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WND Lies About Barton’s Jefferson Lies

After David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies was pulled from the shelves by its publisher, Thomas Nelson, because it was full of false claims and distortions, he got Glenn Beck to publish it and now the Worldnetdaily is pushing it on their website — and predictably telling lies about why it was pulled.

Thomas Jefferson stands falsely accused of several crimes, among them infidelity and disbelief. Prominent historian David Barton sets the record straight in a new book so hot and politically incorrect that the publisher pulled it from the shelves of every bookstore in America.

Let’s count the lies.

1. That his book was pulled because it’s “politically incorrect” (whatever the hell that means in this context; they seem to think it means “non liberal.” It was pulled because dozens of historians pointed out the many lies it contains.

2. That David Barton is a “prominent historian.” He’s certainly prominent among the Christian right; for everyone else, and even for many intelligent Christian conservatives, he is better called infamous for his constant lies and distortions. And he is not a historian at all, by any standard. His degree is in Christian education, not history.

3. That Jefferson is accused of infidelity and disbelief. They don’t say who accuses him of that. It’s true that John Adams’ followers accused him of that in 1800, but there isn’t a single historian in the country who takes such a position. Barton, true to form, accuses the critics of his book of taking that position:

A book that we did, “The Jefferson Lies,” made all sorts of national news because all these professors came out [and said] Jefferson didn’t believe in God, he wasn’t religious, he was a great atheist.

Barton is so dishonest that he even lies about those who criticize his previous lies. None of the historians, including many Christians, said anything even remotely like claiming that Jefferson was a “great atheist.” Not. One. Not John Fea or Warren Throckmorton or any of the folks at the History News Network. Barton is lying. Barton is always lying. If he said the sky was blue, you should double check it.

The same is true of the Worldnetdaily, of course. Three major lies in a single paragraph. That’s about par for the course for them.

Comments

  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    As I understand it, Jefferson is objectively guilty of disbelief.

    He didn’t believe in UFOs, did he? Did he believe that particles are spontaneously created in the quantum foam? Did he believe that people in Australia had to strap themselves down or fall off the earth? Did he believe that the 44th president would be Black? Did he believe that Osiris’ sacrifice benefited all Egypt’s dead?

    The number of things that Jefferson didn’t believe – both true and untrue – is quite staggering.

    As for infidelity, well, we’ve got the genetic smoking gun on that one, if by infidelity one means having sex with someone not one’s spouse.

  2. colnago80 says

    Re #1

    Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings was not infidelity as it is defined as it didn’t begin until after the death of his wife. Jefferson was a widower who never remarried after his wife died, although his relationship with Hemmings might be called a common law marriage.

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

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Sigh. Submitted early.

    The point was that there was so much more BS than even you identified. Not least, one “accusation” against Jefferson is so vague as to be meaningless (yes, I know that they mean religious belief, but even there, would they have called him an unbeliever if it turned out he was a Frigga-worshipper but not a Jesus-one? What about a muslim? Are there wrong types of Christianity that would have rendered him a disbeliever in the eyes of the articles author? Probably. So, like I said, meaningless)

    The second was big news when, after percolating for 2 hundred years, the genetic smoking gun was found and there was no longer any room for reasonable doubt. That was a few years ago. If they haven’t figured out that Barton’s got nothing to undermine the DNA evidence that everyone else familiar with this question has found convincing, then they really have no business writing even a promotional blurb on the topic. Barton comes out even more delusional when the necessary implication of your promo statement is that he not only doesn’t believe but isn’t even aware of relevant scientific facts multiply confirmed by our most advanced technologies whose underlying theories are validated every day in the growing of corn and the eradication of human disease.

    Boneheads.

  4. dingojack says

    if Jefferson were ‘unfaithful’ that would have been even more creepy.
    Martha Jafferson (nee Wayles) died in 1782 and Sarah “Sally” Hemmings was born around 1773. Thus the latter would have been younger than nine during this ‘infidelity’! (And Jefferson’s wife’s illegitimate half-sister*)
    Paging Dr Freud! (Or perhaps the scriptwriters of Days of Our Lives)
    Dingo

  5. grumpyoldfart says

    There are probably thousands of copies in the libraries of Christian schools around the country and every reader will regard it as the gospel truth.

  6. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton,

    What a surprise, Barton shows us that he’s a liar once again, and WND is complicit in his lie.

    I think I might have heard at least one or two people claim that Thomas Jefferson was an atheist, but they were anti-theists, with their own agenda, and like Barton they were not qualified histories either.

  7. says

    “None of the historians, including many Christians, said anything even remotely like claiming that Jefferson was a ‘great atheist.’ Not. One.”

    I did. I’m not a very good historian. I just like putting maps in things.

  8. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    After David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies was pulled from the shelves by its publisher, Thomas Nelson, because it was full of false claims and distortions . . .
    [...]
    [Barton's book on Jefferson] was pulled because dozens of historians pointed out the many lies it contains . . .

    While true, the oft-missed irony is that if we always used a credible standard of factual accuracy to test non-fiction works, most of Thomas Nelson book publications still on the market would also fail this test.

    I point this out because the exception here isn’t that David Barton published a book of lies, I’m confident nearly all books promoting Christianity predominately depend on false premises to make their case. Instead the exception here was that some people energetically and credibly scrutinized The Jefferson’s Lies.

    I think we’d live in a world with far less suffering if the public realized nearly all the Christian books would wilt under scrutiny just as easily as Barton’s books. Instead the public thinks there’s a handful of liars amongst them rather than Barton actually representing the status quo.

  9. NitricAcid says

    The publisher is hoping that the phrases “infidelity” and “so hot” will make the book sell well to the “50 shades” crowd.

  10. criticaldragon1177 says

    #12 NitricAcid

    “The publisher is hoping that the phrases “infidelity” and “so hot” will make the book sell well to the “50 shades” crowd.”

    If that’s actually the case, I doubt it will pay off.

  11. caseloweraz says

    The book has 425 customer reviews on Amazon. Take a look at the 1-star reviews, especially the one by James Ferguson (writing in Vilnius, Lithuania) which drew 318 comments. One comment lists all the signers of the Declaration and their faiths (as far as can be known from the churches they attended). Aside from a few winger comments, it is a pretty good discussion.

    As one reviewer pointed out, sometimes the title of a book is unintentionally ironic.

  12. felidae says

    These people fail to recognize the distinction between “politically incorrect” and “factually incorrect”

  13. freehand says

    felidae: These people fail to recognize the distinction between “politically incorrect” and “factually incorrect”

    True. But for these people facts are a collection of assertions identifying one’s tribal membership. They would not understand the distinction you are making here, and would probably suspect you had come up with a new rhetorical trick. (Which they would use later in profoundly funny ways.)

    The process of studying the past is very much like scientific methodology, and the same people frequently use the same denial of reality and childish imitation of grownup discourse when rejecting climate or evolutionary science, and history.

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