He is the founder of the group WallBuilders, a Texas-based organization that describes itself as "dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built."
Barton is the former co-chair of the Texas Republican Party.
Barton is a collector of early American documents, and his official biography describes him as "an expert in historical and constitutional issues."
Barton holds no *****formal credentials in history or law, and critics (for example those discussed below) dispute the accuracy and integrity of his assertions about history, accusing him of practicing misleading *****historical revisionism and "pseudoscholarship."
He has been described as a Christian nationalist and "one of the foremost Christian revisionist historians"; much of his work is devoted to advancing the idea that the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.
Barton has been featured on television and radio programs hosted by prominent figures in the American conservative movement, including former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Glenn Beck, who has praised Barton as "the Library of Congress in shoes."
Barton graduated in 1972 from Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University in 1976.
After graduating, Barton served as a church youth director. He taught math and science and eventually became principal at Aledo Christian School, a small (less than 100 students) Christian school which grew out of Aledo Christian Center, a church started by Barton's parents.
In 1987 Barton formed Specialty Research Associates, which "focuses on the historical research of issues relating to America’s constitutional, moral, and religious heritage." Specialty Research Associates has submitted amicus curiae briefs in a number of court cases.
Barton is the founder and president of the Aledo-based group WallBuilders, an organization which presents "America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built."
WallBuilders publishes and sells most of Barton's books and videos, some of which present Barton's position that the modern view of separation of church and state is not consistent with the views of the Founders.
Barton is married and has three grown children, including a daughter who does minority outreach for the Republican Party of Texas.
Barton is a former Vice Chairman of the Texas Republican Party and has acted as a political consultant to the Republican National Committee on outreach to evangelicals.
He serves on the Board of Advisors of the nonprofit National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools organization, publisher of a controversial Bible curriculum for use in public schools (not to be confused with The Bible and Its Influence curriculum).
This curriculum contains a number of direct quotations from Barton's books, recommends the resources published by WallBuilders, and advocates showing that group's video, Foundations of American Government, at the beginning of the course.
One of the WallBuilders speakers is Rick Green, a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives and a candidate for the Texas Supreme Court in the April 13, 2010 runoff election.
According to its website, the Providence Foundation is a nonprofit Christian educational organization whose mission is to spread liberty, justice, and prosperity among nations by instructing individuals in a Biblical worldview.
Emphasis is said to be upon educating in principles, rather than issues, drawing upon examples in history for illustration.
In an article discussing Barton, The Nation described the Providence Foundation as "a Christian Reconstructionist group that promotes the idea that biblical law should be instituted in America."
In Barton’s book The Myth of Separation, the author states his belief that Christians were the ones who were intended to hold public office and that Jews and members of other sects were not.
According to Skipp Porteous of the Massachusetts-based Institute for First Amendment Studies, Barton was listed in promotional literature as a "new and special speaker" at a 1991 summer retreat in Colorado sponsored by Scriptures for America, a far-right Christian Identity ministry headed by Pastor Pete Peters, ***which has been linked to neo-Nazi groups. (only accused by slanderous left!)
However, Barton claimed that he was unaware of the group's anti-Semitic and racist views at the time.
Barton received two Angel Awards (awarded to "people in any form of the media who have successfully contributed to the advancement of quality in life without the unnecessary need for violence, profanity and sexual content to sell to their audience") from the group Excellence in Media.
He has appeared in Time magazine, and has been a guest on Trinity Broadcasting Network, The 700 Club, Fox News Channel, ABC, The Daily Show, and National Public Radio.
Barton's work has been well received by many fundamentalist Christians and political conservatives, notably Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann.
Huckabee's praise was effusive when he followed David Barton as a speaker at the Rediscover God in America Conference in Iowa March 26, 2011:
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been critical, stating
The Religious Right's leading practitioner of this type of historical revisionism is David Barton ... Barton makes a lucrative living traveling the right wing's lecture circuit where he offers up a ***cut-and-paste version of U.S. history liberally sprinkled with gross distortions and, in some cases, outright factual errors. Crowds of fundamentalist Christians from coast to coast can't get enough of it.
[NN - Please notice no one offers any examples of errors or distortions!].
