Trump’s DNI Pick John Ratcliffe Once Hosted Wallbuilders for a Local Prayer Breakfast

This came across the wire today.

 

John Ratcliffe is Donald Trump’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence to replace Dan Coats. In addition to having little intelligence background or experience, questioning Russia’s role in the 2016 election and inflating his resume, he is (or at least was) sympathetic to Christian nationalism.

It seems fair to go back to Ratcliffe’s days as a mayor of Heath, TX since his public service experience is so thin. He has been a Congressman since 2014 when he defeated 91 year old Ralph Hall and conservative Republican in a primary. There is no serious Democratic resistance in the district. In that race, David Barton endorsed Hall.

Given Ratcliffe’s rise to power, no doubt now all is forgiven. In addition to a Trump loyalist, Russia doubter, Rep. Ratcliffe may be sympathetic to Christian nationalism.

Hat tip to Ron West’s blog.

 

Another Conservative Calls Out David Barton's History

Charles C. W. Cooke is the online editor for National Review Online and recently had this to say about self-styled historian David Barton.


Generally, an individual occupying such a position with NR is not known as a liberal or even a “liberal bastard” as Glenn Beck once said about David Barton’s critics. Thus, I was interested to see such plain language aimed at Mr. Barton, a darling of some within what is left of the conservative world.
The Twitter thread is filled with polite give and take wherein Mr. Cooke doesn’t give an inch, reminding his readers that once upon a time Mr. Barton once admitted using second hand quotes without providing proper context. Even then, Barton claimed he only did what those pagan academics did.


Cooke here refers readers to Barton’s efforts to backtrack after it was discovered that some of the quotes in his book The Myth of Separation could not be located in primary sources. Barton said it was his idea to take those quotes out of his books. However, that hasn’t stopped him from using quotes that are not in primary sources or manipulating the words of certain founders to get the meaning he wants (click the links for a few illustrations).
One of the most egregious instances of academic deception was Barton’s effort to pass off a diploma mill doctorate from Life Christian University as an earned degree. He has never explained why he went to all the trouble to create a video for his Facebook and YouTube accounts, post it for one day, but then remove it the next day when I revealed that the “earned” doctorate he proudly pointed to was given to him by a school he never attended. I wonder if donor funds went to pay the fee for that piece of paper.

The Problem with the Mercury One/Wallbuilders’ Internship Program

Monday, Glenn Beck devoted some time on his broadcast to graduates of Mercury One’s internship program. The program went from June 5-16 and featured history lessons taught by David Barton.  The segment of the broadcast gave time to the participants to debrief about what they learned. Watch (the embed feature no longer works so try this link):

The comments from students provide a window into the problems with the internship. It appears that these students have a lot to unlearn. Worse, they don’t seem to know it.
For instance at 1:24 into the segment, the second student who spoke, Sonja, said

Mr. Barton showed us the Quran that was actually printed in 1803, I believe, by Jefferson after the Barbary wars, and the thought, the idea that the leaders of the country would not only say, hey, this would be a good idea to learn but they encouraged promoted that to learn about people who were different, to learn, not that they were terrible people, not slandering them, but saying this is who they are, this is what they are about. That is a completely different approach to knowledge and truth than we have today.

My point is not to fault Sonja for her fact problems but to fault her teachers for providing a completely misleading narrative (which Barton has usedGlenn Beck Interns before). Sonja has been misled on two important points.

Jefferson did not print a Quran in 1803 or any other year.

The first version of the Quran printed in America was published in 1806. You can peruse a copy here; there is no mention of Jefferson or the government. The translation from a 1647 French version was originally conducted in 1649 and then reprinted by Henry Brewer for Springfield, MA publisher Isaiah Thomas in 1806 (source). Brewer and Thomas may have capitalized on the interest in Islam during Jefferson’s terms as president since we were at war with several Islamic nations. However, Jefferson had nothing to do with the printing. (Source, source)

The leaders of the U.S. didn’t print a Quran, so they couldn’t have encouraged the public in the manner described.

