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The Myth That Keeps on Giving and Some Other Things of Interest

As the next election cycle begins, David Barton is back, and once again whooping up the Christian right.  Politico on David Barton

Barton has made quite a name for himself by propagating the myth (which also happens to be a serious theological error) that America is a Christian nation which stands in a covenant relationship with God along the lines of Israel under the old covenant.    

Barton, whose book, The Jefferson Lies, has been thoroughly discredited for its shoddy research and glaring factual errors, has made a comeback because (in the words of the Politico article),

[H]e has retained his popular following and his political appeal — in large part, analysts say, because he brings an air of sober-minded scholarship to the culture wars, framing the modern-day agenda of the religious right as a return to the Founding Fathers’ vision for America.

Really?  Politico reminds its readers, lest they forget, that . . .

Barton’s abrupt, and short-lived, fall from grace began with the publication in April 2012 of his book "The Jefferson Lies," which portrays Thomas Jefferson as an orthodox Christian who saw no need to separate church and state.  Secular critics had long denounced Barton as a fraud who manipulates and misrepresents history to serve political goals. With the publication of "The Jefferson Lies," several dozen academics at Christian colleges stepped forward to join the chorus.

The myth of Christian America is so powerful and attractive to political candidates hunting  "values" voters that the same folk who complain about the media manipulation by the left, embrace someone as discredited as Barton, solely on the grounds that he will tell them what they want to hear.  Sad.  His is a powerful myth, and Christians need to reject it once and for all on biblical-theological grounds, if not factual ones.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, who also is not above playing the "Catholic" card to attract voters, is in trouble with the Vatican.  According to a report in The Washington Times (No Communion for Nancy Pelosi),

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has no Catholic right to be granted Communion, said the leading cardinal of the highest court at the Vatican.  Mrs. Pelosi should be denied Communion until she changes her advocacy views on abortion, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said, in an interview with The Wanderer reported by the Western Center for Journalism.  That’s canon law, not opinion, he said.  Canon 915 states that Catholics who are stubbornly contrary "in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."  And Cardinal Burke said Mrs. Pelosi fits the definition. 

We'll see if the cardinal's "line in the sand," produces any concrete action barring Ms. Pelosi from the Mass.  Will Rome actually exercise church disicpline in an age of a pope-lite like Francis?  I don't think so.  

And then, for those of you who read my series on the "OC as Burned-Over District," Timothy George offers a much more philosophical take on the ministry of Robert Schuller,

“America loves success stories.” This is how a 1983 admiring profile of the famed Robert Harold Schuller began. And back in 1983 “Bob” Schuller, as his friends called him, was certainly successful. The son of pious Dutch Reformed parents, Schuller was born on a farm in Sioux County, Iowa, in 1926. That was one year before Sinclair Lewis published Elmer Gantry, a satirical novel about a ne’er-do-well preacher from Kansas. Though Schuller would match Gantry in exuberance and flamboyant style, he was no charlatan. Educated at his denomination’s flagship schools, Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, Schuller was already a proven pastor before being sent by the Reformed Church in America to plant a new congregation in Orange County, California.

To read the rest, The Schuller Saga

Reader Comments (2)

Barton is a scandal in the Christian world. I'm amazed at the number of homeschooling parents who are into his distortions of American history. This is no better than what the Soviet Union used to do to distort their history all in the name of "socialist realism." Christians should be ashamed at themselves for being so gullible.
September 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
Barton's manipulative use of and error-filled history has an appeal to those who have a romanticized view of America. The claim that America was founded as a Christian country has an obvious purpose that is also appealing to Christian political conservatives, it implies the right of Christians to dominate the country, to take back America as its rightful owners.

In any case, I do have to give Barton credit for one thing. He puts on a great sales presentation. The problem is that what he is selling is a faulty product that should not be for sale in the first place.
September 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCurt Day

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