David Barton: There Are About A Dozen Colleges That Are Right

These days David Barton’s historical work would not well received at many colleges and universities. There are dozens of Christian academics, and many more outside of Christian settings, who have raised significant questions about Barton’s accuracy and conclusions. However on his broadcast yesterday (Oct. 16), he suggested that there are about a dozen Christian colleges which are receptive to him. Barton said:

There’s about a dozen universities out there across America that we know of and deal with that are right biblically cause they believe what the Bible says, they’re very pro-America, they’re very pro-Constitution, the Constitution that God was involved in that, that it reflects biblical values, and so those are the guys that are good to go to to get a perspective. And we thought you know, one of the theologian guys that is really good on this is also the president of a university, Oklahoma Wesleyan University which is a great university, one of these that’s, it’s right on the Bible, right on the Constitution, right on American history.

Barton then introduced Dr. Everett Piper as his speaker on theological liberalism.

For his part, Piper is glad to be endorsed by Barton, tweeting

What I get out Barton’s statement is that if you question Barton’s claims, then you are not right biblically, not pro-America, pro-Constitution, or right on American history.  Reminds me of his claim that those who question him are just repeating our pagan training.

I suppose it is encouraging that there are only 12 schools remaining that need to see the light.

I propose that there is a great divide between those (apparently) few evangelical schools which Barton approves and the others which he rejects. While we probably agree on many things, there may be a great difference in what students are learning in the history classes.

  • Daniel S Brown, Jr., Ph.D.

    Barton makes up his statistics the same way he makes up his other facts and data. Only 12 colleges are right. Ha. Even his introduction of Dr. Piper is wrong. Piper’s degrees are in student personnel and higher education administration. He is no theologian. I venture to guess here that he (Piper) chose not to correct his host (Barton) on live radio to save face for Barton and himself. He should have. Piper is one of the few well-known Wesleyans who linked arms with Charles Colson and talks cogently about issues in terms of “worldview.” Piper has a book titled provocatively “Why I am a liberal and other conservative ideas.” Something like that.
    OkWU was formerly Bartlesville Bible College.

  • ken

    “I propose that there is a great divide between those (apparently) few evangelical schools which accept a Bartonian view of history and the others who do not. While we probably agree on many things, there may be a great difference in what students are learning in the history classes.”

    I’d be curious to also see what these colleges teach in their bio classes w/ regards to evolutionary theory as well.

  • inca nitta

    I think what Barton is saying that almost all colleges in America are academically slanting towards liberalism, critical of the Bible, and want to have our Constitution altered if not abolished altogether. It’s been like that for the past 50 years or so.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren Throckmorton

    inca nitta – Then he would be wrong. There are many schools who aren’t liberal, like the Bible and like the Constitution. Why they aren’t in the 12 is because their history profs refuse Barton’s kool aid.

  • Charlieford

    One of the best ways to illustrate just how explicitly “religious” the US Constitution is, is simply to compare it with some other Constitutions. Look at the opening statements of the constitutions of Iraq or Afghanistan, eg, and see the ways in which they proclaim themselves Islamic republics, and acknowledge the Koran as a source of fundamental law.

    Or check the constitution of Ireland, which says,

    “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
    We, the people of Éire,
    Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial . . .”

    Or, one might look at how Christians in the US used to view our Constitution. A collection of Presbyterians concluded, for example, that the Civil War was God’s judgment on the nation for NOT acknowledging Him in our Constitution, and proposed amending the preamble to read,

    “We, the people of the United States,
    humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government, and in order to form a more perfect union . . .”

    Folks such as Barton just breeze past all that and treat the Constitution as if it said the things it doesn’t. It’s similar to the way contemporary “Constitutional conservatives” have taken to reading the Constitution as if it were the embodiment of Antifederalist political theories.

    No wonder there’s only 12 schools that actually teach this nonsense . . .

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    Charlieford# ~ Oct 19, 2013 at 10:59 am
    One of the best ways to illustrate just how explicitly “religious” the US Constitution is, is simply to compare it with some other Constitutions.

    Not really—religion was left to the states.