There was no concerted effort by the government to educate the public in the manner described. While the publisher may have hoped to discourage Islam, I can find no evidence that the publisher and the government acted on such a motive. (Source, source)

Beck Doubles Down on the False Narrative

After Sonja spoke, Glenn Beck compounded the error by suggesting Congress printed the Quran without comment for a purpose. Beck said:

There’s something specific about that struck me that was unusual. It wasn’t Congress or anybody around Jefferson that said, ‘hey, we are going to print these excerpts.’ They printed the entire thing, without comment in it. They just said, ‘you need to read this whole thing.’ That is not what we do now.

First, the government didn’t print the Quran. Second, the printers of the 1806 Quran did include comment which was quite judgmental of Islam, calling the contents of the book “absurdities.”
I challenge Barton or Beck to provide a primary source supporting the claim that Congress or Jefferson had anything to do with the 1806 edition of the Quran. I will apologize and remove this post if they can do that.
Beck titled his segment, Mercury One Arms New Generation of Leaders With Truth-Detecting Tools. Unfortunately, if today’s broadcast is any indication, these students have been disarmed. They won’t be able to be effective because they are now confidently misinformed. Because of the video, we know who is responsible.
I also invite any of the students to contact me about their experience.

David Barton Offers Spring Break Teachers Conference

Instead of relaxing and refreshing, school teachers can now look forward to several days with David Barton over Spring Break.
Wallbuilders Teachers Conference
Barton left off some of the “how-to” topics he should cover.

So many topics, so little time.

What Original Source Did David Barton Use for His Louis L'Amour Story?

Remember this?
Barton said he got his story about elementary school kids threatening an intruder in a one-room Old West school from a novel by Louis L’Amour. L’Amour was an Americana fiction writer who in 1986 provided Barton with some historical material he used in 2013.
I thought of Barton’s use of that third hand source yesterday when his son Tim told Gateway Church representative Kerry Wood that Wallbuilders only uses original sources for their materials. Barton said professors just have ideas, not sources. Back in 2013, Barton told Glenn Beck that in the 1850s, elementary school kids took guns to school and once saved a teacher from a would be attacker. Since the kiddies had their guns at school, they deterred the attacker from shooting their teacher.
Barton’s source for this story turned out to be a Louis L’Amour fictional novel Bendigo Shafter. Barton later admitted this but said it was fine because L’Amour said the story was true. Barton transcribed an audiotaped 1986 interview with L’Amour as follows:

There’s a case I [L’Amour] use in one of my stories; I use it in the story called Bendigo Shafter. All the kids coming to school used to hang their guns up in the cloakroom because they were miles from home sometimes, and it was dangerous to ride out without a gun. And this is taken from an actually true incident. I use it in my story and tell the story, but it really happened. Now a man came to kill the teacher. It was a man. And he came with a gun, and all the kids liked the teacher, so they came out and ranged around him with their guns. That stopped it. But kids twelve and thirteen used to carry guns to school regularly.

In 1986, L’Amour said the story was true but he didn’t point to any original source as Barton’s son insists is necessary. Without knowledge of the source of the story, Barton changed the details around (e.g., elementary kids instead of those aged 12-13 years) and presented it to Beck and the world as a historical fact.
First, watch Tim Barton tell his guests that the Bartons always use the original sources and then listen to Barton’s yarn to Glenn Beck about the gun-totin’ kiddies.

