Barton: 4th of July Comes From the Bible

David Barton’s hilariously idiotic attempts to find analogs between America’s founding and passages in the Bible continue. This time he’s claiming that the 4th of July celebrations are based on “Biblical precedent” because, golly gee, they celebrated things too! This is from his new Founder’s Bible, which Right Wing Watch is quoting:

Many of the claims we have heard from Barton before, but the book also to contain several new ones, such as the statement that Independence Day was based on Biblical precedent.

As Barton explains it:

The turning point for the independence of the Jews … was the Passover, when God, in a miraculous demonstration of power, struck down the firstborn of the Egyptians. Out of all the amazing things along Israel’s lengthy road to becoming an independent nation and people, God commanded them to remember that one particular event and to celebrate the anniversary of that one particular day every year thereafter (Exodus 13:10.) And not only were they to honor that day, but they were also to use it to teach the rising generation about what God had done in birthing their nation (Exodus 13:8.)

Barton then explains that some of the Founding Fathers “saw a correlation between the account in Exodus and the American experience,” prompting him to declare that “the Fourth of July is an annual day of celebration and remembrance like that in Exodus 13 – one of the many American practices with Biblical precedents.”

And he’s found a way to distort a Bible verse to turn it into the model for the 2nd amendment too:

Later in the same chapter, Barton declares that the Second Amendment is rooted in Exodus 22 which says that “if a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed” (though Barton conveniently edits out the rest of the line, which says “but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.”) For Barton, this is proof that “the Second Amendment’s ‘right to keep and bear arms’ is the constitutional embodiment of the Biblical right to self-defense found in Exodus 22 (and other passages) – another of the many American rights rooted in Biblical teachings.”

Seriously, if you invented a character on a TV show that made arguments this stupid, people would think you were exaggerating for comedic effect. But this guy doesn’t just exist, he’s a major power broker in the Republican party.

52 comments on this post.
  1. busterggi:

    What’s more Jewish than a month named after a Roman emperor?

  2. mikeyb:

    Sounds like Barton would make a great Secretary of Education in the Romney Administration, perhaps even better than the great Bill Bennett.

  3. bobfromli:

    MY birthday is the 4th of July. So far as I have observed, the fireworks, the Boston Pops, all of that is because I was born. I have never seen it otherwise.

    It is a prima-facie case, Barton is wrong.

  4. cry4turtles:

    How nice of him to “passover” the wholesale slaughter of newborns. That part jumped out at me.

  5. naturalcynic:

    Mais non!!!!! The true correlation is between Passover and 14 Juillet, Bastille Day.

  6. eric:

    I always throw a little lamb’s blood on my door on the 4th. You never know when an omnipotent, omniscent, and all-merciful god could decide to kill your kid because he mistakes you for your neighbor.

  7. Chiroptera:

    And eating turkey on Thanksgiving totally comes from the Bible, too!

  8. andrewjohnston:

    I wonder if anyone’s going to point out to Barton that pretty much every country has a National Day that celebrates its establishment and/or independence?

    Here’s a big list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day

    I get that evangelicals tend to hold an America-centric world view, but do they really think that no other country celebrates its founding?

  9. Michael Heath:

    Re the TV show, I suggest a four-some: David Barton, Victoria Jackson, Chris Monckton, and Bill Dembski. With special guests! Sarah Palin, Anthony Watts, Glenn Beck should all have a rotating guest slot.

  10. Michael Heath:

    I knew I was forgetting somebody; Ray Comfort needs to be in the above mix somehow.

  11. Gregory in Seattle:

    I find it ironic that, in laying out his case for a just and loving deity, Barton quotes where God murdered tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of children in a fit of pique.

  12. Chiroptera:

    andrewjohnston, #8: I wonder if anyone’s going to point out to Barton that pretty much every country has a National Day that celebrates its establishment and/or independence?

