David Barton Responds To Controversy Over PTSD Claims

On his Wallbuilders Facebook page, David Barton released a statement today regarding the furor over the program with Kenneth Copeland on Veteran’s Day. Here is the statement in full:

David Barton and WallBuilders have a long unwavering and proven record of unequivocal support for those in the Armed Forces, including their families, as well as military personnel and veterans suffering from PTSD. David not only has several children and family members serving in the military but we also regularly highlight numerous military heroes on our daily radio program and send out blasts in support of the military. Additionally, we actively raise money for groups who work to help heal our warriors, including those suffering from PTSD. Yet despite this unflagging support, Right Wing Watch, Huffington Post, and others from the liberal secularist left recently circulated a short clip, taken out of context from a long interview David did on a Veteran’s Day program stressing the importance of spiritual components in the treatment of PTSD. As a result of the inaccurate “reporting” of these so-called “news” outlets, many who saw those reports voiced concern to us over what they had been wrongly told. It is lamentable that while we support multiple approaches for PTSD treatments, the critics are so hostile to religion that they flatly dismiss possible spiritual solutions. Rest assured that we will continue our demonstrated record of support for using all available resources to assist those suffering from PTSD. And we will continue to work closely, as we have been, with top military and medical officials who on a daily basis treat these men and women who make so many sacrifices to preserve and protect the freedoms for the rest of us.

We encourage you to watch the full program for yourself to see the entire context (link provided below)!

http://www.kcm.org/media/webcast/kenneth-copeland-and-david-barto/131111-an-awakening-to-god-in-america

So now the Southern Baptist Convention and Gospel Coalition are part of the “liberal secularist left” and “hostile to religion?” As has been a pattern, Mr. Barton does not regret what he said nor distance himself from Mr. Copeland, he blames the people who listened to the broadcast and reported exactly what the two men said.

 

 

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  • Stogumber

    Barton says that his critics are “so hostile to religion that they flatly dismiss possible spiritual solutions”. What’s wrong with that?
    Telling that Barton said, PTSD is not real – or implying that he doesn’t take PTSD seriously – is definitely a smear.

    • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe_Brain

      I guess it depends if you believe in fairies. Or demons for that matter. Whether magic spells, ceremonies and incantations can cure physical problems or not.

      • Tom Van Dyke

        “Stogumber” is saying Dr. Throckmorton accused Barton of saying PTSD isn’t real.
        “Note To David Barton And Kenneth Copeland: PTSD Is Real”

        A reasonable reading of that blogpost title could give the impression that he did indeed accuse him of saying it’s not real. “Stogumber’s” objection is formal–to the phrasing, not to the substance of the matter–and it’s quite valid.

        As to the substance of the matter, Mr. “Stogumber,” the paper

        Review Of Use Of Prayer And Scripture In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

        would be a principled starting place, especially since the National Institutes of Health says that cognitive therapy is still the best treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

        Not that I expect that anybody gives a damn. This is about nailing David Barton and the fundies and the Republicans and whatnot, eh?

        • Jon Fleming

          I missed the part where Barton recommended cognitive therapy.

        • Jimmy Dick

          The issue here, Tom, is what Barton said about how religion just gets rid of PTSD by casting out demonic influence. That idea is of course idiotic as are many of Barton’s claims. Cognitive therapy works and prayer works as well, but it just does not cure PTSD overnight. It is a process much as living a Christian lifestyle is a process.
          Barton is guilty of trying to use his version of religion as an instant cure. He is literally using a medieval belief system in place of psychiatric care.
          You may want to change the topic on this to something else as usual per your methods of operating on these and other boards, but Barton is the one who invoked the left/right issue in his defense. I think Warren was making some very valid points because he has worked with PTSD as he explains in the link you provided. Barton cannot make that claim as he is saying that instant healing is possible through faith alone. The other article you linked doesn’t make the claim that Barton makes either. It places religion’s role as part of the healing process.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            You changed the subject, Jimmy, the accusation/implication that Barton said PTSD isn’t real.

            As for the impossibility of an instantaneous PTSD cure–exorcising the “demon[s]” responsible, you have a solid argument. Your personal attack on me was unnecessary.

            However, other comments in this thread do support his contention that

            the critics are so hostile to religion that they flatly dismiss possible spiritual solutions.

            As is always the case with these attacks, the truth remains secondary to the bile.

