Citing historical errors, FRC leader removes David Barton’s Capitol Tour video from You Tube

Yesterday, I learned that Kenyn Cureton, VP at Family Research Council, removed from view David Barton’s Capitol Tour video. The YouTube video was made private on Dr. Cureton’s You Tube account which means that it will not show up in search results or via link. The video advertised the Watchman Pastors aspect of FRC’s work and had over 4 million views. The video had been a source of contention here and among 33 Christian historians who recently made FRC aware of their concerns.

I commend Dr. Cureton and FRC for removing the video which contained several clear errors in a short span of time. On that video, Barton said that Congress printed the first English Bible in America for the use of public schools and that 29 out the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had Bible school or seminary degrees.  Among other stories, Barton also repeated his contention that Jefferson sent missionaries to evangelize the Kaskaskia Indians. None of these claims are true.

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  • StraightGrandmother

    Good work Warren Throckmorton!

  • Lynn David

    Now if the FRC would realize the rest of the errors they propogate.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Well, I’ll be relieved to see the end of the quibbling and let the parts he was right about stand. In your linked essay, you write:

    Aitken seemed to believe that the civil authority had the responsibility to protect Christianity and the citizenry from “spurious and erroneous Editions of Divine Revelation.” Based on that assumption, Aitken wanted Congress to inspect and recommend the Bible he had nearly completed.

    Which is all true, and which Congress did, and an interesting enough claim on its own not to push it further. Which he did.

    The sad and ironic thing is that when and if David Barton is pushed off the public stage [and I can't say I'd be sorry to see him go], the “powers that be” in the universities and schools will go back to their malign neglect of America’s religious heritage: “the Founders were all deists,” the Founding principles were those of the Enlightenment, that sort of whitewash that gave David Barton traction in the first place.

    He didn’t get it all wrong, only half of it, but that’s the only half people were interested in.

  • Ken Leonard

    Well, Tom, if you only get your job right half the time and you’re still employed, then I’m really impressed.

    If half of what a person says to you is dishonest, I think you’re more than justified in calling him/her a liar.

    Sure, David Barton occasionally says something that’s factually accurate. That doesn’t make him a sage or really worthy of any kind of recognition. Maybe someone with integrity should pick up the message you want out there. But if someone is lying with the intent of promoting some kind of religious message, I shouldn’t have to point out the irony.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    The point is that certain people are completely uninterested in what he got right. They do not seek truth, only error, and only to use as a weapon.

    For all Barton’s failings, he attempts to make an affirmative case.

  • Bernie

    I wonder if Barton will counter with some remarks against the FRC?

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

        patriotsheart – doesn’t it bother you a little bit that FRC also sees the errors in Barton’s work? Doesn’t it bother you a little that Barton stealthily corrected himself without telling anyone?

        • patriotsheart

          Stealthily corrected himself? So you think ABC, NBC, CNN would let him on their network and explain this? I think not. Mr. Barton clearly explains what happened with his book. As far as FRC I see Bartons videos on their site and have seen them using his stuff on YOUTUBE.

  • Ed Brayton

    Tom Van Dyke –

    Out of curiosity (and this is a genuine question), who of the “powers that be” in the universities claims that “the founders were all deists”? Are there any influential historians that actually make that claim (which I agree would be a false thing to say and have criticized many times)?

  • Bill Fortenberry

    Well, Tom, by the time Barton is taken off the scene, I plan to have my research known enough to stem the tide. Speaking of which, you should read my article on the conversion of Benjamin Franklin which available online at: http://www.increasinglearning.com/franklin-conversion.html

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Well, hello, Ed Brayton. How’ve’yabeen?

    In direct answer to your question, I was speaking of 20th century revisionism that whitewashed the Christian aspects of the Founding [and as you know, I argue "Christian thought" as in natural law* more than Biblicism]. Anyone can Google “Founders” and “deists” for themselves–or look at the comments sections of your own blogging over the years [or worse, Sister Rodda's!]–and I’m confident the point holds.

    We are still in the throes of the 2nd part of my assertion, that the American Founding is credited far more to the Enlightenment of the later 1600s than to the 500 years of Christian thought that came before it.

    Why is that, you may ask.

    Exactly. ;-)

    And Ed, keep your eye on this Fortenberry fellow. Unlike Brother Barton, he’s got rigor. If and when you get the better of FortenB, it’s on the merit of your arguments, not the lack of his.

    ______

    *Or the history of canon law, per Brian Tierney. Since next to nobody understands medieval Latin, it’s like those centuries of legal/moral/philosophical history simply don’t exist. We don’t even bother. Locke we understand, so we talk about him instead.

    We’re so far from the actual necessary discussion, Ed, that I’m embarrassed for us both, embarrassed for us all. Because I meself remember about 100 words from Latin class and that’s a lot. And nothing.]