    Every nation’s National Day owes it’s origin to the Protestent Hebrew Passover. (No, that wasn’t a typo.)

    Just like every nation’s code of laws ultimate derives from the Ten Commandments.

  13. Chiroptera:

    Barton then explains that some of the Founding Fathers “saw a correlation between the account in Exodus and the American experience…”

    …and then the other Founding Fathers said, “Man, you got to quit smoking that shit.”

  14. Abby Normal:

    I think I’m beginning to understand Barton’s point of view. It’s like how the Leviticus prohibition on mixed fabrics serves as his inspiration to make up lies whole cloth.

  15. Sastra:

    Wasn’t there a book not long ago which argued that the Hebrews were responsible for changing the way the entire world thinks because Abraham was the first person, ever, to take a bunch of people and move? Before that, nobody had ever thought of it, or did it. Ever.

    This tendency to think that all history, anthropology, and social customs can be traced to ONE THING and would otherwise never have happened is the mark of a very limited understanding, a simple and childish mind telling a story. Couple that with religion and you’ve got a match made in hell.

  16. abb3w:

    …he’s claiming all annual festival celebrations of historical events are inherently Biblical? Seems a bit silly. The more proximate inspiration seems likely to be Guy Fawkes day (roughly contemporary in origin and also traditionally involving fireworks).

    That said, I’m having trouble turning up ones older than the ~1400BC associated with Passover. However, China’s Mid-Autumn Festival seems to be attributed to an annual celebration of Chang E’s ascension to the moon with the elixir of immortality won by her lover Hou Yi during the Xia Dynasty.

    Therefore, July 4 is actually a Chinese import.

  17. abb3w:

    Ah, the link provided @8 by andrewjohnston yields Gaecheonjeol from 2457 BC. So, a Korean import instead; my bad.

  18. Ichthyic:

    wait…

    Founder’s Bible?

    wtf?

    Every nation’s National Day owes it’s origin to the Protestent Hebrew Passover. (No, that wasn’t a typo.)

    Just like every nation’s code of laws ultimate derives from the Ten Commandments.

    you know, within the last 2 weeks, I have run into no less than 3 people who are acquaintances of friends on facebook who have said that, and meant it.

    I tried to dispel them of this myth… quite a futile endeavor.

    they really are convinced that all thought and morality arose from the jews in the old testament.

  19. Ichthyic:

    Therefore, July 4 is actually a Chinese import.

    so the trade deficit started long ago!

  20. Ichthyic:

    ok, the founder’s bible:

    http://thefoundersbible.com/

    is it any wonder Barton is saying this shit?

    they basically rewrote the bible TO say it.

    in fact, I rather think this more of a sales pitch on Barton’s part!

  21. Ichthyic:

    these people put conservapedia to shame!

  22. Ichthyic:

    I knew I was forgetting somebody; Ray Comfort needs to be in the above mix somehow.

    he could have his own section of the program called “bible fruits”.

  23. mikeyb:

    Another thing that always irks me about this founding “father” Christian nation revisionism – is why does it matter for today? Many of the founding “fathers” (of course women don’t matter) owned slaves, and the Bible supports slavery, so by this logic then the founding “fathers” intended that we should continue to have slavery. The founding “fathers” were imperfect people, who did some great things and some really stupid and immoral things, and shouldn’t be treated like cardboard mythic figures to draw lessons from.

  24. andrewjohnston:

    @Ichthyic: Barton didn’t rewrite the Bible, he just took a Bible and then crammed in a bunch of other material. That 2200+ page doorstop has a New American Standard Bible in there somewhere, along with articles, biographies, “embedded commentary,” artwork, and whatever else he could find. Because why put all of that into different books when you can cram it into one seven-inch high monstrosity?

  25. John Hinkle:

    You know, Thomas Jefferson was funding the Bible’s printing because he totally believed in the divinity of Jesus.

