David Barton’s latest book, “The Jefferson Lies,” has been pulled by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson and disgraced by the academic community. Barton overstepped the boundaries of respectable reporting by fabricating countless “facts” about Jefferson’s life, views, and goals for the Unites States. This action was the direct result of a statement by readers of the The History News Network of George Mason University. They called it “the least credible history book in print.”
Barton is an evangelical activist and writer, but only extremely conservative political figures like Newt Gingrich, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee call someone with Barton’s qualifications a “historian.” Conservative radio host Glenn Beck is also likely to award that unearned title to Barton because Beck wrote the book’s foreword. Beck applied equal enthusiasm and unsubstantiated praise for Barton’s writings that were not based on merit.
In the same way that naïve young children push their behavior to the limits adults establish for them, I have to ask what are the liberals doing to stop people like Barton from slandering our founding father, Thomas Jefferson’s, good name?
Fortunately, even some Christians, like “Getting Jefferson Right” author Warren Throckmorton, think that Barton is too quick to label Jefferson as a Christian. Most significantly, Chris Rodda has been doing her homework within the parameters of protecting all of us against Barton. Her 2006 book, “Liars for Jesus,” was able to offer the informed public truth while pointing out who was perpetuating the lies. She correctly has labeled Barton a “pseudo-historian.” Rodda shares a video where Barton states that Jefferson “signed thousands of documents with the words ‘In Christ’.” Barton has never released said documents, showing us that this is just one of the many items Barton made up in order to label Jefferson as a Christian, which has always been in question. Unlike Barton, who has not legitimately earned the title “historian,” Rodda is the Director of Research at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. She has earned the respect of those in highly regarded academic and scientific circles. Her work was published and praised by both The Huffington Post (twice) and Talk to Action.
While we are too preoccupied leading our own lives to stop Barton, what else is Rodda doing to protect our Constitutional First Amendment rights? In her words,” Right now, I’m scrambling to quickly write a little book specifically debunking all the lies in Barton’s new book.” It is auspicious that while the open-minded public is involved in other matters, Rodda is defending the separation of church and state.
For those curious just how far a fundamentalist author will go to promote their religious dogma, Barton continues to offer this book, now at a discount, though his website, since no one else with a conscience can sell it and still sleep at night.