Warren Throckmorton is right. It is time for more Southern Baptist historians to call attention to the way David Barton uses the past to promote his culture-war agenda. I don’t know much about this event called The Summit, but it looks like a big deal. Barton is one of the speakers. Once again, his problematic views of the past are being promoted as the truth.
The bio states that he speaks to “400 groups each year.” I am not sure how this possible, but it does suggest that there are a lot of people who want to hear what he has to say.
Now I know that there are a lot of good historians and church historians in the Southern Baptist Convention. Some of them read this blog. Thomas Kidd, for example, was influential in exposing Barton’s highly problematic The Jefferson Lies. Perhaps it is time for more of them, especially conservatives, to say something. Why haven’t people like Al Mohler or Russell Moore said anything on this front? Barton’s influence in the SBC is huge!
Southern Baptist leaders and historians have made it abundantly clear that they are interested in TRUTH, but their quest for such truth apparently doesn’t apply to the study of American history.
Tim Schoettle says
Good post. The truth matters. We should pursue it and value it without knowing exactly where it will lead us. Too often people put political expediency ahead of truth. The left and right both do this.
Tom Van Dyke says
I'd rather see the attacks on Barton be kept to the specifics. If he makes a faulty claim at the SBC, it should be challenged and corrected.
Aside from his bad Jefferson Lies book, his basic thesis is still in the neighborhood of reputable scholars such as Daniel Dreisbach, Philip Hamburger, and Mark David Hall, that America's religious history has often been whitewashed by today's left-leaning education establishment.
The REAL question is why these scholars are ignored.
Aaron Cowan says
In contemporary America, popularity often serves as the yardstick for truth. Because Barton is popular, it's problematic to repudiate him – it means some other organization will get his power and influence.
Tom Van Dyke says
Kaskaskia Indians. Aitken Bible. Ho-hum. The republic will survive.
Mike B says
Wholeheartedly agree. When one studies well-documented and even-handed history of the early United States, one comes away with a very different picture than the one Barton paints. I believe he is selling a product, i.e., a history that some want to believe.