Rev. Randolph Bracy, president of the Orange County, Florida chapter of the NAACP has referred to Barton as a **"Holocaust-denier, an anti-Semite and someone who has called for the death penalty for gay and lesbian people", stating that Barton has "a long history of being related to the worst fringes of our society."
[NN - Please notice he offers no examples of such lies!].
Many historians dismiss his thinking,
[NN - Please notice no one offers any examples of errors or distortions!].
but Barton's advocacy organization, WallBuilders, and his relentless stream of publications, court amicus briefs and books like The Myth of Separation, have made him a hero to millions—including some powerful politicians.
– 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, Time Magazine
Richard V. Pierard, Stephen Phillips Professor of History at Gordon College, describes Barton's work as follows:
Moreover, American history is ***rewritten to become “Christian history,” the story of a people chosen by God and who honored him in the past. David Barton and a host of other evangelicals have produced books and videos setting forth a “holy history” of America—an idyllic past to which we must return if the nation is to be saved from destruction at the hands of secularists.
[NN - Please notice no one offers any examples of errors or distortions!].
Writing in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, (then Republican) Senator Arlen Specter stated:
Probably the best refutation of Barton's argument simply is to quote his own exegesis of the First Amendment: "Today," Barton says, "we would best understand the actual context of the First Amendment by saying, 'Congress shall make no law establishing one Christian denomination as the national denomination.'"
In keeping with Barton's restated First Amendment, Congress could presumably make a law establishing all Christian denominations as the national religion, and each state could pass a law establishing a particular Christian church as its official religion.
– Arlen Specter, Defending the wall: Maintaining church/state separation in America
First Muslim Congressman statement
In 2007, Barton published an article suggesting that founding-era Senator John Randolph of Roanoke of Virginia was actually the first Muslim member of Congress in reaction to the recent election of Keith Ellison (D-MN), a practicing Muslim.
Barton's statement garnered widespread coverage in the evangelical Christian media at the time, but appears to have been based on a misinterpretation of a passage in which Randolph reported a youthful flirtation with agnosticism and professed sympathy for the Muslim Arabs during the crusades.
Randolph was a practicing Episcopalian for most of his life, and biographer William Cabell Bruce considered Randolph's self-described "absurd prejudice in favor of Mohammedanism" a vagary that soon passed.
In an article titled "Unconfirmed Quotations," Barton conceded that he has not located primary sources for eleven of the alleged quotes from James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions (hence, the title of the article), but maintained that the quotes were "completely consistent" with the views of the Founders.
This drew heavy criticism from Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who accused Barton of "shoddy workmanship", and said that despite these and other corrections, Barton's work "remains rife with distortions of history and court rulings".
WallBuilders responded to its critics by saying that Barton followed "common practice in the academic community" in citing secondary sources, and that in publishing "Unconfirmed Quotations," Barton's intent was to raise the academic bar in historical debates pertinent to public policy.
The Texas Monthly noted that Barton has denied saying that in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists "Jefferson referred to the wall of separation between church and state as 'one-directional'—that is, it was meant to restrain government from infringing on the church's domain but not the other way around.
There is no such language in the letter."
The article goes on to note that this denial is contradicted by a 1990 version of Barton's video America's Godly Heritage in which Barton states:
“On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote to that group of Danbury Baptists, and in this letter, he assured them—he said the First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, he said, but that wall is a one-directional wall.
It keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.”
[NN - We all forget - even Bill Clinton struggles to know what the meaning of "is" is! Barton is correct, the wall if separation is uni-directional and he needs to stand strongly by it!].
Barton was also criticized for speaking at two functions that were organized by Christian Identity adherent and Holocaust denier Pete Peters' ministry, although he later stated that he "didn't know they (the groups he spoke at) were part of the Nazi movement".
Barton's legitimacy was reported to be growing in 2006, due largely to his first work which was not self-published, a 2003 article in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, (Volume XVII Issue No. 2, 2003, p. 399), a "rather tame survey" on Jefferson’s writings about the First Amendment.
1. ^ Using History to Mold Ideas on the Right
2. ^ a b c d e f Blakeslee, Nate (2006-09). "King Of the Christocrats". Texas Monthly 34 (9): 1. ISSN 01487736. http://www.texasmonthly.com/mag/issues/2006-09-01/feature5.php. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
3. ^ a b Wallbuilders Overview
4. ^ David Barton Bio
5. ^ a b Specter, Arlen (Spring 1995). "Defending the wall: Maintaining church/state separation in America". Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 18 (2): 575–590. http://connection.ebscohost.com/content/article/1027400469.html.
