David Barton Is ONLY An Amateur Historian

As a student at Ball State University, I studied history with professors who challenged my pre-concieved notions about what so many had assumed was one way–only to realize that it may very well have been another.  For instance, the world has popularly remembered the wars at the beginning of the last century as separate wars–World Wars 1 & 2.  However, the theory exists that there weren’t two separate wars, but the war mentality of the offended and offending parties never fully subsided.  This is a topic that I spent the first portion of an entire semester studying and learning about from a trained historian–who has had his ideas studied and tested in an equally hard–if not harder–environment.

Why do I bring this up?  Thanks to the ever-increasing tensions of the culture war, certain parties have taken to attempting to undermine what we have come to understand as time-tested and time-honored ways of learning and preserving thought and history.  David Barton is one of them.  He is an amature historian who yields great power in certain circles–to the nation’s peril.  This Huffington Post article chronicles a few of his foibles.

I decided to give a bit of commentary on his bio from http://www.wallbuilders.com:

David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.

The fact that his “history presentation” organization is “pro-family” has no relavance to his self-described task at hand.  This is a red-herring that should alert the observer to steer clear, because they are about to play fast and loose with the facts to fit their pre-concieved thoughts about their subject matter.

WallBuilders is a name taken from the Old Testament writings of Nehemiah, who led a grassroots movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore its strength and honor. In the same way, WallBuilders seeks to energize the grassroots today to become involved in strengthening their communities, states, and nation.

This part would actually be fine with me, given that Barton’s organization is presented as an academic endeavor tasked with informing, not indoctrinating.

David is the author of numerous best-selling books, with the subjects being drawn largely from his massive library of tens of thousands of original writings from the Founding Era. He also addresses well over 400 groups each year.

I admit a bit of ignorance on this section.  I guess I wonder what someone might want with collecting so many historical documents and then organizing an effort to change widely-accepted history with them.  I know he isn’t a trained historian and probably should surrender his collection to museums and others trained in their care and analysis.  To quote Indiana Jones, “it belongs in a museum!”

A national news organization has described him as “America’s historian,” and Time Magazine called him “a hero to millions – including some powerful politicians. In fact, Time Magazine named him as one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals.

I have no doubt that a news magazine reporting on the most influential people in a particular group would include Barton in the argument.  I do wonder who the unnamed “national news organization” is that called him “America’s historian.”  The fact that his own website left that out id super suspicious.

David has received numerous national and international awards, including Who’s Who in Education, DAR’s Medal of Honor, and the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. His work in media has merited several Angel Awards, Telly Awards, and the Dove Foundation Seal of Approval.David and his wife Cheryl have three grown children, Damaris, Timothy, and Stephen, and a grandchild, and they reside in Aledo, TX.

I don’t have a problem with the rest of his bio.

What I do have a problem with–and the reason I took as much time as I did with this post–is because this man is using a group of people who are feeling increasingly marginalized and feeding them what they want to hear.

That type of behavior is marginal at best, and dangerous at worst.

-Chris

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