“The Jefferson Lies,” by David Barton.

David Barton is a best selling author of Christian books.  He writes about history.

Barton has a degree in Christian Education from Oral Roberts University, is a preacher and founded an organization, Wallbuilders.  He is a former co chair  of the Republican Party of Texas.

Barton’s life long passion is to get his brand of religion into government.  He has long proclaimed the founding fathers did not believe in a separation of church and state. Conservative celebrities such as Mike Huckabee endorse him.

His latest book, The Jefferson Lies, has been selling well to parents who home school their children.  The theme of the book is Barton’s claim that most of what is universally taught and reported about Jefferson is untrue or questionable.

This includes that he fathered a child with a slave, that he held slaves by choice, that he made his own version of the Bible by clipping out the miracle parts and that he was not  enthusiastic about the Christian faith.

On release of this book, stores were busy selling it. Critics were busy debunking the book and Barton.

The criticism chours began in include professors from deep Christian schools.  Critics pointed to errors and undocumented claims Barton made about Jefferson.

Yesterday, it was too much for the publisher who recalled the book.  Barton says he will simply find another publisher.

Rewriting history has been a goal of some parts of the Christian establishment. Barton’s books should be published as his opinion, not as history.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/6271/david_barton%3A_falling_from_grace_/

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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39 Responses to “The Jefferson Lies,” by David Barton.

  1. Henry says:

    Barton’s works are usually well cited. I’d like to hear on what specific points he was in error. Jon, do you want to give it a try? You have some education behind you.

  2. Michael Ross says:

    Are you saying Jefferson didn’t own slaves? That he didn’t father a child by Sally Hemings, a slave girl? Jefferson was a great man. So was John F. Kennedy and King David. With all great men there is good and bad. In the end they all fail. They all succumb to temptation. No human is worthy be being a king or president. That is too much power for fallen man. That is why God did not want to put a king over Israel. He was to be their King. Their is only One righteous King and for 2000 years we have known His name.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 3:02 This Barton guy claimed Jefferson owned slaves but legal circumstances prevented him from setting them free. There were no such circumstances legitimate historians say. I didn’t read the book, but a review said he claimed Jefferson might not have cut up that Bible. Historians say it is well documented that he did–many other things like that made the publisher take down the book.

      On Israel and kings, I don’t think it was a god’s doing that there was not a king. More likely the tribes could not agree. They were probably better off without one.

      • Michael Ross says:

        But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day; with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods (ISamuel 8:6-8)

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Michael 3:30 “..I have brought them out of Egypt…”

          Scholars seem in agreement the various tribes went in and out of Eygpt for many years. The story they were led out of Eygpt en masse is apparently a myth. There is not indepent source of evidence they left as a group. There is a lot of surviving written material of that time and no note of 30% of the population and their animals leaving at once.

          • Michael Ross says:

            God said it happened, you say it didn’t. Let’s see, whom to believe, the eternal creator God or a politician. Hmmmm.

            Some acheologists say it happened, some say it didn’t.

            Guess we must chose what to believe. I would invetigate the other side before making such a choice. Here is a good place to start:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GzrjQ2UJzzU

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Michael 4:47 I did watch most of that UTube. In all due respect, it offers no evidence whatsoever. Things like,God sent mana to keep people alive, or, here is the rock mentioned in the Bible, or, the mountain is black because God set it on fire, or, “thing carved minora is undoubtable the oldest ever found (how old is it?) are simply explanations made up to justify what people already want to believe is true.

            A Christian personal friend sent me another video that had a different sent of sites and a different narrative of what happened.

  3. c. douglas says:

    Henry seems to have the same tenuous grasp of reality as David Barton. Barton’s history of fabricating quotes goes back to the early 90s when he was hob-knobbing with white supremacists, holocaust deniers and members of the “Christian identity” movement.

    The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs and many others have debunked and decried Barton’s blatant dishonesty. The article “David Barton Falsifies American Hisotry” in the July 1996 issue of Church & State Magazine was one of the earlier exposes of Barton’s lies.

