David Barton is the Religious Right’s premier pseudo-historian. His claims that the Founders were evangelical Christians and that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation are often touted as academic proof. As a result, I’m thrilled to see psychology professor Warren Throckmorton debunking several of Barton’s claims. In case anyone was still confused, this is what real history looks like. Using original documents doesn’t automatically make something history. Using context, understanding what’s not on the page, and even just being honest about the difference between preprinted words in a fill-in-the-blanks legal document and what was actually written by Thomas Jefferson, that’s real history.
Edited to add: Yet another example has emerged of Barton using a fake quote attributed to John Quincy Adams. There is no excuse for Barton not having checked his sources on this. Using an encyclopedia of quotations without further back-checking is an undergrad mistake, and it belies his supposed interest in primary sources and original documents. He’s not a historian, and he’s not even a particularly good propagandist. Don’t shame my profession by associating him with it, please.
On a similar note, Slacktivist explains why Oklahoma residents who proudly claim the title of “Sooners” can’t criticize illegal immigrants. Or, to put it more simply: