Julie Ingersoll posted on David Barton’s historical misadventures today at Salon. The article is a lengthy section from her book Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism.
Julie’s article brings together several strands of thinking which have influenced Barton and is a good introduction for those wanting some background on the collector of historical documents. It is a plus that she includes a mention of Getting Jefferson Right (one correction, we published our book in 2012, not long after The Jefferson Lies by Barton came out).
Barton’s work has been the subject of extensive critique by bloggers, reporters, and other critics, some of whom are scholars publishing peer-reviewed critiques, but, for the most part, scholars have not devoted a lot of attention to debunking his claims. Beginning in about 2011, two conservative Christian professors from Grove City College, Warren Throckmorton, professor of psychology, and Michael Coulter, professor of humanities and political science, published a critique of Barton’s The Jefferson Lies entitled Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President. The book was received well by scholars, and the authors’ credentials as conservative Christians undermined Barton’s defense that criticism of his work was ideological rather than factual. The Jefferson Lies was withdrawn by its publisher. One might expect under the weight of such resounding rejection, Barton would disappear into obscurity. Yet Barton’s supporters remain as devoted as before. Criticism from scholars (whether Christian or not) is dismissed as liberal, socialist, and even pagan. Discredited in the larger culture, Barton remains influential in the conservative Christian subculture.
Go read the rest at Salon.