6. ^ David Barton - Propaganda Masquerading as History, People for the American Way
7. ^ Dissecting the religious right's favorite Bible Curriculum, Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
8. ^ a b c 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, Time
9. ^ What is Christian Nationalism?, Michelle Goldberg, Salon.com, May 14, 2006
10. ^ [http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/07/07/glenn-beck-university/ Perusing the Glenn Beck University Curriculum Guide, Kayla Webley, Time Magazine, July 7, 2010.
11. ^ The Foundations of American Freedom, Christian Broadcasting Network
12. ^ a b The Turnaround in Education, David Barton
13. ^ The Turnaround in Education, David Barton, Oral Roberts University
14. ^ Aledo Christian School
15. ^ Aledo Christian School history
16. ^ Amicus Curiae Brief
17. ^ WESTSIDE COMMUNITY BD. OF ED. v. MERGENS, 496 U.S. 226 (1990)
18. ^ History of the Republican Party of Texas
19. ^ The Dobson way, Dan Gilgoff, U.S. News & World Report, 1/9/05
20. ^ David Barton & the 'Myth' of Church-State Separation, Deborah Caldwell, Beliefnet
21. ^ NCBCPS Board of Directors and Advisors
22. ^ The Revised Curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, Mark A. Chancey, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University, October 2005
23. ^ a b Providence Foundation Mission statement
24. ^ In Contempt of Courts, Max Blumenthal, The Nation, April 11, 2005
25. ^ Church & State Volume 46, No. 4, April 1993, pp 8-12
26. ^ a b Little Green Footballs - Glenn Beck Promotes Theocracy and Interviews David Barton - Speaker at Neo-Nazi Rallies
27. ^ http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=144 Article from Wallbuilders.com, retrieved 6, July, 2010
28. ^ http://www.wallbuilders.com/downloads/newsletter/IsPresidentObamaCorrectIsAmericaNoLongeraChristianNation.pdf Article from Wallbuilders.com, retrieved 6, July, 2010
29. ^ "Beck University". http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/glenn-beck-university-opens/19543970/. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
30. ^ Angel Awards History
31. ^ Angel Awards 2007 Winners
32. ^ Eckholm, Erik (May 4, 2011). "Using History to Mold Ideas on the Right". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/us/politics/05barton.html. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
33. ^ Rediscover God in America Conference March 26, 2011, accessed May 5, 2011
34. ^ "Mike Huckabee Wants People To Be Forced to Listen To David Barton At Gunpoint" video on YouTube uploaded by RWWBlog on Mar 24, 2011, accessed May 5, 2011
35. ^ A man with a message; Self-taught historian's work on church-state issues rouses GOP, Chris Vaughn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 22, 2005
36. ^ a b Texas Textbook Massacre Architect Backing Grayson Opponent by Ryan Grimm, The Huffington Post, August 26, 2010
37. ^ Boston Theological Institute Newsletter Volume XXXIV, No. 17, Richard V. Pierard, January 25, 2005
38. ^ The Role of Pastors and Christians Part Six by David Barton
39. ^ Inside the Beltway
40. ^ John Randolph of Roanoke, 1773-1833: a biography based largely on new material, Volume 2
41. ^ a b Barton, David. "Unconfirmed Quotations". WallBuilders website. http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=126.
42. ^ "Wallbuilders Shoddy Workmanship". Church & State (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) 49 (7): 11–13. July/August 1996. http://www.members.tripod.com/candst/boston2.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
43. ^ Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists
 External links
* David Barton biography
* Oral Roberts University Profile
* 700 Club Profile
* Works by or about David Barton in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
* Barton Revises History to Promote the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools
* David Barton - Propaganda Masquerading as History
o "Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America" "Right Wing Watch" People for the American Way
* Religious Right History Revisionism
* Examples of Unsourced, and False Quotes
* Barton Criticism
* Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty criticism of Barton
* "Barton’s Contempt for Religious Freedom" from the Texas Freedom Network
* David Barton, Master of myth and misinformation
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