Ted Cruz Launches Presidential Bid; Can You Say Secretary of Education David Barton?

Early Monday morning Ted Cruz announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
This has delighted tea party and religious right conservatives; Richard Viguerie thinks Cruz can unite the party and compares him to Reagan. Cruz made his formal announcement at Liberty University.
Another lower profile conservative who hoped a year ago that Cruz would run is New Zealander Trevor Loudon. Speaking at the Western Conservative Conference in Denver CO, Loudon called on Cruz to run and offered advice about the coalition Cruz could put together to energize the party.
His list of advisers and Cabinet members is frightening:

Vice president: Allen West
Secretary of Treasury: Rand Paul
Secretary of Energy: Sarah Palin
Secretary of Labor: Scott Walker
Secy. of Commerce: Herman Cain
Secy. of State: John Bolton
Ambassador to the U.N.: No one
Secy. of Health and Human Services: Dr. Ben Carson
Attorney General: Mark Levin
Secretary of Education: David Barton

Give a listen:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/P-rX5w7WJw4[/youtube]
Cruz has defended Barton’s history, headlined Barton’s state legislators‘ conference and Barton has endorsed Cruz for various public offices. Cruz’s father Rafael proclaims many of the same historical errors that Barton pushes. Today, at Liberty University, Cruz sounded themes Barton is known for – abolishing “common core,” American exceptionalism, etc.
While Cruz has not talked that far ahead, I don’t think it is out of the question to imagine that Cruz would select Barton for some high level position in a Cruz administration.
 
 
 

The David Barton Cover Up: More on Gregg Frazer’s Critique of David Barton’s America’s Godly Heritage

On Monday, I wrote about a time in 2012 when David Barton was confronted by evangelical historians. I linked to a devastating critique of Barton’s America’s Godly Heritage by Gregg Frazer, professor of history at The Master’s College.  Much of the critique is helpful even if one has not seen Barton’s DVD because Frazer includes enough of the context to make the critiques clear. However, there is one section which might not be as clear as the others. To help readers use the critique well, I want to provide some additional context.

Specifically, I refer to this section of Frazer’s critique:

Barton’s claims about the percentage of quotes directly from the Bible or based on the Bible or from “men who used the Bible to write their conclusions” are gross misrepresentations that are too confusing and complex to explain briefly here. A few comments will have to suffice. First, his percentages are blown out of proportion. He notes that a study found the Bible to have the highest percentage of citations (34%) and he claims that another 60% came from “men who used the Bible to write their conclusions”; consequently, he claims that “94% of the quotes of the Founders were based on the Bible.” First, neither the 60% number nor the 94% number come from the study – Barton made those up. Second, the study is careful to note that “reprinted sermons accounted for almost three-fourths of the biblical citations, making this nonsermon source of biblical citations roughly as important as the Classical or Common Law categories [10%].” Most importantly, while Barton appeals to this study during his discussion of the framing of the Constitution, the study says that during the debate on the U.S. Constitution, “the Bible’s prominence disappears” and “(t)he debate surrounding the adoption of the Constitution was fought out mainly in the context of Montesquieu, Blackstone, the English Whigs, and major writers of the Enlightenment.” Even at that, the percentages are misleading in and of themselves, as misapplication and misinterpretations of passages (abuse of the Bible) are counted the same as proper use. Satan quotes the Bible (e.g. Luke 3:10-11) too, but that does not indicate any righteousness or interest in promoting Christianity on his part.

The study in question was conducted by Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman, both then at the University of Houston. Frazer is correct in his criticisms but there is more that can be said about Barton’s misuse of the study. For that additional information, please see my prior post on how the Institute on the Constitution mimics Barton’s errors and then this post by Jim Allison and Tom Peters.

This is a case where Barton cites the study improperly, and then fails to cite all of the relevant sections of the study. Barton’s main argument is that the founders used the Bible as a foundation for our form of government. However, Lutz and Hyneman demonstrate that the Federalist defenders of the Constitution did not refer to the Bible once in their writings.  On page 194 of the study, Lutz charts the analysis of the citations in the Federalist and Antifederalist papers.

LutzHyneman

Note that the Bible was not cited at all by the Federalists. It was those who opposed various aspects of the Constitution, the Antifederalists, who cited the Bible.  While Lutz and Hyneman are fair in their research, Barton spins and omits relevant information to twist their argument beyond recognition.

The title of this post begins by calling attention to what I call “the David Barton cover up.” Religious right leaders know about the many critiques from Christian academics but those leaders choose to ignore them. David Barton’s fractured history is apparently too important to challenge. Major organizations (e.g., Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Liberty University, Gateway Church) and individuals (e.g., David Lane, Glenn Beck, Sen. Ted Cruz) are aware of the findings of numerous conservative Christian historians. However, the work of these scholars does not matter. Countless state and federal legislators have been led astray which has consequences for the state of our political process.

These organizations and leaders are responsible as are Christian media sources who fail to ask these leaders hard questions; it remains to be seen if they will ever do the right thing.

 

Ted Cruz's Father Spreads Barton's Fables in Church

In private conversations with evangelical leaders about David Barton’s pseudo-history, I have been asked what harm Barton’s fables cause. After all, many of the founders were orthodox Christian and religious devotion was more respected then than now, so what does it hurt if Barton stretches the truth a little? He is basically on the right side of things so what’s the problem?
There are many problems with that line of thinking, most of which I don’t have time to address now. However, one I will note is that the lies spread and grow. They get bigger. Another one is that once the horse gets out of the barn, you can’t often get it back in. Even when Barton pulls back a bit and gets a bit more honest, his followers don’t necessarily follow suit.
Case in point: Rafael Cruz, the father of big Barton fan Ted Cruz in a speech at John Hagee’s church recently. Right Wing Watch brings the sad news.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/sZJh7MUI_GY[/youtube]
Cruz’s big applause line was a complete fiction. As long time readers know, Robert Aitken printed the first English Bible in America. Congress gave an endorsement after the fact and recommended the work for its religious and artistic merits but did not order it to be printed for use in schools at any level. Cruz plagiarized Barton and told a huge whopper on top of it.
After being hammered on the matter for years (and having that story removed from a Focus on the Family broadcast), Barton changed his rendition of the Aitken story a bit to make it a little more accurate. However, did Rafael Cruz get the memo? Not at all; in fact, he embellished Barton’s fable by saying Congress ordered the Bible to be “the principle textbook in primary schools, high schools and universities.” None of that is true. All I can think of is this Progressive commercial:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/moqX4t04yYo[/youtube]
Cruz then channels Barton on the role of Solomon Grayzel in the 1963 Abington v. Schempp case. He essentially says what Barton says which is almost never a sign of an accurate presentation.
Prominent evangelicals apparently don’t think the rules apply to them. Plagiarize, stretch the truth, do whatever, it matters not for the cause is just.

David Barton's Profamily Legislators Conference Features Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal: The Universe Next Door

Going on right now, David Barton’s periodic gathering of state legislators operates in some parallel universe where Barton is an expert in American history.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/7b5c0YVmLZU[/youtube]
Ted Cruz is there dignifying the event. So is Bobby Jindal. They are the unfortunate links to the universe were most of us live; as are those attending, which is the frightening part of the whole thing. I wonder if Barton will give a talk on policy relating to post-traumatic stress disorder and Satan.


Of course. The only member of the media invited to attend is Todd Starnes. He can spin whatever they need.

Not that they care, but I have little respect for Cruz and Jindal, both of whom should know what they are doing by appearing on behalf of Barton.
Once again, the evangelical establishment demonstrates that what moves them is prestige and money.

Ted Cruz Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Ted Cruz has won the 2014 Values Voters Presidential Straw Poll.
Cruz is attractive to religious right culture warriors who make up the Values Voter campaigners but, in my opinion, he is unlikely to resonate with the GOP mainstream or independents.  To illustrate, Cruz had this to say about David Barton in 2013:

David’s historical research has helped millions rediscover the founding principles of our nation and the incredible sacrifices that men and women of faith made to bequeath to us the freest and most prosperous nation in the world.

If this is his view of Barton’s historical revisionism, then, in my view, Cruz’s grasp of the founding principles has been skewed. Mitt Romney won the straw poll in 2007 and then went on to get the GOP nomination in 2012. Other than that, no winner has captured the GOP nomination. I doubt Cruz will change that trend.
Probably the award for Most Tasteless Hyperbole has to go to second place finisher Ben Carson who said:

Dr. Ben Carson, a conservative commentator and neurosurgeon, on Friday likened the health care law to slavery.

“Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing to happen to the nation since slavery,” Carson said, speaking at the Values Voter Summit. “And it is slavery, in a way.”

While I recognize problems with Obamacare, I would much rather pay a little higher premium than be enslaved. I admire Ben Carson for his medical accomplishments and I used to think of him as a reasonable person. In my opinion, he is tarnishing his reputation with this move into politics. 

Ted Cruz Headlines David Barton's Conference For State Legislators

This weekend David Barton is hosting state legislators from around the nation at in a conference headlined by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Barton has come under fire in recent weeks due to endorsement of claims that climate change is related to legal abortion, that Christian professors are responsible for half of Christian students leaving their faith, that the U.S. military is God’s arm of judgment and that post-traumatic stress disorder can be discarded because of an Old Testament Bible verse.
The conference began last night and will run through Sunday and features Cruz, George Barna, John Fund, Glenn Beck, Terrance Moore and others.  Given what he says when the camera and mic are on, I can only imagine what Barton will tell his audiences in private sessions. At some point, I suspect reporters will start asking GOP presidential front-runner Cruz if he agrees with Barton about climate change, the U.S. military and PTSD, as well as many other of Barton’s claims.
Given Cruz support for Barton in the past, I am not surprised to see him there. However, I am surprised to see Barna, Fund, and Moore on the program which gives an appearance of endorsement of Barton and Wallbuilders.  In contrast, I am glad for the recent stand by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Gospel Coalition.