Barton’s Book on Jefferson Gets Pulled by Publisher

Because It's Completely Innacurate. Thank You, Chris Rodda

Barton“There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli

By now, most of you are aware of the fact that the tome of bullshit that was vomited out by David Barton, titled “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson” has been dropped by Thomas Nelson publishers. Really, we should have known something was wrong by the simple fact that the foreword was penned by Glenn Beck. Nevermind that this has been covered by the Tennessean, USA Today and others. No, the real hero of our story is a  brilliant investigative journalist named

Chris Rodda…

Here’s basically what happened:

“Nashville-based Thomas Nelson Publishers has canceled a controversial best-seller by David Barton, an influential evangelical leader, because the book contains historical errors. Barton’s book, “The Jefferson Lies,” claims to expose liberal myths about Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president.

But a group of conservative scholars says Barton’s take on Jefferson is factually untrue. And a group of ministers from Cincinnati called on Nelson to cancel the book. Casey Francis Harrell, director of corporate communications for Thomas Nelson, said the publisher had gotten several complaints about the book and found enough errors to cancel it.”

If anyone deserves to heap on a multitude of “I told you so’s,” to the entire planet, it’s Chris Rodda. She’s been onto Barton for quite a while. To say that her 2006 book, “Liars For Jesus” is informative is like saying Mount Rushmore is a statue. In fact, you should go to her website of the same name and spend some time watching her video series on historical revisionists, including some mind-blowing videos on the Beck-Barton duo. There are also segments of the book available for online reading.

Her work has been widely distributed on The Huffington Post (here as well), as well as Talk To Action. The sheer amount of data that Chris has compiled is staggering, and the detail and research that has gone into her investigation into Barton and his shenanigans puts her square in definition of “expert.” You can pretty much bet good money that most of the authors, writers and bloggers who have written about Barton have been able to do so because of Chris’ research.

On October 25, 2008, Chris presented a copy of her book to Barton while attending a presentation she was giving. A book which, as I stated, debunks many of his lies.  Three months later, she ended up the topic of a segment on his radio show in which he did what he does best. Lie. So Chris did one of the things she does best. Made a video. As do any researcher worth their salt, the information is exhaustive, accurate and well documented. It is also very long, so she split it up into nine segments.

You can start here:

Barton Brought Down…!

Hardly. Even Chris understands this, and has stated so the other day in her blog:

“I want to say that anyone who thinks that Barton’s book being pulled means that Barton has been “taken down,” as some articles are putting it, is wrong. Barton has not been taken down by any stretch of the imagination. His supporters have not lost “faith” in him, and he will find a way to spin this into something that makes him a hero.”

If there is anything that the fundamentalist excels at, it is how to play the martyr card. Considering that Thomas Nelson has never before canceled publication of a New York Times best-seller, this is likely to be spun into something on the level of the actual (sic) crucifixion. In fact, Chris is making predictions on her Facebook page, and invites everyone to join in the fun:

“I’ve already made some predictions on my Facebook page about how I think he’s going to do it. My Facebook page is also where I’ve been talking about this whole Barton thing, so, while I’m too busy to spend much time blogging, please visit me on Facebook.”

In fact, as you are reading this, Chris is working on another the book that debunks Barton’s Jefferson book. I have no doubt it will be on par with what we’ve come to expect from her.


For old times sake, I have to include a few words about Mike Huckabee’s comments regarding David Barton during the Rediscover God in America conference that was held in Iowa during March of 2011. I do this because it was another story covered by Chris, and it focused on Huckabee’s off-hand comment that,

“…almost wished all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

Wait, what? Yes, Mike Huckabee stated that he wished all Americans should be forced at gunpoint to listen to Barton. I know he was joking, but the sad thing is that there are undoubtedly followers of Barton who actually believe this. If you think I am being paranoid, you obviously have not been following the attempts by the religious right to turn this country into a Theocracy – by force, if necessary.

The final video of Huckabee’s introduction was edited to redact the statement, but Chris was one of the “quick-at-mouse” who saved the original video:

The offending remark starts right around the one minute mark, for those of you who become physically ill at the sound of Huckabee’s voice.

