David Barton is what I call a “faux historian.” With only a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University, Barton has written widely on American history, remaking it into his own image. He’s been called upon as an “expert” by the Texas Board of Education, the Republican Party and the likes of right-wing talking head Glenn Beck.
Many conservatives love Barton’s historical revisionism, particularly his arguments that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that the founders did not share our notions about the separation between church and state. Mike Huckabee said he wished every American had to listen to a simultaneous telecast of David Barton lecturing—even if at gunpoint.
Barton’s latest book, The Jefferson Lies, has drawn criticism from a wider group than the usual liberals and professional historians.
A coalition of Muslims has raised nearly $50,000 to help rebuild black churches in the South that were recently damaged or destroyed by fire. “To many, it is clear that these are attacks on black culture, black religion, and black lives,” one of the Muslim organizers said. Faatimah Knight, a 23-year-old student at Chicago Theological Seminary, was one of the instigators of the fund-raising effort, which took place during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month devoted to fasting and alms giving. Arson is suspected in several of the church fires (CNN, July 9).