If you missed the Glenn Beck program last night, you missed an outstanding summation of the smear campaign against David Barton and a powerfully concise response to the plethora of attacks.
You can watch the entire program by signing up for the free trial at www.GBTV.com.
Beck takes Barton through the arguments of the critics and one by one the sensationalized charges are found to be wanting…empty rhetoric using the tiniest of semantics over one fact out of thousands to try and discredit the entire premise of the book.
For instance, let’s consider the premise in Barton’s book that Jefferson was not the hardcore secular atheist, religion hating, anti-Jesus character that the left wing of today loves to portray him as. Here’show the critics respond to that part of Barton’s book:
1. Barton presents dozens and dozens of examples (backed by original documentation and hundreds of footnoted resources) of Jefferson actions and statements that supported and affirmed the Christian religion (these actions include everything from privately & publicly giving of his limited funds to help preachers, build churches, fund Bibles, etc. AND his support of government actions supporting religion as well, his support and patronage of church services on federal property, AND his membership in the Virginia Bible Society, giving Bibles as gifts, etc…. just to name a very few of the scores of examples in The Jefferson Lies).
2. The critics then proceed to nit-pick one or two of the many, many examples and they do not even deny the example entirely, they just disagree on how Barton presents it. But they create false image of him being entirely wrong on his entire premise so that the publisher and the public has “lost confidence.”
One of Barton’s MANY examples of Jefferson supporting religion, not hating it, is the fact that Jefferson “personally helped finance the printing of one of America’s groundbreaking editions of the Bible.” The semantic is over the meaning of “helped finance.” Often book printings of that day required enough “subscriptions” to finance the printing, so those that supported the book (in this case a Bible) would commit to funding through that subscription and the author and/or publishing could use those subscriptions to directly pay for the project or use them like an IOU to get a bank loan. But the critics hypothesize that since Jefferson was not the sole funder putting up all the money that he had not “helped finance” the printing of that Bible.
I can usually make sense of the world through baseball, so forgive the following sports analogy. If I make the statement that “Mitch Moreland helped the Rangers defeat the Yankees 10-6 yesterday” (which he did and they did!!!!), a Barton critic would parse that statement and say that I am “riddled with errors, misleading statements, etc.” They would then spend 50 pages documenting every other facet of yesterdays game to downplay Mitch’s contribution to the game. Their “smoking gun” would be the fact that Mitch “was o for 3 and did not have a single base hit the entire game!” They would point to Josh Hamilton’s two doubles, Mike Olt’s RBI’s, the great bullpen pitching…all of which is very true, but NONE of it negates the fact that Mitch DID in fact help the Rangers win. He did not have a walk-off home run or a grand slam, but his contributions included two base on balls at the plate and stellar defense at First Base. So my statement is certainly true, the premise is correct, and the conclusion is correct, but the semantics of these critics would call it all into question because they just do not like the way I portray Mitch Moreland in a positive light and an important part of the team.
Back to Barton and the critics. Let’s summarize this one example that the critics have made such a big deal:
1. Barton gives a full book of examples that Jefferson is not a hardcore secularist.
2. Critics do not deny that Jefferson bought Bibles, gave them as gifts, participated in Bible societies, attended church, gave personal money to support religion, etc. BUT they say his subscription for the 1798 hot-pressed Bible was only a purchase, not in any way the financing of the Bible.
3. Even if they are correct, which they are not…but even if they were, their version of events CHANGES NOTHING! The Rangers still beat the Yankees yesterday with Mitch’s help and Jefferson still spent his personal money on the Word of God!
Now, multiply that example times about 25 other nit-picky semantics these critics are piling up as “evidence” of Barton “errors” and you begin to get the real picture of what is happening here. These are the tactics employed by left wing radicals like Alinsky (and also by that other guy I mentioned earlier that is apparently off limits), whether the tactics are used by today’s left wing radicals or by supposed conservatives, they are still faulty in their logic and presenting a false image of the actual reality.
The indisputable reality is this: Jefferson was a complicated person that throughout his long life changed his position on certain doctrines of Christianity, but he was not an atheist or hardcore secularist. He supported the Christian faith in both the private and public squares.
*NOTE* For all you good folks that are commenting on my previous blogs and ranting and raving about “challenges” back and forth … YES, I will be responding in detail to as many of these semantics as I can find time to do over the next few weeks. I’ve got a road trip of speaking engagements the next 7 days, so my posts will be limited during that time. But rest assured, I will, Lord Willing, finally get to read all the comments and respond. Thank you for participating in the conversation.