Final Thoughts…

On the one hand, you have your run-of-the-mill fundamentalists who regularly blur the lines between religion and politics by their consistent attempts to either change or mutate existing legislation to reflect their particularly heinous brand of morality. We know them well, and many of us easily debunk their ill-founded beliefs by using actual historical documents to show how wrong they are.

However, historical revisionists attempt to change the past in order to justify the rhetoric that comes from the religious right. Kind of reminds of the scene from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” where they bend time to their will:

Or, more relevant, this little nugget of cognitive dissonance:

“Dinosaurs fossils were planted by Satan to throw us on the wrong track, and away from the Lord.  “Dinosaurs” never roamed the earth, and they never breathed.  They only exist in the fossil state.  Do not let Satan lead you away from the unaissailable truth the Bible, which is God’s unfaillible word.”

The above is a comment on the Anti-Evolution website, but over the years I have heard this come from a lot of young earth creationists and it is a typical example of revisionism, but in the science genre. It is much like:

“The universe was created mature, with apparent age. Light from the sun and stars fell on the earth from its beginning.” – Philip Gosse / Henry M. Morris

Barton and his ilk are beyond disingenuous. They are dangerous, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who make it their priority to bring their lies to the forefront. In my opinion, nobody does this better than Chris Rodda. I look forward with great anticipation to her next book, and if you want to learn all about David Barton, you would do good to bypass everyone else and go to the source.

Read Chris Rodda…

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  15 comments for “Barton’s Book on Jefferson Gets Pulled by Publisher

  1. August 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

    No doubt he will keep publishing books, but I think this is a real setback for him.

    • N. Nescio
      August 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      But for now it sure feels good to see demonstrable reality win out over making shit up for Jesus, at least in this specific instance.

  2. August 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    The founding fathers are like Superman to Conservatives. Infinitely powerful, capable of doing no wrong, always victorious, and able to be written into any storyline with no regard needed to be given to facts. All they have to do is please the fans base and they’ll keep buying more comic pseudohistory books.

  3. Gordon Hilgers
    August 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I’m glad people are waking up to this wall of BS. “Christian nationality” was part of the Pan-German movement that led to Hitler’s Germany, and finding in America some kind of “spiritual character” common to us all is astoundingly idiotic and without merit.

    Anyone who has studied the birth of the U. S. knows beyond any doubt that, while there were indeed many Christian believers in revolutionary America, the founders specifically put-in the “freedom of religion” clause because they intended the U. S. to be a secular state. In fact, from a philosophic viewpoint, this new “Christian nationalism” has nothing at all to do with the Age of Reason’s concepts of free will and everything to do with the dumber-than-dumb concept of determinism.

    Determinism has no place in America.

    • August 13, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Everything you just wrote is correct. 15 years ago, we did some research on Hitler, and indeed the speeches he gave attributed the power of Germany to the will of God.

      I see the same thing happening all over again in this country.

      Jefferson wrote a letter to a man about some of the far right Christians of his day-Thom Hartman read it on the air 2 years ago.

      I do have faith in Christ, but not in liars. Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Barton are liars.

      • Corvus illustris
        August 13, 2012 at 11:31 am

        … the speeches [Hitler] gave attributed the power of Germany to the will of God

        and Constantine I (AD 4th c.) attributed his victory at the Mulvian bridge to Christ. Not much later, Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, supressing all others. How much easier it is to control the sheeple when God and Emperor hold hands! And now we see it in the US? Move along, nothing new under the sun …

  4. August 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    This guy was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who ate it up. I usually like Stewart but this time he was way wrong. I don’t have email at present but if someone would send a copy of this to Stewart on the Comedy Channel, I’d be forever grateful.

  5. Hypatia's Daughter
    August 12, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Anyone who wants to be armed to combat revisionist historical lies has to get Chris’ book Liars for Jesus. Her research is meticulous and exhaustive.
    Sorry, I posted this earlier on Pharyngula, but everyone should know about this man and his goals.
    Barton founded Wallbuilders, was a consultant for the Texas BoE for their history revisions (or, more accurately, revisionism).
    He, Gingrich (who has a history degree), and James Dobson worked in organization called United In Purpose to produce a DVD called “One Nation Under God” to promote “the importance of keeping America ‘one nation under God’”. They were showing it in churches all over the country to encourage voters to support the religious agenda. (They called it “Champion the Vote”.)
    They are lying but they know that once a lie is put into a person’s brain, especially a lie they really want to believe, no amount of truth will ever dislodge it.
    I noticed that D’Souza was spouting revisionist b.s. about the DoI in his April debate with Susan Jacoby.
    It’s getting scary out there…….

    • August 12, 2012 at 6:33 am

      Surely, if a religious organisation exceeded its remit, it would automatically lose its entitlement to tax-exempt status? Political campaigning would seem to me to be a particularly egregious and obvious excess.

      You need to get your equivalent of H.M. Revenue & Customs on the case, sharpish. Falsely claiming tax-exempt status is fraud against every honest taxpayer.

      • hypatiasdaughter
        August 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        BecomingJulie, It is against IRS rules for a church to promote a specific candidate or party. They are not supposed to say “Go vote for Obama” or “Vote the Republican ticket”.
        But it is perfectly legal to discuss an issue or policy. So the pastor can say from the pulpit “Support biblical marriage. Vote for Prop 8.” (which removed the rights for gays to marry). The LDS church alone spent over $8 million (of tax exempt religious donations) actually doing that in their temples and in the public sphere. “Champion the Vote” is meant to push religious groups to register and vote. They don’t need to mention who for. Everyone knows (“wink” “wink”) who they should vote for to make America “One Nation Under God”.

        And the IRS has to catch them at it. It has to have the political backbone to go after institutions that have enormous goodwill with the average American. Americans don’t like the government interfering in places they literally consider “sacred”. And, by law, the order to start an IRS investigation of a church has to come from the highest ranks of the IRS – it cannot be initiated by just any agent, as it would for any other group or individual. (An IRS case was thrown out of court solely on the grounds that the investigation was initiated by a lower level agent.)
        Churches have actually planned a day that they will make illegal political sermons from the pulpit as a challenge to the IRS which they claim is infringing on their right to free speech. They call it “pulpit freedom”.
        I suspect you may be English. I’m a Canadian who has been living in the U.S. for nearly 20 years. And the power of the religious right here is so persuasive that it is scary. When my husband retires, we could leave and go back to Canada. I feel tremendously sorry for Americans who have to live with what is happening to their country.
        So I do what little I can by goings on blogs and try to spread the word. Education is the first step.

  6. jscottu
    August 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Turns out that David Barton has the facts on his side. The criticisms are coming from professors and others who are NOT citing original documentation. David Barton’s critics can’t win on the facts. They can only win using intellectually dishonest arguments.

    • August 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Ha ha ha ha! Now THAT’S funny! You’re a funny person! You do standup?

    • August 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      And of course, we should simply accept your blanket statement as fact, but … please remind me of the basis for WHY we should believe your statement. Your saying this reminds me of a grade school kid sticking his fingers in his ear and going “lalalala” so he can’t hear what someone is saying because he doesn’t WANT to hear it.

      Face the FACTS, bro – your hero has been shown to be putting out falsehoods and his book was condemned even by conservatives who share his views about many things. He’s a fraud and it’s time you woke up to the FACTS! Better find yourself a new hero.

    • August 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Not citing original documentation? It’s very obvious that you are just repeating what you’ve heard or read, and that you have not checked for yourself. Guess what? You’ve been lied to. Here is a link to the very extensive list of original sources Rodda foot noted in her book:

      To quote, “This archive is provided to allow those who are reading Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History to view and verify the sources cited in the book’s footnotes.”

      It’s Barton who can’t win on the facts, whose intellectully dishonest arguments can only win by relying on people like you NOT checking to see if what he says is true. Because, obviously, you didn’t.

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