Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conservative Christians And Facts: What David Barton's Historical Revisionism Shows Us About The Religious Right

David Barton is a conservative American evangelical Christian and author who is best know for his failed attempts to rewrite the religious views of the founding fathers to make them appear as if they were trying to establish America as a Christian nation. His 2012 book, The Jefferson Lies, tried to make the case that Thomas Jefferson wasn't as critical of Christianity as commonly portrayed by the left and was actually one if its vocal supporters. Not long after the book's release, it was taken off of the shelves due to numerous factual errors and according to a New York Times article was voted "the least credible history book in print" by the users of the History News Network website.

Despite this, conservatives from Mike Huckabee, to Michele Bachmann, to Newt Gingrich, to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, to conservative talk-show and radio host Glenn Beck have all praised his work. Beck's online "university," Beck University, even hired him to teach a course called Faith 101 where you can "learn history as it really happened." Oh Right. So where have we seen this before? A group of conservative Christians are praising a book that is demonstrably full of factual errors and lies because it tells them what they want to hear. Hmmm. You know what? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this closely resembles the way conservatives treat the Bible. Yup. The Bible is also book also praised by conservative Christians as being inerrant despite its factual errors.

It is evident from historical revisionists like David Barton that conservative Christians would rather believe something factually incorrect that sounds pleasing to them, than accept the truth. They have the same exact relationship with American history as they have with the world history, science and the Bible. Now of course the conservative sheeple who praise Barton's works most likely don't accept that he made any factual errors. They are most likely either ignorant to Barton's factual errors or they would deny those errors altogether if they are aware of them. The fact that someone like Glenn Beck would take him on board to teach at his pseudo-university despite his work being slammed by the critics and having his latest book removed by its Christian publishers, tells you a whole lot about religious conservatives: Facts mean nothing to them and faith is all that matters. They'll believe what they want despite the facts and not because of any.

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