          • Jimmy Dick

            When people like Barton make idiotic pronouncements like he did on this subject as well as others he opens himself to ridicule. He damages his own cause and that of Christianity through his words and actions. The problem is not that Barton is a Christian. It is that Barton actually believes the crazy things he says which are rejected by Christians as well as non-Christians.
            Barton said that PTSD could be cured instantly. That is false. It cannot. Barton may try to spin the story with the well used by all “out of context” excuse, but that excuse holds no water.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Did Barton say “instantly?” As I recall the theology, one can be “troubled” by demons without being possessed by them. Prayer to deliver someone from these demons can be a long-term thing, not just the viola! of exorcism. Since this discussion is at the usual scorched-earth level, there are seldom direct quotes.

            He damages his own cause and that of Christianity through his words and actions. The problem is not that Barton is a Christian. It is that Barton actually believes the crazy things he says which are rejected by Christians as well as non-Christians.

            Further, Barton was clearly speaking to christians

            Yes, and free exercise of religion means that it’s really none of our business unless we’re speaking as Christians, not psychology professors or history teachers or whatnot.

            And if it is a theological discussion, with some 30,000 denominations of Christianity that believe all sorts of preposterous things, I wouldn’t even know where to start or how to start. But clearly some people prefer to start with their political enemies…

          • Jimmy Dick

            As a Christian I can say that Barton is an embarrassment to Christianity. As a history instructor I can say that Barton is not a historian and that he clearly and purposely misleads people in mingling his version of Christianity and American history into a rather distorted and erroneous ideology.
            And some people seem to like to defend David Barton an awful lot while trying to make it seem like they don’t. David Barton is a liar. He is lying to people using religion to construct his own ideology. Defend him if you want to.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Did Barton say cured “instantly,” Jimmy? Answer the question. Let’s get to the truth of the matter first. And if you want to know where I’m coming from, it’s Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchers? Frankly, Barton critics commit numerous overstatements and errors themselves and nobody calls them out. They hold him to unforgiving standards they don’t hold themselves to.

            So damned right–I watch the watchers. Let’s get to the truth of your latest charge. I think you assumed the worst and hanged him without a trial is what I think. In that theology, “troubled” by demons is not “possessed” by demons. Is that what Barton meant?

            And some people seem to like to defend David Barton an awful lot while trying to make it seem like they don’t.

            Sometimes Barton is indeed guilty. But often, I find his critics are the ones who are blowing it. Who watches the watchers? I do. Why? Because I’ve been given the brown end of the stick myself, brother. And I’d even defend you from the mob if they were convicting you unfairly.

          • Jimmy Dick

            You are just splitting hairs here. On Veteran’s Day, Copeland and Barton claimed that the Old Testament book of Numbers 32 is a promise that soldiers who fight for God are promised that they will return from battle and can get rid of PTSD if they cast out demonic influences. Barton clearly is relying on faith healing by casting out the demons. Healing PTSD doesn’t work that way and we’ve covered this already.
            Barton is a liar. Defend him if you want to. That’s your choice.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            No, Jimmy, it’s you who “lied” about Barton and got busted. Own it. He apparently didn’t say “instantly”–you put that word in his mouth, built up a whole case around it and then condemned him for it.

            Barton is a liar.

            You people in glass houses should really give that stuff a rest.

          • Jimmy Dick

            Not a chance, Tom. You are trying to twist words in your futile defense of a liar. Barton is a snake. You are his defender. Have fun defending a liar.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Barton’s easy enough to beat without sticking words in his mouth. Stick to the truth and you’ll have no problems with me.

          • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe_Brain
          • LegalizeLezMarriage

            Don’t worry about Tom, Jimmy. At this blog, at least, he’s built a profile of being a self-important watchdog, using dissenting comments to give the impression that he’s the only grown-up in the room; the only one who actually sees all sides and has thought anything through. People who make concern-trolling a hobby in order to inflate their sense of self-worth (“Who watches the watchers? I do.”) are not worth engaging. It only adds air to the balloon.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Better to be the people who attack others personally instead of speaking to the topic? With all due respect, who asked you to butt in? Who appointed you watchdog of Warren’s blog?

            Me, I just decided I’m not going to stand for character assassination anymore. I’m going to call people out when they play dirty, on me or on anybody else.

            Otherwise, I’m happy to have my say and be done with it. I think Warren deals with very important topics here, and as long as his comments are open for people to go on the record I will.

            Already in this thread we’ve established that David Barton doesn’t deny the existence of PTSD, that he hasn’t promised an “instant” cure for it, that being troubled by demons doesn’t mean you turn into The Exorcist movie, and that Barton and Copeland are probably trying to use the Bible to relieve any guilt that PTSD sufferers might feel for their participation in war.

