Monday, December 21, 2015

David Barton's *The Jefferson Lies* Is Back

Warren Throckmorton reminds me that the right-wing conservative website World Net Daily (WND) is republishing David Barton's The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.

Here is the over-the-top promotional video for the book with very dramatic music:



The website for the book at WND describes The Jefferson Lies as "The New York Times bestseller pulled from the shelves because of political correctness."  (Why do conservatives and members of the Christian Right suddenly love The New York Times whenever it is used to modify "bestseller.").

I have not read the new edition.  I hear that Barton made some changes in response to the criticisms. But I think it is safe to say that the original version of the book was not pulled from print because of "political correctness." It was pulled from print because it was bad history.

Here is our six-part series of reviews on The Jefferson Lies. (You need to sort through some other Jefferson Lies related posts to get to them).

Here is Thomas Kidd's story on Thomas Nelson Publisher's decision to pull The Jefferson Lies from the shelves in August 2012.

Here is Gregg Frazer's critique of The Jefferson Lies

Here is Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter's critique of The Jefferson Lies.

The endorsements of this new edition come from some of the usual suspects:

Glen Beck

Matt Brock, a professor of paralegal studies at Liberty University

Bill Armstrong, the President of Colorado Christian University, a school that I understand is moving harder and harder to the Christian Right under the former U.S. senator's leadership.

Dr. White McKenzie Wellborn from the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, an organization known for opposing much of the current scholarship on Jefferson, especially related to his relationship with Sally Hemings.

Kermit Bridges, the President of Southwest Assembly of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.

Barbara Morris, a professor of English at St. John's University in New York.

Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  (See our posts on Piper here and here). OWU is one of the few schools in the United States that Barton claims is "right biblically."

Dr. John Swails, a professor of Middle East Studies and History at Oral Roberts University

Monty Lobb, a professor of business and government at Ohio Christian University, another one of Barton's approved schools.

Douglas Wingate, the president of Life Christian University.  This appears to be an online Bible college.  Its most famous graduates are televangelists Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Joyce Meyers. They all have a "Ph.D in Theology" from this university.

What is most striking about this list of endorsers is that Barton could not find one American historian to endorse the book.  (Swails has a Ph.D in history, but he is not an expert in American history).

Why did Barton turn to the department of paralegal studies at Liberty University for an endorsement instead of the history department? What about American historians teaching at Colorado Christian University, Southwest Assembly of God University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, and Life Christian University?  The fact is, as I have noted before, there are no reputable American historians willing to endorse the book.