Monday, August 07, 2017

Taking David Barton Seriously

From Religion in US History here. A taste:
Charlie pointed out to us that white evangelicals often take the brunt of academia’s ironic superiority. There is perhaps a no more popular (and, for some, no more deserving) target of this academic ridicule than David Barton. Circa 2012, when his publisher Thomas Nelson pulled his book The Jefferson Lies from print after finding “some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported,” Barton found himself the topic of numerous biting blog posts. For a while, academics had a field day on the internet with a collective reaction of “can you believe this guy!” coupled with “this is crazy, right?” Barton’s book, and his obtrusive Texas flag button-downs, became a meme for bad scholarship.
Yeah, I realize there is a much larger and more interesting world relating to religion and the American Founding than David Barton's missteps.

It's interesting the position we have found ourselves in. It's almost as though in order to begin discussing the topic, whether one is on the left, right, center or libertarian, one is obliged to give Barton a (metaphorical) kick in the stomach and then get to business. It's almost like a throat clearing "may it please the court" that appellate attorneys give during oral arguments.

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