Wednesday, September 9, 2015

David Barton is Running Ted Cruz's Super-PAC

A few weeks ago I predicted that Ted Cruz will become the darling of the Christian Right during this presidential election cycle.  Cruz may not have capitalized on the Kim Davis affair in the way that Mike Huckabee did, but he recently took a major step toward securing votes from his conservative evangelical base.

Bloomsburg News is reporting that David Barton, the political activist who uses the American past to promote the idea that the United States is a Christian nation, will be running a Cruz super-PAC called "Keep the Promise."

Here is a taste of Zachary Mider's piece:

David Barton, an influential Christian author and activist, is taking charge of the leading super-PAC supporting Ted Cruz.
The super-PAC, Keep the Promise PAC, is the umbrella for a group of related pro-Cruz political committees that raised $38 million in the first half of the year, more than the super-PACs supporting any other candidate with the exception of Jeb Bush.
"From the outset, the Keep the Promise PACs made their mission to provide a voice for the millions of courageous conservatives who are looking to change the direction of the country," Keep the Promise PAC said in a statement today. "Barton's involvement is an important step signaling that the effort will not be run by a D.C. consultant but by a grassroots activist.
Barton's appointment highlights the role that evangelical Christians are playing in the Cruz campaign. The Texas senator is the son of a preacher and announced his presidential bid at Liberty University, a Christian institution founded by the televangelist Jerry Falwell.
Barton is a self-taught historian, former school administrator and the founder of Wallbuilders, a group dedicated to the idea that the U.S. was established as a Christian nation and should embrace those roots. Time Magazine named him one of the country's top 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.
This is just more evidence to support my belief that Barton is not interested in being a historian.  He is a conservative political activist who manipulates the past to promote his political agenda.  Yet, many evangelical Christians turn to him as a reliable source of historic information.
This news is also revealing because it tells us who Barton is supporting in the GOP primary. It will be interesting to see if Mike Huckabee responds to this news.  He has been a long-time adherent to Barton's teachings.  In fact, I just learned that Huckebee, Cruz, and Barton will be appearing together in October at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas as part of an event sponsored by something called The American Renewal Project.
I appreciate Ted Cruz's Christian commitment and I respect (but don't always agree with) his attempt to build a political platform based on his evangelical convictions.  Cruz seems to be a smart guy. That is why I don't understand how he could, with any degree of integrity, align himself with Barton's views of American history.
Evangelical Christians need to realize that there is an alternative Christian way of thinking about the founding of the United States that does not run roughshod over the historical record.  In cherry-picking the parts of the American founding that suit his present-day political agenda, Barton fails to treat the past with integrity--and the last time I checked integrity was a Christian virtue.
Recently I have been in conversation with some Christian conservatives who have decades of experience as Christian Right insiders.  These Christians are growing more and more concerned about Barton's views of the American past and are worried that they have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to their understanding of the American founding.  Stay tuned. 
In an e-mail to one of the leaders of this group, I sent along some of the things I have written about Barton in the past.  Here is what I shared:
  • Here are some blog posts I have done on Barton:  
  • Posts on the Texas School Book controversy (many which include Barton):