    Boy was Jefferson pissed when he heard they plagiarized the Bible and called it a new fancy schmancy name: The Constitution. All that money… The only reason Jefferson signed the Constitution was because Jesus did. I have hundreds of original historical sources to corroborate this. I can’t tell you how many PhD’s back me up on this.

  26. Artor:

    @ Michael Heath & Ichthyic
    We have to include Rick Santorum in the frothy mix too. Then the idiocy in the room will reach critical mass and all the wingnuts will vanish into an infinitely dense point. Yes, I really do think they could get even denser than they are.
    Here’s a thought experiment to prove it. How many times have you heard a wingnut spout some obviously false bit of broken logic and thought “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,”? Now observe the fact that you keep having that experience, and the indications that you’ll continue to have it in the future. I think this shows clearly that wingnuts are getting denser & denser all the time.

  27. whheydt:

    Wouldn’t a *real* “Founder’s Bible” be Jefferson’s version?

  28. tommykey:

    Of course July 4th comes from the Bible. Time started when God created the universe, without which there could be no July 4th. It’s all right there in the Bible. So there!

  29. DuWayne:

    Micheal Heath –

    Ray Comfort needs to be in the above mix somehow.

    He always struck me as a total bottom. Him and Dembski. Victoria Jackson could wear jack boots and slap them around a bit. Palin could come on with a seductive “golly gee, (drop trou wearing a massive strap-on) dontcha know…” Kirk Cameron could come on, spanking both of them, talking about how hot it is, how soo…verry…sinnfull it is…

  30. tacitus:

    So let me get this straight. If, on America’s Independence Day, the firstborn son of every Briton had been murdered in their beds while the Americans cowered in their homes protected by the blood of thousands of sacrificial lambs, it should be celebrated today as an act of divine deliverance and mercy?

    And these people call Islamists insane?

  31. umlud:

    Well… except that the vote for independence was on July 2, 1776 and the signing of the Declaration of Independence might not have happened until as late as early August!

  32. F:

    The pillar of smoke and flame stopped in a swamp and said, “You shall build your capital here, and also your capitol.”

    “Wait, what, Lord?” they asked of Him.

    “A Shining City in a swamp, infested with mosquitoes, which now carry the malaria which you hath brought with you, and also a building to house a legislature, on a hill.”

    “Oh,” they said.

    “And the Masons among you shall design and build it, later to be accused of all manner of high weirdness and conspiracy.”

    Waves of murmuring passed through the assembled masses, and a speaker of the people said, “This is not sounding like such a good idea, Lord.”

    “Don’t worry, it gets better,” came the voice of the Lord, and the pillar of smoke and flame somehow seemed to smirk, “You must do this, for it is already written, as I have commanded it”

    “This is already ordained, Lord?” asked the speaker for the peoples. “Where is it written?”

    The pillar of smoke and flame now seemed to… glare at his chosen peoples. “You had better start taking notes, quickly.”

  33. F:

    @ Tacitus:

    Hessian Lair. We haz it.

  34. jba55:

    @29: You know DuWayne, I had been missing your comments around here until now… o_O

  35. Michael Heath:

    Just this past month I was in the home of someone who had just received the years-old Ben Stein creationist attack-on-scientist movie, Expelled, along with David Barton’s book of founding lies, Original Intent. This shit festers and spreads; the suffering and abuse to children by conservative Christians is generational and continues so while we have our fun we also need to continue to realize the harm these people do to others.

  36. Ichthyic:

    Kirk Cameron could come on, spanking both of them, talking about how hot it is, how soo…verry…sinnfull it is…

    …while his buddy Ray lectures us about how the strapon was obviously designed by god because it fits so perfectly for a great many uses!

  37. Modusoperandi:

    Ichthyic “he could have his own section of the program called ‘bible fruits’.”
    ‘Comfort Food’.

    whheydt “Wouldn’t a *real* “Founder’s Bible” be Jefferson’s version?”
    No! Editing out the Bible is bad. Adding stuff to it is perfectly fine. Unless it’s those Catholic additions. Then it’s bad.

