Book is pulled due to complaints of it having too many historical inaccuracies. Shockingly, it appears the outrage over the book's lies comes mostly from Christian scholars
by Larry Simons
September 26, 2012
I'm kicking myself. Back in April when David Barton's book "The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson" was released, I was going to write a story on it exposing the fact that Barton's book itself was a lie. I had not read the book, but only had glanced at the titles of the chapters. Chapter titles such as "Lie 3: Thomas Jefferson Wrote His Own Bible and Edited Out the Things He Didn't Agree With" and "Lie 7: Thomas Jefferson Was An Atheist and Not A Christian" were all I needed to start pecking away the keys in my easy venture to refute Barton.
It turns out that I did not have to write the story after all [although if I had, it just would have been yet another example of RTO providing the facts before there was a public outrage against that which I was exposing]. Last month, on August 9, Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher, withdrew Barton's book from print.
Novelist and legal scholar Garrett Epps wrote last month, "It's rare enough for a publisher to withdraw a book that has already been printed; rarer still if the book has been on The New York Times bestseller list. Thomas Nelson spokesman Casey Francis Harrell announced that the publisher had received a number of complaints that the book is inaccurate. "Because of these deficiencies, we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to cease its publication and distribution," Harrell said."
According to Epps, although withdrawing a book after it's been printed is rare, it should not be shocking this has happened to Barton. "For the past 20 years", writes Epps, "Barton has been a tireless producer of books and pamphlets designed to demonstrate that America was founded by Christians and should be governed by Christians, that the separation of church and state is a myth, and that Protestant Christianity should be a part of government. In that time, he has come to occupy a position of influence within the Republican Party. His success is appalling, first because he is not a historian of any kind (his sole degree is from Oral Roberts University in religious education), and second because, even by the standards of today's right wing, he is an obvious crackpot."
This should be no surprise that Barton distorts facts and tells outright falsehoods to achieve his religious agenda. He has to, because the facts fly in the face of that religious agenda. Another non-shocker is that Barton has been an advisor to Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. He has received accolades from the likes of Mike Huckabee and Glenn Beck. Beck has even referred to Barton as "the library of Congress in shoes." Beck even wrote the forward to "The Jefferson Lies", in which he stated in that forward, "David Barton boldly questions the myths and arms you with the well-researched truth."
Ironically, Barton's heaviest criticism came from religious scholars who actually had the guts to come forward and put Barton in his place, condemning the book for its claims that Jefferson was an orthodox Christian who, in his letter to the Danbury baptists about the separation of church and state, advocated no barrier between the religious and their infiltration of government.
Jon Stewart exposed Barton's fraudiness last year on The Daily Show about that very issue [among many others]. Watch the below interview between Stewart and Barton.
In July, History News Network voted "The Jefferson Lies" the least credible history book in print. They stated, "Commenters criticized the book for its gross factual errors and political agenda -- in an email to HNN, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter, professors at Grove City College and authors of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President, wrote that "Barton misrepresents and distorts a host of Jefferson's ideas and actions, particularly his views and practices regarding religion, slavery and church-state relations." A commenter on HNN's boards noted that the book "looks like an intentional attempt to mislead and deceive in the guise of history.""
Also included in HNN's list of least credible books is one of my favorite books, "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas DiLorenzo. The two biggest differences [in my opinion] between Barton's book and DiLorenzo's book is that Jim Loewen, who writes for History News Network, is openly criticized in DiLorenzo's books and other writings. So, it's obvious that the agenda of HNN is compromised openly in DiLorenzo's books. In fact, the afterword in "The Real Lincoln" is devoted exclusively to DiLorenzo quoting his own critics of the first edition of "The Real Lincoln" and setting them straight. How many authors include the criticisms and quotes of their own attackers in further editions of their books?
No author even wants to admit or let others know they have critics, let alone include their quotes in their own books. One would say, "Well, yes they would include their critics' quotes if they could refute them". That's my point. DiLorenzo refutes his critics. Barton does not. Some of DiLorenzo's critics write for HNN, the site that listed his book as among the least credible. My point is clear: HNN is only interested in the truth as long as that truth does not interfere with their political or religious agenda. When it does interfere with their agendas [notice I didn't say "when it does interfere with their 'interpretation of the facts'], they deem a work "not credible".
The second big difference is that DiLorenzo's publisher, Three Rivers Press, did not withdraw publication of "The Real Lincoln". I will even add a third difference: Jefferson himself would have agreed with every word of "The Real Lincoln" since Lincoln believed that the Union existed before the States [it didn't] and that Lincoln violated Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."
There's no escaping Barton's blatant lies. As I mentioned above, one of Barton's chapters is entitled, "Lie 3: Thomas Jefferson Wrote His Own Bible and Edited Out the Things He Didn't Agree With". All one has to do is perform the simple task of going to Amazon.com to see that the Jefferson Bible exists. One might say in Barton's defense, "But Barton is not saying the Jefferson Bible doesn't exist. He is saying that the lie is that Jefferson wrote it."
If this is their defense, then Barton's proposed "lie" is false, because the claim has never been that Jefferson wrote his own Bible. The fact has always been that Jefferson constructed the book by using a razor to cut out portions of the gospels from various bibles to make a continuous narrative of Jesus' life while omitting everything supernatural. Barton quite frequently engages in making a false claim and proves the false claim is false, therefore making him believe he refuted a "lie".
Another example of this is another of his chapters: "Lie 7: Thomas Jefferson Was An Atheist and Not A Christian". Nobody ever made the claim that Jefferson was an atheist to begin with. So, Barton takes a false claim, proves the false claim is false and presto, he thinks he refuted something. The longstanding belief has always been that Jefferson was not a Christian. Many morons in religious circles actually do believe that if one is not a Christian, they are, by default, an atheist. That alone is a colossal lie, but Barton wants everyone to believe it. Stands to reason that if Jefferson is splicing up bibles and removing all things supernatural in the life of Jesus, he is not a Christian. It is basic theological teaching that Jesus was divine and performed miracles. Jefferson, however, did not believe that.
Hopefully, this has brought shame to David Barton and is a wake-up call to not only himself but to all his readers. The Bible itself warns believers to be aware of false teachers. This fraud has been exposed the worst way possible: his own publisher ceasing all further printings of his book. Hopefully, this same driving force can extend into the corporate-controlled mainstream media and get many "news" programs taken off the air. I know, wishful thinking.