burger, White and Rehnquiest dissenting).

    However, what Doug was pointing out was that no other justice joined in on Rehquist’s opinion (all 3 dissenters wrote their own separate opinions).

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    “If the Congress makes Treaty’s (Federalist 75), and they are the Supreme Law of the Land, how are one group of people exempt from a part of the law, and others aren’t?”

    “the Land” refers to the U.S and its territories, not the world. A treaty means that congress is dealing with another nation for which the US congress is NOT the “supreme law.” Thus the law may not apply to the citizens of another nation.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    Re “relevancy” a particular modern Supreme Court Justice’s opinion is no more “relevant” than a Founding President’s opinion after he left office. Even if we are dealing with a majority SCOTUS opinion, Everson, Roe, Lawrence (all opinions with which OFT disagrees) were all majority opinions.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken,

    The burden of proof is still on your side. You need written proof the framers denied unalienable rights to non citizens, otherwise Natural Law rules. In that sense a retired founding President’s opinion is irrelevant IF he no longer represents the people. Roe is unconstitutional; murdering babies was a felony penalized by prison and fine. Everson is also unconstitutional; religion is left to the States. Lawrence decision; the Founding Fathers punished with execution, hard labor, and castration.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    “You need written proof the framers denied unalienable rights to non citizens, otherwise Natural Law rules.”

    No, because I, nor anyone else here, made any claims about the framers “denying unalienable rights” to anyone. that was YOU who brought that up when you were twisting the arguments others here have given. What Warren originally said was that Barton mis-represented what Jefferson was doing (and thereby Jefferson’s opinion on the separation of church and state) in the Kaskaskia treaty.

    Further, Madison opinion is relevant (regardless of whether he was retired or not) because Doug was arguing the Rehnquist was wrong about Madison’s views on religion (and the 1st amendment).

    the rest of your post didn’t make any sense to me.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken,

    I brought up TJ violated the Indian’s unalienable rights because he did according to modern separation doctrine. It’s impossible for Warren to know what TJ was thinking about missionaries. None of us can know that. Doug is wrong about Reinquist’s opinion of Madison because his detached memoranda is after he retired and he didn’t represent the people. Reinquist is correct about Madison’s original view while forming the Constitutition. In fact, JM contradicted himself with his Memorial and what he said at the ratification debates. If religion is left to the States, they can establish whatever religion they want. If a State cannot raise taxes for religion, it isn’t left to the States.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    OFT: You can’t make up the rules. That’s what you are trying to pull here.

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

    Jon – Yes indeed he is.

    oft – I can’t know what Jefferson thought anymore than you can. But we can know what he wrote. He said mission work was the last thing on the list of ways to civilize the Indians. He also said let’s get them in debt so we can strike a deal for their lands. Will you deny this? Really Christian, eh?

    I think you are the only person I have read who thinks the Constitution applied to non-citizens. Is this something you made up or did you get it from Barton?

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    “I brought up TJ violated the Indian’s unalienable rights because he did according to modern separation doctrine.’

    Not any separation doctrine I’m familiar with.

    “It’s impossible for Warren to know what TJ was thinking about missionaries.”

    I don’t recall Warren claiming to know what Jefferson “was thinking.” However, Warren has presented considerable evidence (here and in his book) to support his views about Jefferson’s stance on religion, esp. christianity.

    “If religion is left to the States, they can establish whatever religion they want. If a State cannot raise taxes for religion, it isn’t left to the States.”

    Establishing a religion and taxing the populace to support that religion are not the same thing. It is certainly possible to do the 1st w/o requiring the 2nd.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Jon,

    What rules are you referring to?

    Warren,

    There is no list on this post. Why don’t you put out the list that includes mission work? Unalienable rights are founded on Divine Law.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren wrote: the Constitution applied to non-citizens.

    There are volume’s of framers and ministers talking about natural rights. I’m amazed you even wrote this. All men in a state of nature have unalienable rights at birth. Even the right to bear arms, and to your reputation was a Natural Right; Witherspoon:

    “[a] right to character, that is to say, innocence (not fame). supra note 25, at 123 (Of Politics). Lectures

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

    oft – how did that work out for Indians and blacks? Were their rights inalienable? I understand that the founders talked about natural rights but when it came to applying the concept, who was included?

    Bottom line here is that you have pushed this conversation away from Barton’s misrepresentation of the facts relating to the Kaskaskia Indians. Jefferson did not send missionaries to evangelize the Indians and then built them a church after they were converted.

    You can argue your points about natural rights all day but it will not make Barton correct.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    Madison answers your question about unalienable rights for blacks in the Federalist. I never said Barton was correct or incorrect. In fact, you said TJ made a list that included evangelizing was a way to civilize Indians. Can you post that list? Thanks

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    Not only does the Constitution apply to non-citizens (it applies to everyone), TJ says all other govts. are to give US these Bill of Rights:

    ” Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences.”

    –to JM, Dec. 20, 1787.

  • ken

    oft says:

    November 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Are you claiming that Jefferson supported the idea of the US going to EVERY government in the world and FORCING them to abide by the US bill of rights?

    if not how was he planning on applying them to “every government on earth”?

    Your arguments make little sense.

    As Warren and I (and others) have pointed out several times, the issue was whether Barton’s representations about Jefferson and the Kaskaskia tribe were incorrect (i.e. that Jefferson was NOT trying to convert them to catholicism and was planning on using us tax money to do it). And that Barton has yet to produce this “further evidence” he claimed he had.

    YOU came here trying to defend Barton’s stance (“I think most of the evidence is against you (Warren). But, it’s your ballgame. David (Barton) is at least on solid ground with the Kaskaskia”).

    Barton wasn’t on solid ground, he misrepresented the treaty as an attempt by Jefferson to proselytize to the Kaskasias tribe (something even you admitted was not likely Jefferson’s intent), rather than simply an agreement to buy land from them.