The Donkey Is Sleeping Today

Beck U. 4: Deconstruct This!

In First Amendment, Idiocracy, Politics, Propaganda on July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Bobo's Clown School Is Back In Session

During the latest “lesson” at Beck U, David Barton was up to his old tricks – cherry-picking historical details and isolated quotes to make his case that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians who really wanted to establish a fundamentalist theocracy.

And like most snake oil salesmen, he also talked really, really fast so no one would notice his bullshit.  He has a bright future as the next spokesperson for Goldline.

Barton beat his drum that most of the Founding Fathers held degrees from seminaries, conveniently forgetting that most colleges in those days were seminaries, regardless of discipline.

And he got really upset at the fact that all we’ve been taught about American history for the past 234 years is just nothing but a deconstructionist fantasy dreamed up by dirty liberal feminist hippies to thrust their communist agenda on the innocent youth of America.

I think someone’s still upset at “Granola” Grace for standing him up at the 1972 Aledo High School prom.

David Barton's Cassandra

Of course, the term deconstruction was coined in 1967 by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. But he was French, and everyone knows that the only good Frenchman was Alexis de Tocqueville and only because he talked about American exceptionalism. The rest of those Frogs can go suck it.

I suppose Barton is too stupid to realize that he’s actually the one who is deconstructing history through his unfounded premise that every Founding Father – all 250 of them by his count – were Christians and that they all intended for America to be based on religious teachings rather than common law.

He also got really torqued by the fact that most historians dismiss all 250 Founding Fathers by “only focusing on one or two.”

And then he proceeded to focus on two.

For twenty minutes, Barton railed that the most “secular” of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, also wanted a Christian nation.  To his credit, Barton uses historical facts to bolster his case: he just doesn’t give you all the facts.

It is true that Benjamin Franklin proposed the country’s first motto be “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” but it was soundly rejected by Congress, who ordered the design to “lie on the table.”

It is also true that Franklin asked the assembled members of the Constitutional Convention to have a prayer service every morning to guide them, but this suggestion was also soundly rejected.

And while Jefferson attended church service held at the Capitol building as President, he also sought “a wall of separation between church and state” and that religion should neither be persecuted nor given special status.

Here’s Jefferson himself (from the book “The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia: A Comprehensive Collection of the Views of Thomas Jefferson” edited by John P. Foley):

If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise as it had happened in a fair or market…

Here’s where Barton begins to stamp his feet and throw a tantrum.  He whines that we’ve been told that Franklin and Jefferson were agnostics and deists.  But he insists that these actions prove they were true Christians who believed in a theocracy, dammit! Don’t believe those dirty librels and their deconstructionist ways.

I guess Barton’s using the Transitive Property of Christian Fundamentalism. Let me explain. If A = C and C = D, then A = B, which proves everyone is a secret Christian and that the Founding Fathers wanted us to separate church and state so that Christians were free to worship wherever they wanted and however they wanted so long as they were the right type of Christians.

Okay, everyone, pop quiz.  Let’s put this transitive theory into practice.  Who said the following?

Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.

That’s right, it was Mohandas Gandhi.  Forget what you heard about the fact that Gandhi was a Hindu.  It is clear from this quote that he invokes God, which means that he is a Christian man.  He even fasted for Jesus, right?

A true Christian in David Barton's world

Here’s another interesting case.  Who said this?

“Against stupidity; God Himself is helpless.”

Well, nobody is really credited with this one, but we’ve been told all these years that it is a Jewish proverb. But it really sounds Christian to me. And besides, all the Jews are Christians anyway.

They just don’t know it yet.


All installments of our Beck U series are here: Beck U, Beck U2, Beck 3D, and Beck 5.

  1. Barton is a major player in the Dominionist movement, which, in the final analysis, is really all the tea baggers are all about. Their racial animus stems from the mark of Ham.

  2. […] in Lecture 4: [David Barton ("a pseudo-historian with limited academic credentials")] whines that we’ve been […]

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