            In between all the noise and personal attacks, legitimate and principled discussion has managed to take place, despite the attempts to disrupt it or shout it down.

  • ken

    What is more telling is that he doesn’t actually deny what he has been accused of: claiming PTSD can be cured by believing in the bible.

    If that was just spin by “the liberal media” then he should deny the claim outright and say they simply meant that spirituality could/should be included in the treatment for PTSD.

    “So now the Southern Baptist Convention and Gospel Coalition are part of
    the “liberal secularist left” and “hostile to religion?” ”

    Of course Warren, ANYONE who dares speak against Barton is part of the “liberal secularist left” (or has been duped by them). To bad Barton isn’t important enough to get noticed by the pope, I would love to hear Barton claim the pope is “hostile to religion” :)

    • Stogumber

      Ken,
      Believing in the Bible – i.e. believing that God definitely wants/asks you to live without PTSD – may have a positive impact. It’s not as if there were simple and clear-cut physical cures for PTSD (as far as I know), and belief, even if perhaps it doesn’t replace psychotherapy, may be a definite help.
      .
      My personal impression is that Barton/Copeland are implicitly arguing against an alleged liberal/pacifist tendency – pacifists seeing PTSD as something that soldiers naturally and rightly get as a consequence of their activities, which can be interpreted like: as a punishment for their sins. Barton/Copeland possibly note those religious overtones and advise the soldiers to confront them: no, PTSD is not a punishment for your sins neither the natural outcome of your activities but something God does NOT want!

      • Tom Van Dyke

        That’s powerful, Stogumber. Contra their critics, it’s also coherent theologically–indeed that part’s a scripture-based cognitive therapy, not just “faith-healing.”

        Believing in the Bible – i.e. believing that God definitely wants/asks you to live without PTSD – may have a positive impact.

        Barton/Copeland possibly note those religious overtones and advise the soldiers to confront them: no, PTSD is not a punishment for your sins [nor] the natural outcome of your activities…[it's] something God does NOT want [for you]!

        It’s OK, man. God doesn’t want you to suffer. Lookee here in the Bible–you did right.

        These guys aren’t very good at explaining themselves to their critics. But you know what–as a religious matter, it’s no outsider’s damn business anyway.

        [What do I think? I think it's none of my damn business. I hope it helps somebody, is all. It's not my place to say God doesn't exist, or that he can't heal these men.]

      • $2268610

        As a liberal and pacifist I have never ever heard of anyone who thinks of such grievous harm suffered by a soldier as in any way being ‘punishment for their sins.’ Ever.

        • Tom Van Dyke

          Because you never heard of it, it doesn’t exist? Not saying it does, mind you, but if arguing by anecdote is bogus, arguing “I never heard of…” is even less authoritative.

      • ken

        I said that faith could be a useful tool in some treatment programs in the 1st post I made about this topic. However, that is very different than claiming all you need is faith as Copeland did.

        btw, who is “alleging” this “liberal/pacifist” tendency you describe? (someone other than Barton or Copeland)?

  • Trinity

    As a Christian who has struggled with (mild) PTSD after returning from Afghanistan, I can assure you that my faith and PTSD have nothing to do with each other. Both are part of who I am, but my faith does not and will not ever reduce my reaction to sudden noises. I find it highly offensive to both my faith and my military experiences the expectation that the former would suddenly cancel out the latter. I also refuse to believe that symptoms of PTSD negate my belief in Christ. Until someone has actually been in that situation, receiving mortar fire, it’s nearly impossible for them to comment on how it affects an individual. There is no ‘liberal media bias’ here, only a 23 year old girl who can’t shake her nightmares. Thank you all for your support and understanding, and please pray for our returning vets. Most of them face challenges far greater than I could ever imagine.

    • $2268610

      Thanks.

    • Tom Van Dyke

      Nobody said “that symptoms of PTSD negate [your] belief in Christ,” sister Trinity. [If you are who you say you are--there are a lot of pseudonym phonies out there and your pseudonym is brand-new tonight.]

      Let’s accept that you’re for real—

      If you got the impression that ANYBODY said that symptoms of PTSD negate [your] belief in Christ–David Barton?–it’s an unfortunate consequence of you reading either the original post or the ensuing discussion, which might leave that false impression. Such an idea is preposterous, that symptoms of PTSD would call your faith in Christ into any question whatsoever.

      David Barton has said many preposterous things, but rest assured that’s not one of them. Peace, sister. I’ll say a prayer for you, just in case you’re for real.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe_Brain

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