Monday, January 14, 2013

If Distorting History is a Crime, Warren Throckmorton Wants to Make a Citizen's Arrest

Warren Throckmorton, that dogged critic of David Barton and the Christian nationalist view of Thomas Jefferson and American history generally, wants to make a citizen's arrest.  It seems that Bradlee Dean, a conservative commentator and self-described "ordained preacher" and "heavy metal drummer," has boldly claimed that people who distort history are committing a "deliberate lie, and lying is not permissible by law."

The problem with Dean's article defending the idea that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian and America is a Christian nation is that it is filled with historical errors.

Here is a taste of Throckmorton's post:

Dean enters David Barton’s world to make several claims about Thomas Jefferson that we cover in our book Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President.  I’ll note them briefly with links to the correct information. 

First, Dean says that Jefferson worked for religious freedom under the umbrella of Christianity. Jefferson worked for religious freedom and he did want the VA law for religious freedom listed as an accomplishment on his tombstone. However, Jefferson said that VA law covered non-Christian religions as well.

Dean said Jefferson help found the Virginia Bible Society and was a “substantial financial contributor.” In fact, Jefferson did not help found the organization.  He once gave $50 to the group with the proviso that they not extend the work of the society to foreign nations.  Fifty dollars was not an insignificant sum but it was a tiny fraction of Jefferson’s expenditures for fine wine and imported china.

Read the rest here or you can just buy a copy of Michael Coulter and Throckmorton's Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President.