    Contrary to popular perception, 12 of the 13 states still had religious tests for state office, and they were not nullified by the First Amendment, which reads
    Congress shall make no law…”

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2010/01/ray-soller-on-new-yorks-religious-test.html

    and 48 of the 50 state constitutions have God in them.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2009/08/in-answer-to-godless-constitution.html

    Look it all up for yourself. This isn’t David Barton “kool-aid,” it’s American history. For all his errors, he has a point. Otherwise intelligent and educated people like yourself have been miseducated.

  • Patrocles

    Dr.Throckmorton pretended:
    “There are many schools who aren’t liberal, like the Bible and like the Constitution. Why they aren’t in the 12 is because their history profs refuse Barton’s kool aid.”

    I wonder, what’s with those history profs? What’s with Grove City’s own Michael Coulter? Do those historians tell their pupils that most State Constitutions rely on God and that nobody of the Founding Fathers wished to change that by the First Amendment? Or do they keep silent about that fact – because they think it’s inconvenient – and take part in the “miseducation”?

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    Warren, just so you know on a personal level that I would not talk behind your back–but you are now a public figure, DOCTOR Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College and of the Patheos and Huffington Post blog empires—the comments section on my colleague Jonathan Rowe’s post at my homeblog

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2013/10/throckmorton-david-barton-there-are.html

    is getting VERY interesting, as it has expanded to your Grove City College and the future of “evangelical” colleges on the whole. Some very sharp discussants.

    As well as at your post here, including Daniel S Brown, Jr., Ph.D. Your readers are invited to read and comment, and of course your ownbadself. [Your self-appointed Attack Chihuahua who's been harassing Ann might try his luck in the comments as well, but I question whether he can hang on neutral ground.]

    Word up, as a courtesy. Best regards, as always.—T.

  • Emily K

    The 14th amendment and general strengthening of the Federal government that took place after the Civil War made establishment of state religions unconstitutional, as it is grounds for discriminating against citizens. See more at: http://religionandpolitics.org/2013/04/09/north-carolinas-official-religion-the-convoluted-history-of-american-states-and-established-religions/#sthash.ssnrMYhA.dpuf

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    True. And I suppose someday they’ll make the states take God out of their constitutions too. But that doesn’t mean it’s actually in accord with the understanding of the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment–they thought they were assuring equal rights to the freed slaves, not making God illegal.

  • Throbert McGee

    Not really—religion was left to the states.

    Contrary to popular perception, 12 of the 13 states still had religious tests for state office, and they were not nullified by the First Amendment, which reads
    “Congress shall make no law…”

    Hmm. I was gonna say, “Oh yeah, but what about the No religious test clause in Article VI?” But I did a little Googling, and sure enough, you’re correct.

    Apparently the phrase “under the United States” at the very end of the third paragraph was always historically taken to mean “at the federal level” (thus excluding public offices at the state or municipal level) — and not (as I’d long thought!) “within the United States” (which would of course include every elected office down the sheriff of Podunkburg).

    Extant “Religious tests” for office-holders at the state or municipal level have long been considered no longer enforceable, but from what I can tell, the assumption is that they would be instantly struck down (if ever enforced) based on the 1st and 14th Amendments, and not on the basis of the Religious Test clause.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    Hmm. I was gonna say, “Oh yeah, but what about the No religious test clause in Article VI?” But I did a little Googling, and sure enough, you’re correct.

    Thx for the back, Mr. McGee. I don’t “support” David Barton as much as that he does get many things correct, as much as that galls some people.

    And you are correct as well re the 1st via the 14th. See Torcaso v. Watkins [1961]. But as we see, very many otherwise educated people are unaware of our actual religious heritage, and of the Founders’ actual attitude toward religion, for example

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2013/10/jefferson-and-real-meaning-of-wall-of.html

  • Emily K

    It seems that you can’t justify a law granting equal protection for all without offending our slave-holding founders. Oh well, I’m willing to grant that the brilliance that frames our constitution can’t be applied one way (Black are 5/5 of a person) without being granted another (religious tests shall not be required of government officials). I don’t see a problem at all.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Emily K# ~ Oct 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    It seems that you can’t justify a law granting equal protection for all without offending our slave-holding founders.

    Not really. Jefferson knew slavery was wrong.

    ” Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.

