David Barton – @DavidBartonWB – Hoisted By His Own Petard

Click on photo to see post

David Barton's Monday morning status update, claiming Jesus explicitly says one man, one woman

According to Wikipedia, a petard (peh-tard) is a French bomb meant to deal fatal damage upon one's enemy. Once in a while, a petardier would fail to detonate a petard far enough away from himself – and would, thereby, be hoisted in the air by the explosion.

David Barton failed to get his petard far enough away from himself, this time.

As you can see in the above graphic, Barton posts about an email his group received asking where it was Jesus said same-sex marriage was wrong. In classic proof-texting style, Barton takes a snippet of scripture to fit his own ends.

He quotes Matthew 19.4-5, which says:

Matthew 19:4-5 (NRSV)

He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

To the anti-equality Christian, that sounds like one hell of a silver bullet. In fact, one of Barton's “fans” exclaims in the comments section, “That settles it!”

Actually, Barton not only didn't “settle” anything, but he actually made the case for the other side.

If one were to read the entire narrative, one might see that Jesus is actually speaking about divorce. Even then, he doesn't speak harshly one way or the other. Here's the passage:

Matthew 19:1-12 (NRSV)

Teaching about Divorce (I didn't add this, this is what copied from my Bible app)

Chapter 19

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” 8 He said to them, “It was because you were so hard- hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.”

10 His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

A few observations:

1. This is clearly about divorce.

2. He does quote Genesis about “made them male and female” – but in the context of the broader question of divorce.

3. When he illustrates his point about eunuchs, he essentially says that this teaching isn't for everyone. Going further, his arguments suggest that there are certain teachings that some will accept and some will not. Does he speak against those who don't follow that particular teaching? No.

So close, David…so close.

What do these things have to do with Barton?

Barton believes he's found a silver bullet when it comes to a religious argument about same-sex marriage. Actually, the illustration he uses works against his own argument by going further and saying there are those who will accept a particular teaching and others who won't – and evidently doesn't have a problem with those who chose or were naturally going another direction.

I don't wish this man ill, but it is fun to see this man – a detriment to the study of history – further lose credibility. I don't know if there are degrees or damage done by one's own petard, but this was pretty severe.

I might suggest to Mr. Barton that he learn to read for context – not just for spite.

If @GlennBeck wants to add any credibility to his “news” operation, he would sever ties with this person immeadiately.

 

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