Maybe it did happen, maybe it didn’t. However, when Barton is telling the story, it is apparently fine to go third hand. When Barton is selling the story, the pitch includes all of those original documents.
This original source pitch is silly. Does Barton have the original copy of the Bible? The Constitution? We all have access to the primary sources for our governing documents. He may have some original documents, but if they are historically significant, they are archived for review by scholars. Good scholars use primary documents. Barton’s assertions here are fact free.
Barton is no stranger to second and third hand sourcing. For instance, his claim about Thomas Jefferson giving his edited version of the Gospels to Indian missionaries is third hand; there is no original source for that one.
See the following links for stories where Barton does not rely on primary/original sources.
David Barton Praises Primary Sources and Then Cites a Third Hand Jefferson Quote
Debunking One of David Barton’s Oldest Stories: Thomas Jefferson and the DC Schools
David Barton Claims Historians Don’t Use Original Sources and That is Why They Attack His Work (James O’Kelly story)
David Barton Uses Jefferson Quote He Says is Unconfirmed (see also this post on the Webster quote)
 

Information and Misinformation on Gender Dysphoria from Wallbuilders and the American College of Pediatricians, Part One

Tuesday on Wallbuilders Live, Dr. Michelle Cretella represented tiny pediatric breakaway group the American College of Pediatricians. She briefly discussed the organization’s position paper on responding to gender identity issues. In doing so, she said something which caught my irony sensor. It also occurred to me, as it repeatedly has in the discussion of gender dysphoria, how difficult it is to avoid taking extreme positions.
Listen to her response to a question from host Rick Green about how much harm gender dysphoria is causing.

I want to address two claims that came up in this segment. In this post, I address the claim that 80% of gender dysphoric children will accept their biological sex with therapy. In a future post, I will write about the claim about suicide rates.
Cretella says:

They’re [advocates for transgender children] cooperating with, at least, mental confusion.  You know, initially, we know that there is psychiatric literature that shows if you work with these children one on one and with their families, the vast majority, over 80% will come to accept their biological sex after puberty before adulthood. So yes, to put these children to reaffirm their confused thinking, to put them on puberty blockers, and then cross-sex hormones to make them quote unquote the other gender, you are permanently sterilizing children. It’s insanity.

Cretella is correct that persistence rates are low (gender dysphoria continuing into adulthood) among gender dysphoric children, but this is not the case with adolescents who remain gender dysphoric or those who experience it with an adolescent onset. In their paper, ACP uses the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V as an authority. The section of the DSM-V cited by ACP supports the claim about persistence but does not fully support Cretella’s claim about the role of therapy.

Rates of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence or adulthood vary. In natal males, persistence has ranged from 2.2% to 30%. In natal females, persistence has ranged from 12% to 50%. Persistence of gender dysphoria is modestly correlated with dimensional measures of severity ascertained at the time of a childhood baseline assessment. In one sample of natal males, lower socioeconomic background was also modestly correlated with persistence. It is unclear if particular therapeutic approaches to gender dysphoria in children are related to rates of long-term persistence. Extant follow-up samples consisted of children receiving no formal therapeutic intervention or receiving therapeutic interventions of various types, ranging from active efforts to reduce gender dysphoria to a more neutral, “watchful waiting” approach. It is unclear if children “encouraged” or supported to live socially in the desired gender will show higher rates of persistence, since such children have not yet been followed longitudinally in a systematic manner. For both natal male and female children showing persistence, almost all are sexually attracted to individuals of their natal sex. For natal male children whose gender dysphoria does not persist, the majority are androphilic (sexually attracted to males) and often self-identify as gay or homosexual (ranging from 63% to 100%). In natal female children whose gender dysphoria does not persist, the percentage who are gynephilic (sexually attracted to females) and self-identify as lesbian is lower (ranging from 32% to 50%). (APA, DSM-V, p. 455)

To the DSM-V, I can add the description of persistence developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in their standards of care.

