In Barton’s world, the Founding Fathers were intent on establishing a Christian nation, a sort of theocracy-lite. The secular nature of the Constitution is but a slight inconvenience, especially when the Texas-based Barton and his outfit WallBuilders are willing to bombard receptive ears “with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact,” as one critic put it.
Of course, critics from Barton’s left aren’t as damaging as one might expect. In fact, Barton and his followers take some measure of reassurance when liberal groups challenge this “psuedoscholarship,” as former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter called it. If those guys are against it, the thinking goes, then we must be doing something right.
However, some of Barton’s loudest and most recent dissenters are those who know him best. Earlier this month, the publisher of his most recent book, The Jefferson Lies, opted to no longer publish it. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company asked retailers to return unsold editions and suggested that online booksellers stop selling the e-edition.
What happened? Thomas Nelson Publishers “lost confidence in the book’s details,” according to Casey Francis Harrell of the company.
Leading the charge against Barton’s book are two academics from Grove City College, a well-known institution in conservative Christian circles. The school describes itself as “committed to Christian principles.” While rejecting “political, ideological, or philosophical agendas, objective truth continues as the goal,” according to the college’s website.
Grove City professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter have done just that, setting straight the record on Thomas Jefferson and his unorthodox beliefs on religion. Barton’s carefully constructed revision of U.S. history to shape it into something he wishes it to be requires that Jefferson be someone he simply was not.
Good for Throckmorton, Coulter and many others generally aligned with Barton’s ideology who were willing to call out this revisionist history. We hope those pushing Alabama Public TV to air Barton’s misinformation are paying attention.