The downfall of Christian Reconstructionist
I'm with Ed Kilgore on this. I'm gobsmacked that Christian Reconstructionist psuedo-historian David Barton has been unceremoniously debunked by conservative Christian academics:
[T]urns out I underestimated conservative evangelical scholarship, which has turned against Barton with a vengeance, as noted by Thomas Kidd in the latest issue of World magazine:
Jay W. Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author with James Robison of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, spoke alongside Barton at Christian conferences as recently as last month. Richards says in recent months he has grown increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings, so he asked 10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.
Their response was negative. Some examples: Glenn Moots of Northwood University wrote that Barton in The Jefferson Lies is so eager to portray Jefferson as sympathetic to Christianity that he misses or omits obvious signs that Jefferson stood outside “orthodox, creedal, confessional Christianity.” A second professor, Glenn Sunshine of Central Connecticut State University, said that Barton’s characterization of Jefferson’s religious views is “unsupportable.” A third, Gregg Frazer of The Master’s College, evaluated Barton’s video America’s Godly Heritage and found many of its factual claims dubious, such as a statement that “52 of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention were ‘orthodox, evangelical Christians.’” Barton told me he found that number in M.E. Bradford’s A Worthy Company.
Barton is Glenn Beck's most important intellectual adviser, along with large numbers of right wingers who desperately want to believe that America was founded as an evangelical theocratic state. It may even be that some of these Christian academics want to believe that too but apparently they also believe that you should just make shit up to bolster your case, which is what Barton's been doing.
It's so bad that his publisher has pulled back his latest book. And in those circles, that's really saying something. As Kilgore says:
So next time you hear some pol or gabber say confidently that it’s a “well-known fact” this was intended to be a “Christian Nation” with eternal constitutional rules of governance which happen to coincide with the conservative movement’s economic and social prejudices, you might want to ask: “Who Says?” If it’s David Barton, it might be time to laugh.