    Oh well, I’m willing to grant that the brilliance that frames our constitution can’t be applied one way (Black are 3/5 of a person)

    Not really. it applied to slaves for the purposes of representation in the House and the Electoral College. Its purpose and result was actually to dilute the power of the slave states.

    Another cliche shot down.

    without being granted another (religious tests shall not be required of government officials). I don’t see a problem at all.

    That does not follow unless your argument is that they’ve made a joke of the 14th Amendment. We would agree on that.

    A great strength of the book is that McGinnis and Rappaport do not shy away from difficult issues that some other originalists downplay or ignore. These include the reality that most blacks and virtually all women were excluded from the political processes that produced the original meaning of the most important parts of the Constitution, the claim that Brown v. Board of Education is incompatible with originalism, and the problem of how to deal with decades of accumulated nonoriginalist precedents.

    To each of these dilemmas, the authors provide insightful answers. For example, they point out that Brown would probably not even have been necessary had the federal government effectively enforced the original meaning of the 14th and 15th amendments between the 1880s and 1950s. Even if integrated public schooling was not in and of itself required by the original meaning, the protection of black voting rights and a wide range of civil rights clearly was.

    Had those rights been effectively protected, African-Americans would have been in a much stronger position in the political system of the South, and could likely have prevented the worst excesses of Jim Crow from arising in the first place.

    While McGinnis and Rappaport also claim that Brown is in fact compatible with originalism, they emphasize that the situation the Court was responding to in 1954 was in large part the result of the Court’s and the rest of the federal government’s failure to enforce the original meaning in earlier decades.

    http://www.libertylawsite.org/2013/10/17/review-of-originalism-and-the-good-constitution/

    It’s a shame they don’t teach this stuff in whatever school you went to. This thread keeps proving Barton’s point about the miseducation of our young. Mostly they’re taught to hate the Founding and the Constitution, and that’s a damn dirty shame.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      On Jefferson and slavery, Tom, you are citing one reference. Jefferson wrung his hands about slavery but did very little about it in the latter half of his life. Surely, you know this. He could have freed his slaves but only freed two. Jefferson knew slavery was a problem but his answer was not emancipation and equality. He preferred to send them elsewhere rather than free slaves and have them live among whites.

  • Emily K

    Warren, as noble as your efforts are, concern-trolls like TVD aren’t interested in dialog but rather making statements that give them the illusion of being the only grown-up in the room.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      Emily – TVD is correct about the 3/5ths clause, but there was no need to add the “another cliche shot down” thing. This is the kind of style that puts off rather than engages, IMO.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    Warren# ~ Oct 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    On Jefferson and slavery, Tom, you are citing one reference. Jefferson wrung his hands about slavery but did very little about it in the latter half of his life. Surely, you know this. He could have freed his slaves but only freed two. Jefferson knew slavery was a problem but his answer was not emancipation and equality. He preferred to send them elsewhere rather than free slaves and have them live among whites.

    Not just one quote, Warren. Elsewhere Jefferson calls slavery “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot.” Why after all this time you would imply that I would simply quote-mine for cheap points is unfair and unkind.

    I’m not an admirer of Jefferson, Warren. I consider him to be just about the worst of the Founders. [Except for Aaron Burr, mebbe.] When I cite Jefferson, it’s along the lines of even that slaveholding hypocrite bastard Jefferson knew slavery was wrong.

    For the record:

    What I’m saying is that Jefferson clearly knows slavery is wrong. “The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” See also his remarks on Congress voting to end the slave trade as early as constitutionally possible.

    They don’t teach that in our schools, either, it seems, the “poison pill” the Framers put into the Constitution, contemplating the end of slavery. Someday

    Article I Section IX.

    And Emily, if you’re going to hate on the Founders with the same old cliches–God knows where you learned them–although I have some ideas—then yes, the discussion cries out for some adult supervision, especially on a para-academic blog such as this.

    The Founders had feet of clay–as all men do, even today. We’re just more clever about it, our sins easier to conceal. The sins of the Founders–esp the slaveholders–are in plain view.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      TVD – If your point is that he said slavery was wrong, I can go a ways down that road. However, he did not do much about it after a certain point in his life when he could have lived up to his rhetoric. In a combox, we can’t do justice to the complexity of Jefferson on this. I didn’t mean to imply you were quote mining but my point is that one must take into account what he said, what he did and what he didn’t do.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ Tom Van Dyke

    Warren# ~ Oct 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm
    Emily – TVD is correct about the 3/5ths clause, but there was no need to add the “another cliche shot down” thing. This is the kind of style that puts off rather than engages, IMO.

