Over Two Years Ago, David Barton Claimed to Have an Earned Doctorate

David Barton with Eric Metaxas

I am slipping. I missed the second year anniversary of David Barton announcing to the world he had an earned doctorate and the second year anniversary of the day he removed any evidence from the Internet that he ever claimed he had an earned doctorate.

On September 7 2016, I viewed a video (posted on both his Facebook and You Tube accounts) of Barton claiming he had an earned doctorate he chose not to talk about. Then after I figured out that the degree was from a school that meets the federal definition of a diploma mill and published those findings the next day, he removed the video from his accounts.

The following comes from a post marking the one year anniversary of the announcement.

In the video, Barton chastises progressives for questioning his claim to have an earned doctorate. He said he has an earned doctorate but that he has chosen not to talk about it. However, the next day Barton chose to take the video off of both websites and chose not to talk about the reasons why.
Barton’s haughty claim to have an earned doctorate gave way to silence after it was revealed that the degree came from Life Christian University, a

Life Christian University diploma reflection
Life Christian University diploma reflection

diploma mill. According to the president of Life Christian University, Douglas Wingate, Barton didn’t attend the school but was given credit for his historical writings. Even though one cannot meaningfully call a degree earned when you don’t take any classes, that is exactly what LCU does with famous preachers and religious leaders.

The state of Missouri advised fellow LCU degree recipient Joyce Meyer that her claim of an earned PhD from the school was against state law. Meyer’s lawyer responded that Meyer had already decided that describing the LCU PhD as earned was false. Meyer now describes her LCU degree as honorary. Although that description is legal in Missouri, LCU is not accredited by a Department of Education recognized accrediting body and the status as a university is unusual since the school is registered with the IRS as a church.

Barton called his degree earned but sarcastically dismissed the honest reporting of what he called progressives. Barton has never explained or apologized for his demeaning and misleading statements. Yet, he still claims to be “America’s premier historian.” Would “America’s premier historian” try to pass off what can only be called an honorary degree as an earned one?

As of now, America’s premier historian has chosen not to talk about it.

And over two years later, he’s still not talking.

Keeping Focus on the Family Honest on Reparative Therapy

In a recent CBS News report on reparative therapy (sexual orientation change efforts), Focus on the Family’s Jeff Johnston was quoted in support of the practice and a link to FOTF’s website was a part of the story. I have a long history with Focus on this issue. There are some misleading statements on this page which I outline below.

Focus says:

Focus on the Family does not and has never offered sexual-orientation change therapy, also referred to as “reparative therapy.” We have licensed counselors on staff who take one-time phone calls and refer to other therapists, upon request. We also support an individual’s right to counseling for unwanted homosexuality — and the rights of counselors to offer such help.

Although technically true, Focus did recommend reparative therapy via their Love Won Out traveling ex-gay workshops from the late 1990s into the late 2000s. Reparative therapy popularizer Joe Nicolosi was the featured speaker on the origins and treatment of homosexuality. Exodus, Focus on the Family and NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) were the trinity of sexual orientation change efforts in the United States. Even if Focus didn’t have counselors on site who offered counseling, they promoted reparative therapy to the world in a very aggressive manner.

Focus really confuses matters in their definition of “sexual orientation change efforts.”

“Sexual Orientation Change Efforts” (SOCE) is a broad term that deals with any kind of help from a licensed mental-health professional for those with unwanted homosexuality. This is counseling, or talk therapy, to assist someone with unwanted homosexuality —whether it’s behavior, attractions or identity — to live according to their faith and values.

Focus tries to soften the meaning of the word “change.” SOCE is a broad term but it doesn’t refer to “any kind of help from a licensed mental-health professional for those with unwanted homosexuality.” Change means change. SOCE is about trying to help people change their orientation. Opponents of SOCE oppose the efforts of counselors to change orientation.

Focus confuses the issue by saying SOCE includes counseling efforts to help clients “live according to their faith and values.” That would only be SOCE if living according to one’s faith meant changing sexual orientation. However, sexual identity therapy (which is what Mark Yarhouse and I developed) helps people without focusing on orientation change as a goal. Our perspective is that clients can be assisted within their religious framework without any SOCE.

Sexual identity therapy is not SOCE. SIT is a kind of help for people who are conflicted about their sexual orientation but it isn’t SOCE. SIT does help people seek harmony within themselves without using SOCE. Focus’ description of SOCE is too broad and misleading. Focus appears to want to make this issue about religious freedom when in fact, it is about what is helpful with clients.

Focus then speculates about what isn’t allowed by a ban on SOCE.