    Of course Barton’s quotes are “well cited,” Henry. That’s easy to do if you are making up sources.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      c. 3:22 Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if Henry is serious or not in calling Barton’s books “works”. They are jokes. Henry should read the reviews by scholars from Christian colleges and dispute them if he is able.

      • Henry says:

        Jon, I am a little surprised (or perhaps not) that you are relying on the findings on Christian scholars for your take on the Barton controversy. Not only are you being hypocritical, but you are also being very inconsistent. This does not reflect well on the reasoning of atheism. You need to step it up a bit and put those letters behind your Christian name to work.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 5:02 Let’s look at it this way. The book’s publisher invested gazillions of dollars in the project, probably paid the bozo author an advance to get the contract. The publisher expected to make a bundle in return. Now, the publisher has found the criticisms so valid it has withdrawn the book from the market in order to same its own reputation.

          That’s about all I need to know.

          • Henry says:

            Ok, now you are no longer relying on the Christian scholars like you indicated earlier. Now, your position on Barton following a little scrutiny and skepticism has changed to relying on the economics of the publisher pulling the books off the racks. Fair enough. Thanks.

            I am trying to understand your position, but the target is moving all over the place.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 5:33 Might it be the publisher read the critique of the Christian scholars? I would think so.

          • Henry says:

            So you are relying on a secondary (more like third) source for the criticism of Barton using secondary sources. Jon, that is fine if that is your position.

            Again, my position is I haven’t acknowledged or denied if Barton has errors in his work, “The Jefferson Lies”. Quite frankly, I don’t know, but am curious.

          • entech says:

            Jon you are falling for another henry sophisticated word game.

    • Henry says:

      c. Douglas: “Henry seems to have the same tenuous grasp of reality as David Barton.”

      I didn’t endorse Barton’s work or claim he didn’t have errors. (You’ll have to re-read what I had written in order to compensate for your tenuous reading comprehension skills.) I simply asked for the specific errors.

      Some authorities accuse him of relying too heavily on secondary sources. It is truly amazing Jon relies on secondary sources to lambast Barton for what Barton is accused of. Seems to be a little hypocritical of Jon.

      Again, for the record for those who are still confused, I haven’t denied or acknowledged Barton’s errors. I just wanted those who are lambasting him to define those errors. My skepticism should be widely embraced by atheists. For some reason, it doesn’t seem like it is. Makes me think the atheist theology is merely empty words and accusation.

    • Henry says:

      c. Douglas” “Barton’s history of fabricating quotes goes back to the early 90s when he was hob-knobbing with white supremacists, holocaust deniers and members of the “Christian identity” movement.”

      The three groups you reference have been associated with Nazism. Your first post fulfills Godwin’s law. Good job.

  4. Henry says:

    I’d like to hear on what specific points he was in error. Let’s see Barton’s claim, which is supposedly disputed, along with Barton’s citation and the basis for the dispute.

  5. Wanna B Sure says:

    I don’t know what the fuss is with the Jefferson Bible. Exactly the same thing is done today with the numerous agenda bibles; The Recovery Bible, The Millennium Bible, Prosperity Bibles, Sobriety Bibles, various specialty Bibles, Student Bibles, Abundant Life Bibles, Believers Bible, Patriot’s Bible, Chronological Bible, Airman’s Bible, Firefighter’s Bible, Marine’s Bible, Police officer’s Bible, Sailor’s Bible, and on and on and on. Several have “cut and paste” features, the same as Jefferson’s Bible. It appears that most folks who decry Jefferson’s Bible, are the same people who are promoting all these multiple agenda Bibles. It appears Jefferson had a specific purpose for his creation to be used with the Native Americans, without all the ecclesiology. His objective was no more, or less than any of the newer speciality publications. The only difference with his cut and paste to today’s cut and paste, was that he actually used a scissors, and glue. Today many of the TV preachers seem to use only Ezekial, Daniel, and Revelations. What’s the difference? Answer—None.