    I hear you Warren, and apologize to Emily. My ire is at the academic establishment, not at anyone personally. And I don’t like “defending” David Barton either, it’s just that he wouldn’t even exist except that there has been so much educational malpractice in our country. If there’s a “Founders chic” among the Bartonites, there’s an “anti-Founders chic” taught in our schools that Emily is echoing here.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/newmexico51/ Gregory Peterson

    Speaking of God in constitutions…

    “We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

    Thanks, excessively handy Wikipedia.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    Warren# ~ Oct 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm
    TVD – If your point is that he said slavery was wrong, I can go a ways down that road. However, he did not do much about it after a certain point in his life when he could have lived up to his rhetoric. In a combox, we can’t do justice to the complexity of Jefferson on this. I didn’t mean to imply you were quote mining but my point is that one must take into account what he said, what he did and what he didn’t do.

    I’m not an admirer of Jefferson, Warren. I consider him to be just about the worst of the Founders. I believe I said that, yes?

    In fact the Father of the Constitution James Madison gets off rather scotfree in our indictments of the Founding Fathers. A slaveholder himself, he never did shit about slavery. Not even any memorable quotes.

    Madison wasn’t even as good a hypocrite as Jefferson. I really have no idea why you’re sweating me on this. I’m not David Barton.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      TVD – RE: Jefferson, I thought we were discussing the matter. I wasn’t aware we were arguing.

  • http://americancreation.blogspot.com/ tom van dyke

    ,i>Gregory Peterson# ~ Oct 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm
    Speaking of God in constitutions…

    “We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

    Thanks, excessively handy Wikipedia.

    Argumentum ad Hitlerum, reductio ad Nazium.

    Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore vegetarians are mass-murdering bastards. The Confederacy invoked God, therefore invoking God makes you racist or whatever.

    Your call, Warren. I’m trying to be nice to your commenters per your request. The failures of our education system keep lapping up on your shores here, unbidden.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      TVD – You are assuming an argument that Gregory did not make. He may have been making the argument you attacked but then again perhaps he was simply pointing out that God mentioned in a Constitution means nothing or very little about the character of the government thereby established.

  • ken

    tom van dyke# ~ Oct 22, 2013 at 6:51 am

    “Your call, Warren. I’m trying to be nice to your commenters per your request.”

    Really, that was you trying to be “nice” was it Tom?

    Looks to me that you were just doing what you always do, jumping to a conclusion about what someone else said then attacking your (mis) interpretation of what was said.

    “nice” would have simply been to ask Gregory to clarify what he meant by his post (or at the very least verifying he meant what you thought he did before attacking him for it).

    There is an old saying:

    “If you only look for the worst in people, then that is all you will ever see of them.”

  • Ann

    This is the kind of style that puts off rather than engages, IMO.

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    Perhaps there is no answer to this, however, here goes: is there a reason you call out and / or admonish some individuals when there comments do not seem suitable and allow others to have free rein with their comments when it is obvious they are attacking, etc.? I understand this is your blog to do what you want with, and if that is the only answer, then that is good enough. Was just hoping you could shed some light for someone like me who is always a little perplexed when I see the inconsistency.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ann – This is off topic. Email me privately if you want to discuss something specific.

    Mainly it is my call on a case by case basis. If the commenter becomes the issue more so than the topic, then something is wrong. I am not going to say any more about it here.

  • Emily K

    “Your call, Warren. I’m trying to be nice to your commenters per your request. The failures of our education system keep lapping up on your shores here, unbidden.”

    Oh, the great Learned Man’s Burden that TVD suffers in this forum. May his heroic internetting soon yield a Great Awakening on this blog. Reminds me of conspiracy theorists who, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, turn to the ol’ “that source is biased and/or brainwashed by those who don’t WANT you to know the truth” line of “proof.”

    Warren I’m aware I’m probably being more sarcastic for your taste, and I’ll keep myself out of it further for the sake of moderation. But in my opinion it’s statements like the one quoted that shut down dialog.


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