An important difference between gender dysphoric children and adolescents is in the proportion for whom dysphoria persists into adulthood. Gender dysphoria during childhood does not inevitably continue into adulthood.V Rather, in follow-up studies of prepubertal children (mainly boys) who were referred to clinics for assessment of gender dysphoria, the dysphoria persisted into adulthood for only 6–23% of children (Cohen-Kettenis, 2001; Zucker & Bradley, 1995). Boys in these studies were more likely to identify as gay in adulthood than as transgender (Green, 1987; Money & Russo, 1979; Zucker & Bradley, 1995; Zuger, 1984). Newer studies, also including girls, showed a 12–27% persistence rate of gender dysphoria into adulthood (Drummond, Bradley, Peterson-Badali, & Zucker, 2008; Wallien & Cohen-Kettenis, 2008).
In contrast, the persistence of gender dysphoria into adulthood appears to be much higher for adolescents. No formal prospective studies exist. However, in a follow-up study of 70 adolescents who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria and given puberty-suppressing hormones, all continued with actual sex reassignment, beginning with feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy (de Vries, Steensma, Doreleijers, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2010).
Another difference between gender dysphoric children and adolescents is in the sex ratios for each age group. In clinically referred, gender dysphoric children under age 12, the male/female ratio ranges from 6:1 to 3:1 (Zucker, 2004). In clinically referred, gender dysphoric adolescents older than age 12, the male/female ratio is close to 1:1 (Cohen-Kettenis & Pfäfflin, 2003). (WPATH, p. 11).

The irony of Cretella’s confidence in psychiatric intervention relates to the expulsion from ACP membership of George Rekers who was infamous for his own personal decline and his discredited treatment approach to what was then called gender identity disorder. In fact, we don’t know the role, if any, therapy plays in influencing the current persistence rates. While there is reason to think parental permission to transition in childhood might increase the persistence rates, there isn’t sufficient research to say for sure.
After listening to Cretella and reading the ACP paper, I wonder what the ACP recommends for the 10-20% of people with gender dysphoria persisting into the late teens. Do they favor reassignment for those persons? They focus on the data which make their point but don’t seem to have an answer for the rest of the people involved.
Another problem with ACP’s confidence in psychiatric interventions for gender dysphoria is that they also oppose a frequent end point in the trajectory of many gender dysphoric children: homosexuality (see image at the end of the post). One of the reasons George Rekers tried to re-orient gender dysphoria was to prevent homosexuality. Furthermore, one of the prime objectives of reparative therapists like Joseph Nicolosi is to prevent homosexuality via the alteration of parenting behaviors toward gender nonconforming children. ACP should stop pretending to sympathize with gender dysphoric children when they also write letters to school personnel promoting reparative change therapy for gay people.
Summary
Cretella is right that studies of gender dysphoric children (mostly with boys) find low rates of persistence of gender dysphoria into adulthood. However, she should have distinguished between prepubescent children and teens. The outcomes for these two groups do not appear to be the same. No doubt her listeners will not make that distinction.
Cretella was wrong to invoke psychiatric treatment as the reason for low persistence rates. If anything, some treatments have been shown to be harmful in some cases while others may not be harmful but may not cause a reduction in gender dysphoria. From her presentation, one could get the impression that advocates for gender dysphoric children know these treatments work but are motivated to undermine the natural family and therefore withhold appropriate medical care. While there is strong disagreement among experts and some advocates might oppose traditional families, it is simply not true that gender dysphoria could be easily treated if only activists would get out of the way.
Another important factor is that the treatment advocated by Cretella and the ACP is an outdated, discredited, psychoanalytically based approach which has not shown success. Even among those in the mainstream who are skeptical of puberty blocking drugs, the treatments advocated by ACP are rejected.
Gender Dysphoria After Childhood
The following image comes from a 2012 study by Devita Singh on gender dysphoric boys. Note the columns titled “sexual orientation in fantasy” and “sexual orientation in behavior.” By far, the most common end point for gender dysphoric children across studies is some level of same sex attraction. Gay advocates have in the past confided to me that they are ambivalent about supporting interruption of puberty because such interventions may interfere with a natural homosexual outcome. Please see this common sense article by Michael Bailey and Eric Vilain on the dilemma many parents of gender dysphoric children face.
Singh table

