There’s an old line about people who lie habitually to the effect that they would rather cross the street to tell a lie than stand still and tell the truth. This applies quite well to David Barton, who I doubt could write a grocery list without somehow distorting things. Right Wing Watch quotes from a recent talk he gave at a church, talking about the Supreme Court’s ruling in Abington Township v Schempp:
The Supreme Court, when it took the Bible out of public schools, said that this is without precedent; there is no precedent in our history for taking the Bible out of schools but this is the time to do it.
Now, if there is no historical precedent, why would they say the Bible has to go out of schools? I mean, everything we have in history says just the opposite, so why? They quoted Dr. Solomon Grayzel on the reason that we need to get the Bible out of schools … In the Supreme Court decision, this is what the Court said why the Bible has to come out of schools; the Court says this:
If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and had been, psychologically harmful to the child.
Time out. Let me see if I get this: if we keep reading the Bible in schools, our kids are going to suffer from brain damage? Yeah, that was the reason given by the Court for the removal of the Bible out of the classroom back in 62-63.
Leaving aside the leap from “psychologically harmful” in one sentence to “brain damage” in the next — those are not at all the same thing — RWW points out that he is absolutely distorting Grayzel’s research and his testimony in the district court trial. He was talking about how Jewish kids would be ostracized and singled out if verses from the New Testament were read in their classrooms.
Expert testimony was introduced by both appellants and appellees at the first trial, which testimony was summarized by the trial court as follows:
Dr. Solomon Grayzel testified that there were marked differences between the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the Christian Holy Bible, the most obvious of which was the absence of the New Testament in the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Dr. Grayzel testified that portions of the New Testament were offensive to Jewish tradition, and that, from the standpoint of Jewish faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was “practically blasphemous.” He cited instances in the New Testament which, assertedly, were not only sectarian in nature but tended to bring the Jews into ridicule or scorn. Dr. Grayzel gave as his expert opinion that such material from the New Testament could be explained to Jewish children in such a way as to do no harm to them. But if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and, in his specific experience with children, Dr. Grayzel observed, had been, psychologically harmful to the child, and had caused a divisive force within the social media of the school.
So Barton takes Grayzel’s entirely reasonable testimony and turns into the crude caricature of reading the Bible causing “brain damage.” In other words, he lied. Again. I’m not sure he’s even capable of being honest at this point.