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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Glenn Beck Check, Part IV: Batman Meets Robin

And The Stupidity of the
Dynamic Duo is Staggering

It's been a while since I did an installment of the Glenn Beck Check. To be honest, I just get so tired of this stupid windbag that it's hard to listen to his material. Nevertheless, I will try to press on because, as of late, I have come across a lot of material that is sure to make your head spin with the stupidity and ignorance that has become a trademark of "Beckonian" idiocracy.

Over the past couple of months, Glenn Beck has been on an American rock...er..."American Revival" tour to several cities where he presents his watered-down, dumbed-up, biased, and downright false take on American history. And guess what??? He isn't alone. Like Batman needs his Robin, Glenn Beck too needs an equally stupid sidekick...and he hit a home run with his choice. Beck selected none other than David Barton, pseudo-historian extraordinaire and the most passionate voice for the "Christian Nation" crowd out there today. If you don't know anything about David Barton get ready to hold on to your hats. He'll take you on a "patriotic" "inspiring" and "religious" Founding Fathers joyride that will excite any Bible-thumping, Jesus-jamming, tea-bagging zealot that Fox News has not yet inspired. There's only one problem: almost everything he says is false. Seriously. I've been following this nut-job for a few years now. He's a demonstrable fraud who has been forced to recant his "history" on so many occasions that he has zero credibility with anyone in the historical community. Simply put, Barton is to history what creationism is to science. He's historical and intellectual poison that should be outright rejected due to his obviously biased agenda and lack of any legitimate historical backing (not to mention the fact that he simply makes crap up). The only reason he has an audience is because he tells people what they want to hear: that America is Jesusland and the founders were all die-hard Evangelical Christians. Thanks to Barton's daily radio broadcasts from his website, Wallbuilders, not to mention his numerous books including The Myth of Separation, Barton's crap has spread to the ignorant masses at virtual light speed. And now, Glenn Beck too is drinking the Barton Kool-Aid!

Here's part one of Batman and Robin's debut performance on Faux News:

Ugh! Right out of the gate Beck hits us with more of that ridiculous "socialist" "Marxist" Obama crap. Seriously, Glenn, this part of your act is getting REALLY old. And as you can see (which is a standard practice for Glenn) he never provides a single shred of evidence for this stupid rant...other than colorful crap on his blackboard (which he is usually incapable of spelling correctly).

At 1:10 into his rant, Beck brings up a topic that he regularly mentions: restoring America to its former greatness. Of course, Beck assumes that this "restoration" is somehow in harmony with his extremely messed up and biased view of American history. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt here. After all, he claims to revere the Founding Fathers (which is a good thing), but how well does he understand them? Aside from saying that "we are on the verge of collapse" what other "pearls of wisdom" does Beck have to offer?

Let's find out.

Well, the "faith," "Hope," and "charity" component sure invokes passionate feelings but it proves nothing. Perhaps Batman needs a little assistance? Enter the one and only (thank goodness there is only one of him) David Barton! At 4:10 Beck states, "here's the history you are never taught in school." Uh, yeah, totally agree there Glen...because IT ISN'T HISTORY YOU MORON!!! Let's dissect the B.S. shall we:

At 4:38 David Barton offers up one of his biggest lies of all: that congress published a Bible. Sorry but this is a complete and total lie. Here's the truth about this Bible. A Philadelphia printer by the name of Robert Aitken petitioned Congress for permission to print the Bible here in America. His hope was that he would be able to gain congressional sanctioning for his bible, especially since American printing was basically in the toilet at this time and getting books from Britain was almost impossible. Well, Aitken continued to hound Congress with a countless number of petitions asking for approval and congressional sanctioning for his bible. He never got it. What he did get, however, was a congressional endorsement of his printing. Again, American printing sucked at this time and Congress needed to get it moving. Aitken's ability to mass produce a book as large as the Bible demonstrated that American industry and independence was becoming a reality. As a result, Congress was happy to promote Aitken's printing...but NOT his Bible. And again, Congress didn't print the book, Aitken did, using his own time, resources and money. Congress never gave him a thing...except perhaps a pat on the back for his ingenuity in printing.