David Barton Inflates Numbers for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Women

Yesterday, David Barton’s Wallbuilders radio program hosted Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians. Barton and his co-host Rick Green once mistakenly called ACP the “leading association” of pediatricians.
Cretella was on the program to tout the ACP’s stance on transgender issues; I may have more to say about her interview in subsequent posts. However, after the interview, Barton made a claim which he offered as a way to say women should not be in combat. At about 23 minutes into the broadcast, Barton said:

Do you want to go where stats lead you? And she [Cretella] mentioned, what did she say the suicide rates were like 20 times higher in the kids who were being pushed in the transgender direction. And that reminded me of something that a two star General told me not long ago. And he said, when you look at what’s happening right now with women in the military. Women are not allowed in combat, you know they made that decision to change that recently but they’re not in combat units yet. But over the last several years of women’s roles in Afghanistan where they are not allowed in combat, of the women who are back, 90% are suffering from PTSD, only 10% of guys coming back suffering from PTSD. So we got 90% PTSD in women coming back and they’re not in combat. I know! Let’s put them in combat.

After citing a misleading stat from Cretella, he gives his audience one of his own.
I think it is possible that a two-star General who opposes women in combat did tell Barton this. However, now Barton is spreading undocumented and most likely false information to his audience. Some research does find that women experience more frequently than men do, the difference isn’t as great as Barton’s General told him. Here are two VA sources on the matter:

How many women Veterans have PTSD?

Among women Veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost 20 of every 100 (or 20%) have been diagnosed with PTSD. We also know the rates of PTSD in women Vietnam Veterans. An important study found that about 27 of every 100 female Vietnam Veterans (or 27%) suffered from PTSD sometime during their postwar lives. To compare, in men who served in Vietnam, about 31 of every 100 (or 31%) developed PTSD in their lifetime. (link)

Twenty percent is a tragedy but it is a long way from 90%.
According to a recent VA source, the rates of PTSD are about the same for military men and women seeking care from the VA.

“In the general population, women are twice as likely as men to develop posttraumatic stress disorder,” noted Dr. Sonja Batten, VA’s Deputy Chief Consultant for Specialty Mental Health. “But among recent returnees seeking care at VA, PTSD rates among men and women are the same. Statistics such as these suggest the need to better understand the role of gender in PTSD, particularly as it may impact our Veterans seeking care.”

On PTSD, Barton hasn’t had a good track record.
It might not be today, but I intend to get back to the claim that the transgender teen suicide rate is 20 times higher than some other teens.

With David Barton as Principal Officer, Non-Profit Mercury One Again Gave $100k to Barton’s Wallbuilders For Disaster Relief

Deja vu all over again. As was true in 2013, Mercury One with David Barton as principal officer and one of three board members gave $100k to David Barton’s Wallbuilders non-profit. Again in 2014, Barton is listed as Mercury One’s principal officer:
Mercury One 990 2014
And as last year, Barton is one of three board members along with Beck associate Joseph Kerry and Beck’s wife Tania.
Mercury One 990 Board 2014
This year Barton got a 4% raise:
mercury one 990 Wallbuilders 2014
See last year’s post for the possible problems with this.
Last year the funds were given to Wallbuilders because of their mission related to history. This year the 990 says “proceeds were used to provide help and resources to individuals affected by unforeseen disasters.” I took a quick Google look for something Wallbuilders did in 2014 or 2015 to help people through “unforeseen disasters” (other than Donald Trump, what disasters are foreseen?) and I couldn’t figure out what Wallbuilders did to help people with disasters (do bad history lessons count?).
Mr. Barton or Rick Green, if your catching up on your Throckmorton blog reading, could you do a Wallbuilders’ program where you outline how Wallbuilders spent over $100k on disaster relief?