If this therapy is banned, think about the impact this would have on minors:

A teen boy who is hooked on gay pornography — and wants to stop — could not get help from a licensed professional counselor.

A young girl who was sexually abused, and was questioning her identity, could only get help to identify as lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

A boy who wants to develop his sense of masculinity and identity could not get help to affirm his masculine identity from a state-licensed counselor.

A girl who’s involved in a same-sex relationship, but whose faith says that’s not best for her, could not get help to stop the relationship from a licensed counselor.

As worded above, SOCE is not required to address any of these situations. Laws prohibiting SOCE for minors allow for identity exploration and the treatment of sexual abuse. The laws do not forbid clients from acting in line with their religious beliefs as long as the counselor does not implement techniques designed to change a client’s sexual orientation. For instance, if a same-sex attracted teen is in a same-sex relationship but believes it is wrong, she can seek help to take steps to end it and cope with the results.

Could John Kasich Lead a Successful Third Party Challenge?

Since John Kasich dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he has been at odds with his party over direction and support for Donald Trump.  Now he is signaling a move to a possible third party run for president in 2020.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Kasich told Whoopi Goldberg on The Political View program that he believes he could win a primary in New Hampshire but not do well in Southern states where Trump is strong.

Despite being quite religious himself, Kasich never really caught on with evangelical voters during the Republican primaries. He was widely viewed as a moderate, a perception which might now help him in a deeply divided nation. At least that’s one way to look at it.

I like Kasich and supported him in the primaries. I would support him as an independent but I don’t know if there are enough voters who would be willing to take the risk on a third party. Even though I think he is a good mix of principle and pragmatism, he was not able to inspire widespread support in 2016. It remains to be seen if the conditions are right for him now.

Image: From Johnkasich.com

 

Peace Starts With Me Today; New York City Mayor de Blasio Slated to Attend; Conference Credits Hak Ja Moon for Korean Unification

Today is the big Unification Church evangelistic rally featuring Christian singers Hezekiah Walker, Yolanda Adams, and Israel Houghton. Bishop Noel Jones is supposed to speak as a warm-up for the Daughter of God herself, Hak Jan Han Moon, True Mother and co-savior of the world.

Also speaking today, according to this press release, is Mayor Bill de Blasio.

You can watch the event here.

I suspect the author of Reckless Love never thought it would be sung at a Unification Church evangelistic service.

Family Federation minister Demian Dunkley said 200 churches and houses of worship are represented at the event which is a big “family reunion.”

Bishop Noel Jones said he has studied the Moons’ teaching and has used them with students in his church. This appears to be a pretty clear admission that he has left orthodoxy. The syncretism is strong in his message.

Moon’s message was as promised. She claimed to be the only begotten daughter of God. Then, after some fractured history, she claimed that True Parents are the new opportunity to be born again and the way to receive the blessing and become the children of God.

 

Open Forum: Post Midterm Election Analysis

The big news from last night is a divided Congress with the Democrats taking the House by a wide margin and the Republicans widening their margin in the Senate.

It appears the suburban areas of the country rejected Trump and the rural areas moved a little closer to him.

Trump has already challenged Democrats by suggesting that he controls the Senate.

I don’t think that is going to persuade Democrats not to exercise oversight, do you?

What are your reactions? What are the important races and stories in your opinion?

Discuss in the comments section.

Unification Church Proclaims Christian Era is Over; Next Week Christian Entertainers Open for God’s Daughter

While evangelicals are selling out to politics, the Unification Church is quietly evangelizing the disillusioned. According to their leaders, the Christian era is over and the era of True Parents is here. As an illustration to their followers, Unification leaders use Christian participation in Unification events as a signal that Christian leaders are coming into the Unificationist fold.

Watch Family Federation leader Michael Jenkins talk about Christian ministers who are coming into the Unification movement.

On November 12, Yolanda Adams, Hezekiah Walker, Israel Houghton, and Bishop Noel Jones will open for her Messiahship, the Only Begotten Daughter of God Hak Ja Han Moon, True Mother of all Heaven, Earth and Mankind. The event is called Peace Starts with Me. Curtis Farrow will convene a choir of 5,000 unsuspecting Christians who will move a little closer to another religion.

 

This Migrant Caravan Isn’t The First; Trump is Exploiting This One

For years, caravans of migrants from Central America have traveled through Mexico without a military response from the Trump administration. Like the current movement, refugees flee violence in their home countries and travel in groups to try to make the journey safer.

When the asylum process works some refugees are granted a hearing. Wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet is better than being threatened with violence back home.

