Warren Throckmorton, who teaches at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, notes that the Pennsylvania Pastors Network has invited David Barton to speak at a conference in Lancaster. He contacted Sam Rohrer, CEO of the pastors group, to ask why he would invite someone so astonishingly dishonest to speak. The answer is absurd:
Let me say that I appreciate you taking the time to express your concern about David Barton being part of the March 19 conference. Like you and me who write and speak a lot, we know how easy it is to for opponents or even overly zealous well intentioned people to parse a person’s words, and make a mountain out of a mole hill. The case that you cite is quite old, known by very few, discounted by most and without merit. I have personally talked with key people on this matter over the years and find the concerns to be short on substance and absent of malicious intent.
There is no one I’ve ever met who embraces Truth and integrity – including Jesus Christ – who hasn’t had someone try to build a case against them at some point. I believe that David is the kind of man that if he would ever mistakenly make an inaccurate statement that he would do his best to acknowledge it, make it right and go on. If only all those in positions of leadership would determine to do the same.
It is hard to take Sam Rohrer’s comment seriously. Barton’s book was pulled less than three years ago in 2012. Rohrer has not talked to Jay Richards or me or anyone who could provide the rest of the story on the matter. However, I suppose this display of confirmation bias may help explain how Mr. Barton continues to be revered within certain evangelical circles while the rest of the world scratches their heads.
One of the reasons I continue to track Barton’s claims is because it makes a fascinating study in confirmation bias and in-group loyalties. I continue to be amazed at how Barton can make easily debunked claims like crime has gone up 694% since 1963 and that he played basketball at Oral Roberts University and that the Constitution quotes the Bible verbatim, and so many more without arousing concern among his true believers.
I agree. But let’s not pretend that this is limited only to Christians. We see the same kind of hero worship and knee jerk defense of tribal leaders far too often in the atheist community.