In private conversations with evangelical leaders about David Barton’s pseudo-history, I have been asked what harm Barton’s fables cause. After all, many of the founders were orthodox Christian and religious devotion was more respected then than now, so what does it hurt if Barton stretches the truth a little? He is basically on the right side of things so what’s the problem?
There are many problems with that line of thinking, most of which I don’t have time to address now. However, one I will note is that the lies spread and grow. They get bigger. Another one is that once the horse gets out of the barn, you can’t often get it back in. Even when Barton pulls back a bit and gets a bit more honest, his followers don’t necessarily follow suit.
Case in point: Rafael Cruz, the father of big Barton fan Ted Cruz in a speech at John Hagee’s church recently. Right Wing Watch brings the sad news.
Cruz’s big applause line was a complete fiction. As long time readers know, Robert Aitken printed the first English Bible in America. Congress gave an endorsement after the fact and recommended the work for its religious and artistic merits but did not order it to be printed for use in schools at any level. Cruz plagiarized Barton and told a huge whopper on top of it.After being hammered on the matter for years (and having that story removed from a Focus on the Family broadcast), Barton changed his rendition of the Aitken story a bit to make it a little more accurate. However, did Rafael Cruz get the memo? Not at all; in fact, he embellished Barton’s fable by saying Congress ordered the Bible to be “the principle textbook in primary schools, high schools and universities.” None of that is true. All I can think of is this Progressive commercial:
Cruz then channels Barton on the role of Solomon Grayzel in the 1963 Abington v. Schempp case. He essentially says what Barton says which is almost never a sign of an accurate presentation.
Prominent evangelicals apparently don’t think the rules apply to them. Plagiarize, stretch the truth, do whatever, it matters not for the cause is just.