By: Charles Sumner To: Carl Blanton Re: David Barton David Barton: +quot;The Myth of Separ

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

By: Charles Sumner To: Carl Blanton Re: David Barton David Barton: "The Myth of Separation," 1989. (Barton also distributes videotapes which feature attacks on separation of church and state.) (This is an expanded refutation.) This book is riddled with factual errors, half-truths, and distortions. Barton quotes Jefferson as saying that the wall of separation is one-directional. Jefferson never said that. Such a thought is ridiculous to any student of Jefferson's thoughts. Barton says that the Supreme Court lifted the phrase "wall of separation" from a speech Jefferson made in 1801. It actually came from a letter Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptists in 1802. Barton claims that later in the "speech" Jefferson said, "That wall is a one-directional wall. It keeps the government from running the church but it makes sure that Christian principles will stay in government." This is total fabrication! Barton claims that 55 of the founding fathers were orthodox, evangelical Christians. Most were Anglicans, hardly considered evangelical (a term not in general use in that period.) Some, like Jefferson, were deists. Barton claims that the early versions of the First Amendment prove that it was meant only to prohibit establishment of a national church. Early drafts prove exactly the opposite. Barton twists the meanings and facts of several Supreme Court decisions to promote his religious right philosophy. He claims that the Engle (prayer) decision was not based on history or prior church-state decisions. For the truth of this one need only read the actual decision, in which Hugo Black reviewed colonial history and William Douglas reviewed previous church- state decisions. Barton often quotes lower court opinions as if they were opinions of the Supreme Court. Barton and others are attempting to rewrite history to suit their political agenda. Most libraries have "Church, State, and Freedom," by Leo Pfeffer. A new book is "Why the Religious Right is Wrong," by Rob Boston. There are many other titles of books which do not distort the facts. Ask a librarian. Barton's group called "WallBuilders" is a moneymaking operation, not a nonprofit group as some may think. The falsehoods and distortions in his books and videotapes have been picked up by other religious extremists and propagated further. The so- called Christian Coalition is one of these. For a copy of an article debunking David Barton or for a list of books on what the separation of church and state really means, send me your mailing address via private e-mail.---


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank