David Barton: Liar or Biblically Illiterate?

David Barton continues to make the monumentally dishonest argument that many provisions of the Constitution were “direct quotations right out of Bible verses.” And he adds a couple of new Bible verses that not only aren’t directly quoted in the Constitution, they aren’t even distantly related to anything found in it.

If you will take the Constitution in one hand and read its language and take a Bible in the other hand and read it, you’ll say “wow, that’s a direct quotation out of a Bible verse.” Yeah, exactly. If you’ll look through the Constitution, you’ll find so many direct quotations right out of Bible verses because that’s what they put in the document.

Now today we’re often told, on no, the Constitution is a secular document, it’s a godless document. When people tell me that, I know that they’re biblically illiterate, they don’t recognize Bible verses. If you read the content of that and you know the Bible, you’ll say “hey, that’s a direct quote out of Ezra 7:24 and there it is out of Deuteronomy 17:5.” It’s just throughout the Constitution.

Okay, let’s take a look. Here’s what Ezra 7:24 says:

You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.

He thinks this is the source for not taxing churches. But guess what? The Constitution says nothing at all on that subject. Nothing. It gives Congress the power to tax, but it says nothing about taxing or not taxing churches.

And here’s Deuteronomy 17:5:

take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.

And the part of the constitution that quotes this verse verbatim would be….? I’ll wait.


  1. ArtK says

    Ed, those verses are just context. The literal quoting is of much shorter things. Things like ‘the’, ‘of’, ‘tax’, ‘man’, ‘authority’.

  2. d cwilson says

    I vote liar. He’s certainly spent a lot of time mining for quotes that he can take out of context and distort. That actually requires him to be literate. The thing is, his lies are so transparent that he has to betting that his audience is too lazy to look things up for themselves and will just nod in agreement.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Otrame writes:

    Liar. And a liar that knows his audience is biblically illiterate.

    To some degree perhaps some are, but in this context the audience may not be but assuredly is illiterate to what is in the U.S. Constitution. And most are also incapable of comprehending those elements that falsify the Christian Nation lie. Conservative Christians predominately don’t have the mental capability to reject that which they believe and like believing; in fact proving them wrong increases their commitment to their false beliefs.

  4. d cwilson says

    This was the original Second Amendment, it guaranteed the right to bear stones.

    Yeah, but we had to put a stop to that, what with bears being an endangered species. They need to keep their stones now.

  5. says

    “David Barton: Liar or Biblically Illiterate?”.

    Never attribute to stupidity or malice what can be attributed to arrogant indignorance AND malice.

  6. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    I think the reference to Deut. 17:5 was a slip of the tongue on Barton’s part. When I first read about this there was an associated video presentation that mentioned Deut. 17:6 and Deut. 17:15, but not Deut. 17:5. My suspicion is that Barton meant to refer to one of the verses mentioned in the video and just misspoke.

    Just for reference, Barton thinks Deut. 17:6 bears on the requirement of two witnesses for a conviction for treason:

    At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

    and Deut. 17:15 on the requirement that the President be natural-born:

    Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

  7. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    the President be natural-born

    Oops. I meant to say “the President be a natural-born citizen”.

    We can has edit function?

  8. david says

    I figure that Barton is one of those people who reads the bible to mean whatever he wants it to mean, and reads the constitution the same way. It’s not a far stretch from there to interpret “direct quotation” to mean “as I see it.”
    So, neither illiterate nor a liar. Just interpreting things differently. I’m sure that Barton would say his interpretation is the correct one, and those who disagree have misread the texts he understands so well.

  9. Chiroptera says

    david, #19: Just interpreting things differently.

    If we were discussing the reasonable difference of opinon of an honest and intelligent person, I’d agree.

    But in this case, Barton (and his ilk) seem to be interpreting different sounds to the very letters of the alphabet.

  10. says

    I figure that Barton is one of those people who reads the bible to mean whatever he wants it to mean, and reads the constitution the same way. It’s not a far stretch from there to interpret “direct quotation” to mean “as I see it.”

    So, neither illiterate nor a liar. Just interpreting things differently. I’m sure that Barton would say his interpretation is the correct one, and those who disagree have misread the texts he understands so well.

    I’m sorry, but “direct quotation”, “word for word”, and “verbatim” are words and phrases that have the same specific meaning, and that meaning is not “are similar in some vague way”. Barton either doesn’t understand the meaning of these terms, or he’s a liar. And even if you give him a pass on that part, it requires a comical degree of poor reasoning to see the connections that he sees and to regard them as evidence that the authors of the Constitution consulted the Bible. So, yeah, it’s an interpretation all right, but one that requires either remarkable stupidity or dishonesty. Or both.

  11. imthegenieicandoanything says

    So, this uestion is like offering me Neapolitan ice cream, then asking if I want chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.

  12. iangould says

    I think most of these nuts start out genuinely believing their nonsense.

    By the time they start encountering reasoned, detailed counterarguments they’ve committed thmselves publicly and in many cases have a tidy income dependent upon continuingto tell their audiences what they want to hear.

    So they either rationalize away the counterarguments (because peopel are rweally good at that when money and public humiliation are at stake) or they start lying consciously nd deliberately.

  13. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    the President be natural-born – Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Well, that rules out Robomormon!

  14. Ichthyic says

    The second amendment is obviously a direct quote of 2Kings 2:24.

    of course! all this time they got it wrong. The founding fathers intended for us all to have trained attack bears, to use at a whim.

    I plan to file a grievance to my former government. I never got my attack bears.

  15. paulburnett says

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne (#16) wrote “the President be a natural-born citizen.”

    Does that mean persons born by caesarean section cannot be President?

  16. says

    What we have here is David Barton has read far more Founding Fathers books than most of you posting cute little statements about David being a liar. David Barton is not the Lone Ranger on saying that the USA Constitution came from the Bible. If you read the contemporary authors during the Founding of This nation and for the next hundred years, you will find they saw a correlation between their Faith in Christ, the Bible and our Constitution. Peter Marshal, Jr, David Manuel, Dr. Jerry Newcombe who wrote “The Book That Made America”, D. James Kennedy, Verna M. Hall in the Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America; K. Alan Snyder who wrote IF THE FOUNDATIONS ARE DESTROYED; Other writers like Cotton Mather first published THE GREAT WORKS OF CHRIST IN AMERICA IN 1702. Noah and Daniel Webster. Governor William Bradford OF THE PLYMOUTH PLANTATION. THE NEW ENGLAND PRIMER published in 1777 and THE ORIGINAL BLUE BACK SPELLER publlshed in 1824 written to give a Christ-Centered Education. Benjamin F. Morris wrote THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND CHARACTER published about 1863.
    We have a culture gap. I have talked with my grand parents who saw the Constitution standing along side of the Bible and believing that it came from the Bible. I am grateful that David Barton has brought a new awareness to our secular thinking culture that America was once a great Christian nation where Freedom was sacred and Life was Sacred and the Pursuit of Happiness was Sacred. Few dared to run for public office without being a Christian who knew the Word of God even if they did not follow it after elected. Still the Bible was the Standard of the Day. You folks need to go to the libraries and dig out the books by the Founding Fathers and do some more reading. Yes, there were secularist business people, but the ruling class came mainly from the Bible Believers.

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