Trump and the Republican leadership know that these caravans are not dominated by criminal types. Criminal types prey on the caravans. These are people who seek asylum and want a better life. There is a history of people presenting themselves at points of entry wanting to be vetted. Trump is deliberately obscuring that history by referring to the most recent caravan as an invasion and overreacting by sending troops to the border.

On average, such persons do contribute to the U.S. and benefit the economy and contribute to the social good. Trump’s stereotyping of asylum seekers as murderers and criminals and the recent caravan as a new threat is dishonest.

 

Why Trump’s Anti-Migrant Ad is Terrible but May Work

President Trump has approved an ad which is wrong on so many levels but may work as he hopes. Watch:

The ad uses misinformation and the vivid case of an unrepentant cop-killer to provoke fear. Then the ad offers the protective strategy of voting for Republicans. The ad is terrible because of the misinformation and stereotyping but may work because it gives a strategy to address the fear it creates.

Here are the problems:

Shock! The Ad Isn’t Truthful

The ad claims Democrats let the convicted murderer, Luis Bracamontes, into the country and then let him stay. In fact, he came and went during both Republican and Democrat administrations. Bill Clinton deported him but he came back into the country during George Bush’s presidency. At one point, Trump ally Joe Arpaio had him in his jail but then let him go. It is misinformation to blame Democrats alone for his presence.

Stereotyping through Insensitivity to Sample Bias

Bracamontes isn’t a representative sample of the caravan participants. He is one person who committed horrible crimes. When one actually considers what larger samples of immigrants, documented and undocumented, have done in communities, it is clear that Bracamontes is not representative of them. Crime rates are lower in many of these neighborhoods. Crime rates are not higher in states with large immigrant populations.

The ad seeks to associate Bracamontes with the migrants who seek asylum as a vivid case of a brown skinned person who wants to enter the US. The migrants moving toward the U.S. want to be vetted and want asylum. That is not Bracamontes’ history.

Social psychological research has shown that vivid cases such as Bracamontes persuade people to believe unflattering stereotypes. With this ad, Trump leaves no doubt that he wants voters to fear asylum seekers as dangerous criminals.

Fear Based Appeals Work

Research also shows that fear based appeals are persuasive if a strategy to address the fear is offered. Trump’s fear mongering is for a purpose. He clearly links Bracamontes with the caravan seeking asylum and implies those people will be as terrible as Bracamontes.

This ad is awful in many ways. It is lamentable that it may keep some wavering people in the Trump fold. To me, it is disgusting that the Republicans would condone this ad (anytime) so soon after the Pittsburgh shooting given that the shooter may have been motivated by a perception that Jews were helping the migrants.

Update: A similar ad has been pulled from CNN, FoxNews(!), and Facebook.

Kevin Kruse Dismantles Blexit’s Faulty History

Trump supporter Candace Owens has started something she calls Blexit which stands for Black exit from the Democrat party. It is a movement and a website.

African-Americans haven’t voted in great numbers for a Republican presidential candidate since 1960 but Owens hopes to change that with her movement of Black conservatives. However, she will need to clean up her historical act if she is going to succeed. As Princeton historian Kevin Kruse pointed out today on Twitter, the first three historical claims on her website aren’t accurate.

If you click the tweet, you will get to a thread which debunks the claims made by Owens. A little later in the thread actress Stacey Dash challenges Kruse with a altered photo of Margaret Sanger at a KKK rally.

Kruse then demonstrated that the photo was fake.

Although Dash seemed to offer some respect to Kruse’s efforts, the fake information is still up at Blexit.

On the Blexit website, I did not see any citations or sources for information. Some of claims appear to have originated with David Barton and/or Dinesh D’Souza. Some appear to be deliberate misinformation. It is an insult to the intelligence of the audience OWens and others are trying to reach to put up so much faulty material.

I am thankful that Kevin Kruse is so “informative” to quote Ms. Dash. If only she and others would go a little further and question the rest of the material.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi Acquitted After 8 Years in Prison

Long time readers of this blog will recognize the name Asia Bibi, a Christian women imprisoned in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy against Muhammed. She was on death row for eights years and had one last appeal to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. This morning, it is being reported widely that she was acquitted.

This is of course tremendous news for her and her family. Her cause has been a focus of many groups, religious and non-religious, since her wrongful conviction eight years ago. Many in Pakistan wanted her to be executed for blasphemy. Pakistan’s high court did not find the evidence compelling and acquitted her. There isn’t any news at this point about when she will be release or where she will go. She certainly won’t be safe in Pakistan. She has been offered asylum in France among other places in the world.