Friday, November 20, 2009

Wow David Barton Actually Debates:

Barton is known for NOT debating critics. After watching this you'll probably see why. I think this is the only time I've ever seen him debate. I don't like the way Lee Strobel initially poses the debate by setting up a false dichotomy (the truth of the Founding is actually somewhere in between the two either or poles that Strobel announces). Other than that, Strobel did a good job at giving both sides equal time.

After setting up what sounds like a reasonable definition of a "Christian Nation," Barton steps in it a few times. He puts forth a number of points to challenge the "Godless Constitution" thesis.

Point one: The Constitution ties itself back to the DOI which is a "God oriented document." True enough. But 1) the DOI is not a "Christian" document per se (no references to Jesus). And 2) it's an indirect way of getting to God -- it hardly makes the Constitution a "Godly" document.

Point two: Sunday excepted clause. A nominal indirect reference to Christianity. Which again hits at the truth: The US Constitution is secular and godless, but not in the way the French Revolution was, but in a softer way and one that more accommodates religious customs.

Point three: Barton cites the Donald S. Lutz, et al. study in a misleading way. What that study actually says is that the Bible had little if ANY impact on the US Constitution.

Point four: Barton LIES about Washington and Hamilton citing verses and chapters of scripture for separation of powers. Sorry that's just not in the historical record. You can try to go back and throw spaghetti against the wall and see what parts of the Bible seem to match with what parts of the Constitution; but you don't see the FFs (at least none of the men at the Constitutional Convention or in the Federalist Papers) quoting verses and chapters for the principles and provisions in the Constitution.

In part two he gets confronted on his "unconfirmed quotations" and responds that they were all "footnoted," not necessarily to the original record, but footnoted to somewhere (in other words he kicks the can to the original fabricators).

Barton then tries to explain away the Treaty of Tripoli which states, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;..."

Barton's critic makes a good point about the bogus quotes that Barton originally passed on: These bogus quotes, though Barton wrote an article saying "don't pass them anymore," have taken on a life of their own.

The critic also brings up Barton's shilling for the GOP.

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