Barton Defends His Dangerous PTSD Nonsense

Barton Defends His Dangerous PTSD Nonsense November 27, 2013

A couple weeks ago, pseudo-historian fraud David Barton joined televangelist fraud Kenneth Copeland to tell veterans that they can’t have real PTSD because the Bible says they are heroes and ministers of God. After taking a lot of heat, Barton has released a statement defending himself. It’s typical Barton, where he just pretends that the criticism is coming from evil liberals and therefore is invalid. Oh, and he loves the troops, so they’re totally taking things out of context.

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)!

Let’s take these excuses one by one. First, the claim that his critics are “so hostile to religion that they flatly dismiss possible spiritual solutions” is simply a lie. Warren Throckmorton, who was the first one to hammer Barton over it, is an evangelical Christian who teaches at a Christian college. He’s also a psychologist, unlike Barton and Copeland, so he might actually know a thing or two about the trauma faced by soldiers. And Joe Carter, who really hammered Barton, used to work for the Family Research Council and now works for the Southern Baptist Convention. And he’s a veteran himself (again, unlike Barton or Copeland). So as usual, Barton is lying.

Second, this claim that his support for the military somehow makes it all okay sounds a lot like “but I have a lot of black friends.” It also sounds a lot like Alec Baldwin’s claim that he can’t be homophobic despite regularly using bigoted slurs and even threatening anti-gay violence because he supports same-sex marriage. None of those idiotic excuses do anything to mitigate the utter stupidity of what Barton and Copeland said.

Lastly, there isn’t an irony meter strong enough to withstand the blow of David Barton claiming that something is out of context. Quoting out of context is his modus operandi. His entire career as a fake historian relies upon it. And here’s a good rule of thumb: When someone says they’re being taken out of context but doesn’t bother pointing out precisely why the context changes the meaning of what was quoted, they’re full of shit.

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  • rationalinks

    Barton lies. Film at 11.

  • John Hinkle

    Ugh. The video is 28+ minutes. The quote about soldiers not needing psychology or drugs to treat PTSD starts around 9:30. I watched until about 16+ and couldn’t take any more.

    Ed is right. Barton didn’t explain his “out of context” claim because it’s indefensible. Copeland said the baloney and Barton was like, yeah yeah uh huh yeah. For the next 5 minutes (or more) they then cited other (out of context) quotes in the Bible to back up the stupidity of ridding oneself of PTSD by just telling it to go-away-praise-the-lord.

    The thing is, they really think they’re helping someone out there. They’re entirely unaware of how utterly wrong they are.

  • David Barton and WallBuilders have a long unwavering and proven record of unequivocal support for those in the Armed Forces, including their families…

    I’m willing to bet that statement is as false as it is irrelevant.

  • julial

    Methodological naturalism continues to accrete empirically defensible truths about history, the universe around us and the future.

    Religion doesn’t.

    So professional religion practitioners are being squeezed by scientists who make accurate predictions. This infringes on the (previously well paid) job of the prophet. Predictions of the apocalypse used to be the sole pervue of the cleric. Blowing rectal smoke about cosmology or biology or climate was a snap when nobody knew better.

    It used to be so easy for them when anybody could make shit up and have roughly the same likelihood of being proved correct or at least having their predictions ignored or forgotten because literacy and record keeping were primitive.

    As their corner gets smaller and smaller, the shit they make up looks more and more desperate and lame.

    I’d feel sorry for them if they weren’t so dangerous and damaging and if they didn’t have such a large base of the stupid and ignorant to back them up.

  • bahrfeldt

    I served in the Navy. I am not a minister of god. And the fact of my service was not motivated by nor is it evidence of any of my obvious heroism. Then again, while it has been quite a while, none of my service was in Biblical times or for nations existing in Biblical times.

  • garnetstar

    Barton demonstrates ignorance of history (film at 11:30, after the one rationallinks @1 mentioned).

    PTSD in veterans has been with us since at least the beginning of the modern era of war. In WWI they called it shellshock, in WW2 combat fatigue. No one seems to remember that the Korean War took place, so it wasn’t called anything, and in Vietnam it finally got the name PTSD.

    There was some estimate, I forget by whom, that enough successive days in a combat situation would be stressful enough to drive anyone, no matter how mentally healthy, actually insane. It was around 230 days.

    God wants it that way.

  • raven

    David Barton and WallBuilders have a long unwavering and proven record of unequivocal support for those in the Armed Forces, including their families…

    I’m willing to bet that statement is as false as it is irrelevant.

    You have to translate this from Fundiespeak to Englsih.

    It means they pray for military personnel. Prayer is magic. Prayer can do anything. Prayer can get rid of your PTSD, kill Obama, elect Romney, make PZ Myers and Dawkins go up like torches, cure illnesses, and set biology textbooks on fire as well as move mountains.

    (The fact that it does nothing never crosses their mind.)

  • illdoittomorrow

    Garnetstar, @ 6: in his book On Killing, the author Lt Col. Dave Grossman cites a study that found “that after 60 days of continuous combat, 98% of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties of one kind or another. Swank and Marchand also found a common trait among the 2% who are able to endure sustained combat: a predisposition toward ‘aggressive psychopathic personalities.'”

    I highly recommend the book, though I haven’t finished it yet.

  • raven

    Texas Megachurch At Center Of Measles Outbreak : NPR

    www. npr. org › News › Health

    by lauren silverman – in 25 Google+ circlesSep 1, 2013 – Texas Megachurch At Center Of Measles Outbreak … Founder Kenneth Copeland has spoken against vaccines in the past. In a 2010 broadcast …

    FWIW, Kenneth Copeland is a cult leader who has preached against vaccines.

    His church was the center of a large outbreak of measles, a disease once completely gone from the USA. IIRC, they had 21 cases. Even today measles can be fatal, mortality rate is 2-3 per 1000 cases. Not so long ago there was a case near me, SSPE.

    To be fair, Eagle Mountain cult HQ’s did immediately organize a measles vaccination program. Prayer might be able to move mountains, make people immune to poisons and snakebites, cure illnesses, and be able to speak all languages but vaccines work.

  • garnetstar

    Thanks, illdoittomorrow, that’s a great point. I was thinking of some other study, where they tried to estimate how long one could endure combat without becoming truly insane, but the one you mention is a better data point.

    And, I love that book too! It’s grounded on very solid data, busts a lot of myths about human behavior, and sheds a lot of useful light on violence and the effect of committing violence, both in combat and in regular society. Really recommend it to all.

  • smrnda


    I cannot think of the name, but I recall seeing some old movie (probably a western) in which a man wearing a Union uniform from the civil war was riding around on a horse menacing people with a sword, and some term I cannot remember was used which appeared to be an even earlier *PTSD* substitute. Barton’s ignorance of history goes back a long way.

    I’ve also heard that people who seem easily able to handle long deployments are usually suspected of having some psychological abnormality, meaning PTSD is going to be the norm.

  • garnetstar

    Thanks, smrnda. The “On Killing” book also talks a lot of combat in the Civil War, though I don’t remember if he mentions PTSD.