Thursday, June 20, 2013

David Barton, Family Research Council, and a U.S. Capitol Tour

This week I showed a clip from David Barton's U.S. capitol tour to a group of Pennsylvania school teachers who were taking a two-day seminar with me on the role of religion in the American founding.  My intention was not to debunk the video but to illustrate the way the Christian Right is using American history to promote its public policy.  In fact, the Barton video was one of several videos I showed on the subject.

But despite my attempts at evenhandedness in class, Barton's video, and his tour of the U.S. Capitol generally, is riddled with historical errors.  A few months ago I joined 33 other Christian historians in calling for the Family Research Council (FRC), the organization that sponsored Barton's tour, to remove the video.  FRC responded by making the video "private" and asked Barton to admit to the errors and correct them.  Apparently Barton has made the changes and has actually backed off some of his earlier claims in the video.

But, as Warren Throckmorton explains, the changes Barton made to the video do not go far enough.  The new video still has some major problems.