I would never typically write about Glenn Beck. He is repugnant, but is an entertainer that will be the cause of his own tearful, tea-bagging downfall. My tune has changed a bit in the last 48 hours as Mr. Beck now joins forces with David Barton, a politically connected right-wing Christian zealot, to hold a blow-out lie fest called "American Revival" .
David Barton founded a history ministry called WallBuilders. Barton is a pseudo-historian espousing the falsehood that the Founders, guided by God, established "Christian Nation" in the body of the Constitution (and other historical writings) though the document makes no reference to the deity.
The WallBuilders website has page after page after page of "proof" of a Christian Nation. Barton's lies about the Founding, misquotes of the Founders and mastery of non-contextual "facts" has been rebuked many times over by secular and Christian organizations alike.
In his article "Historical Revisionism and the Religious Right" Nicholas P. Miller writes of the WallBuilders' falsehoods for Christian Ethics Today:
- "Those who advocate the enshrinement of uniquely Christian values in the laws of our land are literally advocating that force be used to coerce people to conform to spiritual ideals." and;
"Considering the fallacies of its [Wallbuilders] arguments, “Mythbuilders” is the one title that really fits."
David Barton, and his WallBuilders, are intellectual and constitutional poison. Holding a degree in Christian Education from Oral Roberts University, Barton struck out politically to take this nation back for God.
Barton was hired by the RNC in 2004 to get President Bush back into the White House by specifically using his religious network to recruit pastors to politick from the pulpit. He also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1997-2006.
Glenn, starstruck, writes of Barton on his website in a plug for the March 27 "revival" in Orlando, Florida:
- "David Barton is going to be the first one [expert] and we're going to talk about the meaning of faith in America. All the lies that you have been told, that this isn't a nation of faith, that religion played no role. I'm sure you will be stunned when you learn and see the real history that is no longer taught. Hope. Hope comes from the truth. And you don't have the truth, you have false hope and that's what we have now." (www.glennbeck.com)
Last year Barton, in an egregiously perverse move by the Texas Educational Association was appointed to sit as an "expert" in judgement over the Social Studies Curriculum for Texas Public Schools. The TEA and the Texas Board of Education elevated Barton to level of historical expert.
When I heard about what was happening in Texas, and after reading his report to the Texas BOE, I remember David Barton's name being mentioned in Jeff Sharlet's book "The Family".
"The Family" is Mr. Sharlet's insider look at the highly secretive and politically powerful Christian fellowship that came into the main stream light recently in the C Street sex scandal, and their involvement in Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill.
I sent a brief note to Mr. Sharlet:
- "I read your book and caught this interview [on the Rachel Maddow Show]. I am particularly interested — at this point — in the WallBuilders organization. You mention David Barton only once in your book. Do you find them to be a real threat?"
He was kind enough to send a reply:
- "Andy -- Wallbuilders' falsification of history probably does represent a challenge and perhaps even a threat to the possibility of real democratic debate, especially given the number of followers Barton claims in Congress. Fundamentalists who want to debate the interpretation of history are participating in the democratic process; but people like Barton, who essentially erase history, are trying to make an end run around it." (Jeff Sharlet)
Sources, further reading:
- My articles (and additional sources) on WallBuilders: Lettuce Spray where you will find out more about David Barton's Muslim bigotry, lies, and helpful links
- Texas Education Agency: David Barton's "Expert" suggestions for Texas Public School Social Studies Curriculum
- Texas Freedom Network: "David Barton: Amateur Historian, Professional Propagandist"
- Texas Freedom Network has an extensive catalog on David Barton's background and current maneuvers
- From the Huffington Post, a must watch: Glenn Beck's New BFF
- Beck & Barton article on www.philly.com