  38. Nemo:

    I wouldn’t call Barton’s arguments stupid. I mean, yes, it’s kind of stupid for others to believe in them. But to come up with them in the first place is pretty clever. It takes a lot of mental effort to twist the texts that much to reach the conclusion he wants. Hence his standing as an intellectual to the religious right — they’re not wrong, exactly; it’s just an awful misapplication of intellect.

  39. tacitus:

    I wouldn’t call Barton’s arguments stupid. I mean, yes, it’s kind of stupid for others to believe in them. But to come up with them in the first place is pretty clever.

    I dunno. It’s the exact same thing creationists do to peddle their crap. All they have to do is come up with some superficial explanation that plays to the prejudices of their unquestioning followers who have no inclination to dig into the subject for themselves.

  40. Nibi:

    cry4turtles

    How nice of him to “passover” the wholesale slaughter of newborns. That part jumped out at me.

    You’re only a baby killer if they are fetuses. Being born, they’re responsible for their own health care.

  41. Quine:

    When you make scripture the context, that presupposition lets you interpret events (exegesis) to draw their meaning from scripture. After all, we know the Bible is true because the Bible says so. [/dripping sarcasm]

  42. lowspark13:

    In regards to the part about the 2nd amendment coming from the bible, I have evidence

  43. Ichthyic:

    ‘Comfort Food’.

    LOL

    I thought that was actually a joke, but no…

    reality truly more fucked up than fiction.

  44. Dr X:

    When is Barton going to mention that biblically sound economics is Keynsian. Tax enough to run surpluses in the good years and run deficits in the bad years per Joseph’s advice to Pharaoh, Genesis 17-36

    via Brad Delong

  45. geoffreyegan:

    Hell, I’m Canadian, and my birthday is December 31.

    Meanwhile, my sister’s birthday is July 1.

    My mom claims that everytime she gives birth, the local authorities set off fireworks in jubliant celebration.

  46. dingojack:

    DuWayne (#29) – surely Kirk would have a banana strap-on – ’cause it fits so good in yer hand.
    ;) Dingo

  47. dingojack:

    Who wants to tell Ray-Ray that Passover is in early spring (4 Aptil, 1776), not in the middle of summer (Tzom Tammuz, 17 Tammuz, 5536)? *
    Dingo
    —–
    * They wouldda got away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky satan-inspired anti-Federalists delaying the signing by three months!

  48. thalwen:

    And ‘lo the Lord said, thou shalt celebrate the independence of a country that doesn’t exist yet, from another country that doesn’t exist yet. And the celebration shall occur on the month of July, which doesn’t exist yet since we’re using the Hebrew calendar, and the date shall be the fourth. The second is too few, the third also, the fifth too much and the sixth would just be silly.

    And ‘lo thou shalt have much of the fire in the sky that shall be invented by a country you all don’t know about yet and thou shalt eat unkosher meat patties covered with an unnatural yellow cheese on a sesame seed bun and drink with it a poorly fermented brew that is called “beer” but is really an abomination to the Lord who prefers his brew to not taste like urine. And it was good.
    -Barton’s Bullshit Acts 13:5

  49. lofgren:

    Then the idiocy in the room will reach critical mass and all the wingnuts will vanish into an infinitely dense point.

    You mean the Rapture?

  50. fifthdentist:

    For wingnuts, Nineteen Eighty-Four isn’t just a novel, it’s an instructional manual.

  51. captstormfield:

    @andrewjohnston: “…but do they really think…”

    **cough**
    **cough**
    no
    **cough**
    **cough**
    **cough**

  52. blf:

    Where can I get a Barton Ad-hoc Reality Distorter (BARD™)? (Are they a pair of glasses or what?) This stuff is comic gold and would enliven many a fairy tale / swords-and-sorcery novel.

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