And now for some comment:
1). Barton is correct when he suggests that many of the Founding Fathers held Christian beliefs. But this does not mean that all Christians wanted to establish a Christian nation. The logic does not hold.
2). Barton is correct in suggesting that historians and textbooks tend to focus the most on the founders who were not orthodox Christians than on the many founders who were Christians. (Yet there is a good reason for this–they were the major players in the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention). For a nice study of the religious beliefs of the “minor” Founders check out this book.
3). I have no idea where Barton gets the idea that 29 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence held “seminary” and “Bible school” degrees. How does he define “seminary” and “Bible school?” These kinds of institutions did not exist in the eighteenth-century.
4). Barton is correct to suggest that Princeton University should be considered a “Christian college” in the eighteenth century.
5). One would be hard-pressed to call John Witherspoon the “best known gospel evangelist of his generation.” It sounds like Barton wants to turn Witherspoon into some kind of southern revivalist preacher when in fact Witherspoon tended to downplay evangelism and even tried to squash a revival among the student body at Princeton in 1772. To claim that Witherspoon turned out one-third of the “Founding Fathers” is a bit of a stretch. Such an assertion depends on a very loose understanding of who qualifies as a “Founding Father.”
6). Barton fails to mention that Benjamin Rush spent a portion of his adult life as a universalist.
7). I assume that the Connecticut Founder he references is Roger Sherman. If so, he was not a theologian, but he was an evangelical Calvinist Christian. I don’t know how accurate the “Bible for the kids” story is.
8). Barton is wrong about the so-called “prayer meetings” at the Constitution. Franklin did call for prayer at the Constitutional Convention, but his proposal was rejected.
9). Barton is wrong when he claims that the 1782 Aitken Bible was printed by the Continental Congress. The Congress actually turned down a proposal to publish Aitken’s Bible, but it did endorse it once it was published. It was not funded by Congress.
10). The John Adams reference has been thoroughly debunked by Christian Right gadfly Chris Rodda
If you are interested in this kind of stuff, you might be interested in my forthcoming (probably January 2011) book: “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Primer.“