    • Michael Ross says:

      You forgot the American Patriots (i.e. Warmongers) Bible put out by Jerry Fallwell. Actually it was a King James Bible with a Minute Man on a leather cover. You could have one “free” for $500 donation.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        I believe I did mention the Patriot’s Bible. For the sake of brevity, I didn’t include the “American”. Oh, yes, let’s not forget a prominent specialty/agenda Bible entitled; “The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures”. Just about every TV preacher has his own version/slant to sell. Good profit in it I’m sure. I’m also sure I missed a few more though.

    • entech says:

      Only the Wanna bible is perfect but it has not been finished yet.
      a few excerpts can be found here.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        The word, the word, Oh yes, I remember now, “petty”. Yup, dad-gum, that purtee well sez’it gooder ’nuff.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 7:40 “Only the Wanna bible is perfect..”

        I’ll write the promotial text on the cover, “You’ve read the other Bibles, here is the one with everything absolutely correct.”

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          What is a promotial? More “petty” “error”. Small Jon, and entech, very small. Time for a nap Jon, and time for bed Dave.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech, Jon; Really ! If this is the best you can do, you are not worthy of continuing discussion. You both are guilty of using the same tactics you accuse others of .

  6. entech says:

    With the slaves bearing children surely Jefferson was only following the example set by abraham.

  7. Stan says:

    Off topic…..what about that shooting in DC this weekend? Could have been a real blood bath.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Stan 1:33 What observations do you have on the shooting?

    • Stan says:

      That hate comes from both sides. Hate against the right is ignored by the Lame Stream Press.

    • Henry says:

      “Corkins is accused of walking into the lobby of the Family Research Council, which opposes expanding gay rights, and telling security guard Leonardo Johnson, “I don’t like your politics,” before shooting him in the arm during a scuffle. Police said Johnson subdued Corkins.”

      A genuine hate crime. Instead of charges plus hate crime charges, a psych eval for the liberal. How nice.

      • Stan says:

        And then he pleads, “don’t SHOOT ME! It’s not you, it’s this place.” Sounds like this one would have given himself up when the cops arrived. Didn’t even have the conviction to die for his beliefs, just to kill. I hope it was an EXTREMELY rough take down.

      • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

        Pretty sure that the guy in Wisconsin who shot up the temple is getting a psych evaluation and I know that the guy in Arizona who shot the congress woman got one.

        Fortunately the fervent belief in an imaginary sky bully doesn’t disqualify a person from prosecution.

  8. Doubtful says:

    I have never heard of Barton before and reading this article I can not tell which side of the opinions on Jefferson he supports and I don’t really care. I do find it typical of Jon that he realizes that the publishers decision to publish the book was a financial one but assumes that the decision to withdraw the book was not, because he can make use of the idea that the decision to withdraw the book was due intellectual honesty.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      doubtful 2:15 You are correct I assumed the decision by the publisher was the profit motive. I suppose there are isolated cases where this is not the motive, but I would guess it is rare. Thus, when the publisher withdrew the book, I made the further assumption it was because taking a loss on this book and would lose less money axing it than being known as a publisher that sell books marketed as legitimate history but are propaganda.

      Which side is this Barton on? He is on the side which promotes the idea this is a Christian nation because that’s what its founders wanted. To promote this bogus view, he makes up reasons to argue Jefferson was a believing Christian, not an atheist or deist.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “To promote this bogus view, he makes up reasons to argue Jefferson was a believing Christian, not an atheist or deist.”

        Jon, you are sounding more like a rabid Presbyterian minister in 1800 (John Mitchell Mason) declaring Jefferson to not be a Christian (Note: Some sea changes have occurred in the Presbyterian Church from 1800 to 2012).

        Meanwhile, you overlook a Jefferson ally and friend Mr. Tunis Wortman declare that Jefferson was a Christian, not a deist, and most certainly not an atheist.

        Nobody needs to make anything up about Jefferson. Political opponents slandered him as either an atheist or a deist providing grist for the modern atheist of 2012. Meanwhile, Jefferson’s friends of 1800 considered him a Christian.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 11:21 “..you overlook a Jefferson ally….”

          You really should direct you remarks to the publisher of Barton’s book and tell them Barton is right on all counts.

          • Henry says:

            I would, but I do not know exactly what the publisher’s specific claims are. However, you are kind enough to provide your specific claims, which can be easily rebutted.

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