Wallbuilders Live: David Barton is America's Premier Historian

Source, Wallbuilders Facebook page
Source, Wallbuilders Facebook page

Last week, co-host of David Barton’s radio show Wallbuilders Live Rick Green started introducing Barton as “America’s premier historian.” Listen”

Green also introduces Barton with this description on May 10 and 16. He adds the title historian to the introduction of Barton’s son Tim.
I suspect historians and regular readers would not choose that phrase to describe Barton (e.g., how many premier historians have their books pulled from publication over historical errors?). In fact, that kind of self-inflation should be embarrassing. Is he really the best or most important historian in America? Who does that?
Since Barton runs Wallbuilders and is paying Green’s salary, he could stop it if he wanted to.
Update (5/18/16): Rick Green introduced Barton today as “America’s premier historian.”
 

David Barton and Wallbuilders Double Down on The Jefferson Lies Accusations

In his new edition of The Jefferson Lies, David Barton claimed that I recruited Jay Richards to find Christian historians who would engage in a campaign against him. That charge is still false.
I denied the charge in a post here and in a review on The Jefferson Lies Amazon page.
Today someone at Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders, replied to my review with an accusation that I told one story in the review and another story to some undisclosed persons. See below:
WBAmazonComment
 
I then replied:
WTAmazonCom
 
 
At one point in November 2013, Barton claimed that “secular guys” recruited Christian professors to attack Barton. At the time, I wrote:

Barton claims his Christian critics were recruited by “secular guys.” Of course, this is flatly false, at least in my case and anyone I know. No one recruited Michael Coulter and me to critique Barton’s book. Furthermore, there are dozens of Christian professors who have critiqued Barton’s work simply because it is the right and honest thing to do.

Jay Richards is a Fellow at the Discovery Institute who recruited 10 scholars to read our book and The Jefferson Lies. None of these scholars were recruited by secular people to critique Barton.

Even the Family Research Council recognized flaws in Barton’s presentations and pulled his Capitol Tour video from view. Also, Focus on the Family edited Barton’s talks to remove two major historical errors. Perhaps Barton is going to include FRC and Focus on the Family among those recruited by the unnamed “secular guys.”

I don’t know if Barton, Wallbuilders or WND will ever admit it, but it is undeniable that numerous conservative Christians have come forward with major academic critiques of the claims presented by Wallbuilders.

To support his claim that I recruited Richards, Barton wrote this footnote in the new edition of The Jefferson Lies.

The publisher of another of my works, The Founders Bible, released after The Jefferson Lies, reported to me some unexpected and unsolicited contacts he had with Warren Throckmorton, explaining: “About a month ago, I started to get hounded by Throckmorton via email and on our website. He even called my former publishing partner and ended up issuing a warning and a threat. Warren ‘warned’ that he had assembled a coalition of people, supposed conservative Christians, who were mounting a campaign against David. If we intended to publish The Founders’ Bible, anyone associated with Barton was likely to suffer financially, because they were going to come against him. Sort of hit me blindside.” I received this email from the publisher of The Founders Bible on August 16, 2012.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 4669-4675). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

On July 3, 2012, I wrote to a friend who once was involved with the publisher of The Founders Bible with a heads up about the issues relating to The Jefferson Lies. The email was not a threat but rather a concerned personal alert to a friend. As I understand it, that email was forwarded to the publisher of The Founders Bible. I also made attempts to contact the publisher directly for comment about various aspects of the Founders Bible (for instance, I wondered if The Founders Bible was really going to include a favorable reference to a defender of Southern slavery). In my contacts with my friend and with the publisher I recollect describing the emergence of critiques from Christian conservatives.

Jay Richards contacted me in May 2012. He told me he had been commissioned to contact Christian historians to explore fact claims in The Jefferson Lies. While I was happy to hear that Richards was involved, I did not recruit him. Later, I made contacts with my friend and the publisher of The Founders Bible in July 2012, months after Richards first contacted me.

I have yet to hear from Wallbuilders about their claims but will update this post if I do.