    • Richard Willmer

      Mr Fortenberry is rigorous, although our last encounter (to do with the authorship of the Pentateuch) ended in stalemate: he couldn’t really produce conclusive evidence to back his position (he did seem to accept that it was ultimately a matter of faith, not fact), and neither could I (although the dispute over the contents of the Torah between the Jews and the Samaritans is quite powerful ‘circumstantial evidence’ for the position I was expounding).

  • jimmiraybob

    Tom,

    I believe that Ed Brayton asked , “who of the ‘powers that be’ in the universities claims that ‘the founders were all deists’?”

    I assume that you have an answer and just forgot to post it.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Jimmy, Ed Brayton doesn’t need anyone to hold his coat.

  • Ed Brayton

    But Tom, I was asking about the “powers that be” in the universities that you cited, by which I assume you meant academic historians. Instead, you refer me to comments on blog threads. I certainly do hear “the founders were all deists” quite often on “my side” of these arguments and I always go out of my way to correct that false claim. But I’m interesting in hearing about any actual historians who make such a claim because that is specifically what you referred to.

  • Larry Feasel

    Concerning the assertion that many of the Founders had seminary degrees is misleading, whether intentional or not, because during the founding period a

    seminary degree referred to any degree attained at an institution of higher learning, i.e. college or university, unlike today when a religious education is implied by the term seminary degree. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    http://blogs.georgefox.edu/political-science/author/mhall/

    True, Noll and Marsden call these folks “major” founders, but it is easy to slip from a focus on a few to the views of many (e.g. “The God of the founding fathers was a benevolent deity, not far removed from the God of eighteenth-century Deists…” Search for Christian America, 73). They always note that “some” founders were orthodox, but I would suggest this is as misleading as noting that “some” African Americans are Democrats.

    &c. And if you’re going to parse my use of “all,” I withdraw it. It’s a comments box not a formal argument.

    I am not prepared to argue that many founders should be called “evangelical,” but how about Calvinists? If we expand range of founders to include folks like Samuel Adams, Elias Boudinot, Eliphalet Dyer, Oliver Ellsworth, Matthew Griswold, John Hancock, Benjamin Huntington, Samuel Huntington, Thomas McKean, William Paterson, Tapping Reeve, Jesse Root, Roger Sherman, John Treadwell, Jonathan Trumbull, William Williams, John Witherspoon, Oliver Wolcott, and Robert Yates, we get a very different impression of the founding generation (including folks like Roger Sherman who were key players in crafting America’s founding documents (unlike many, but not all, of the more famous founders).

    Very interesting stuff.

  • jimmiraybob

    Jimmy, Ed Brayton doesn’t need anyone to hold his coat.

    If I were to hold his coat it would be as a gesture of courtesy and not out of a perception that he couldn’t handle it on his own. But that wasn’t what I was doing. His was a relevant question and I was interested in the answer.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Not very much interest in the answer, apparently, if it can’t be used as a weapon. Thank me very much.

  • jimmiraybob

    Quit whining.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    My apologies for this “jimmiraybob” person following me to your blog, Warren. As for my old internet foil Ed Brayton calling me out, since he hasn’t checked back in here—Mark Noll and George Marsden have become the gold standard in the American academy for religion and the Founding, and proved my point—we trust that Ed finds the answer from historian Mark David Hall satisfactory.

    There is indeed a common perception–”the Founders were all deists”–that persists even among “Christian” historians, let alone the “secular” ones. No, they weren’t all Jerry Falwell evangelicals–in fact zero of them were–but their God was monotheistic, governed or guided man’s affairs, spoke in the Bible, and there is an afterlife with reward or punishment.

    And that was my point here, not getting sucked into an internet debate that parses my words at the cost of ignoring the ideas behind them. I’m getting too old for that [stuff].

    ;-)

  • jimmiraybob

    My apologies for this “jimmiraybob” person following me to your blog, Warren.

    No need to apologize and no need to flatter yourself. I’ve been coming around these parts long enough to remember a TVD-free comments section.

  • jimmiraybob

    Speaking of apologies, I’m guessing that the person that left this, “…what a smug prick Jefferson was” in the comments a week or so ago will be returning imminently to apologize.

  • Patrocles

    TVD,

    thanks for linking to the

    http://blogs.georgefox.edu/political-science/author/mhall/

    which I didn’t know even if I’m rather knowledgeable about Quakers.

    I agree with Hall: “Founders” should not be limited to a little band of nominal Anglicans with a superficial knowledge of deistical literature. It should not exclude the middle-class inspirators and meddlers nor the unwashed evangelical masses who had to do the dirty work. (For that’s the decisive point against which Barton reacts: rewriting history in an elitist/anti-populist mood and expulsing the Evangelicals from American history.)

  • bman

    Bill Fortenberry: …I plan to have my research known enough to stem the tide.”

    —–

    I am new to your material Bill.

    Your debate on the Tripoli Treaty clause, “America is not a Christian nation” was impressive.

    Its the best answer I have encountered.


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