So how does Barton come to his conclusions? Well, the first thing he does is mess up his dates. On a number of occasions (not present in the video above) Barton tries to argue that Congress began printing these bibles in 1782, immediately following the victory of Yorktown. The problem, however, is that Aitken had already begun printing as early as 1779, a full three years BEFORE victory at Yorktown. In addition, Barton's claims that Congress "recommended" the Bible is simply Aiken's overzealous and presumptuous move to give his Bible more credit than it deserved. Congress NEVER approved it. Now, Barton claims that there are "congressional records" which show that the Bible was approved, specifically to be "A neat addition to the Holy Scriptures for use in our schools." The only problem (and he conveniently omits this part) is that these "records" are Aitken's letters to Congress! In other words, Barton's research is so bad that he actually considers Aitken's petitions as "Congressional documents." This would be like you or I petitioning Congress for a new car by stating that it would be "a neat addition to my front driveway", having Congress refuse the petition, and then using that same letter we sent as proof that Congress was for it! Barton is king of this kind of research because he knows his audience will never bother to check his sources.

Ok, that's sort of the ultra-condensed rebuttal of Barton and Beck's stupid "American Bible" nonsense. For a much more thorough rebuking click here to view a video by a lady named Chris Rodda, author of the book, Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate View of America History.

At 6:50 Beck mentions Benjamin Franklin's view on religion, which were DEIST in nature (conveniently ignored by Beck). Beck recites a famous Franklin quote (from a letter to Ezra Stiles) in which Franklin states that he "believes in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence." However, Beck "conveniently" leaves out the rest of the quote. When speaking of the divinity of Jesus, Franklin wrote:
I think the System of Morals [devised by Jesus] and his Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity.
I suppose that's just more of the "history we never learn" right, Beck?

At 7:35 Barton and Beck mention Samuel Adams and his petitions for prayer. Well, we're still doing that today (a practice that I agree with) so they should be thrilled. We're still doing something the founders did! The problem is that Beck and Barton take this thread and run it into idiocracy. Batman and Robin mention that "9 out of the 13 colonies" had state religions at the time of the founding of America. Well, duh! American COLONIES each had their own religion (or at least most of them did). However, every single state REMOVED their state religions at or shortly after the Revolution. Just another tidbit left out of their "enlightening" discussion I suppose. And of course the religion analogy has NOTHING to do with healthcare as Beck suggests. Just another stupid remark.

**If you want to read more about state religions click here for a piece I did not long ago on the controversy religion caused Massachusetts at the time of the founding**

At 8:45 David Barton mentions Charles Carroll. In the video, Barton suggests that Carroll used his wealth to establish a church in Maryland because, "there wasn't enough wealth" in the state to create one. Uh, sorry David. More half-truths and outright lies. What happened was Charles Carroll (a very devout Catholic) put up money for the establishment of a Catholic church in the area because the religion was being forced out. Though established to be a haven for Catholics, Maryland Evangelical Christians (the same Christians that David Barton supports) grew sick of their presence and wanted them out. As a result, Catholics were severely chastened by early Americans. Carroll was simply trying to help out his own, not assist religion in a broad sense, and certainly not to create government-sanctioned religion

Of course Beck's final comment is priceless: "Why we are bringing this up America is because you have to have the correct history." LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! Speak for yourself, Glenn. The rest of us are doing just fine!

And here's part 2 of Batman and Robin's act:

Right out of the gate Barton brings up the book, The Godless Constitution. This book is exactly what it claims to be: an examination of the godless nature of American society. And no, it is NOT used that much as a textbook like Beck suggests. And though I agree with Beck and Barton that this book is every bit the nonsense (from the far left) as is Beck and Barton's crap (from the far right), I do wish Barton would point out where in the Constitution we can find even one reference to God. Guess what...it doesn't exist! But again, this is inconvenient to Barton and Beck's agenda so they don't mention the FACT that the founders intentionally drafted the Constitution to be a secular document in which references to God were intentionally left out. Yes, the book, The Godless Constitution takes this reality too far in its assumption that America is completely secular but it does at least fit this historical reality, whereas Beck and Barton are still unable to figure out what reality is.

At 1:20 Barton brings up Benjamin Rush. Now, Barton is right when he states that most Americans don't have a clue who this guy is. From what the video shows (it goes black for some reason), Barton's depiction of Rush is sound. He was a founder of the Philadelphia Bible Society and was a passionate Christian. BUT we should keep in mind that Rush's desire for Christianity to be preached in schools was rejected, so I'm not sure what Barton stands to gain by mentioning him.

At 2:08 Barton briefly mentions Stephen Hopkins. He states that Hopkins was a "devout orthodox Quaker" which isn't true. He was actually Episcopalian. And no, he did NOT use the scriptures to illustrate why America should break from Britain. Hopkins' most famous pamphlet, The Rights of the Colonies Examined was a rebuking of British taxation and had NOTHING to do with religion The Bible is only mentioned as a historical reference and is used in conjunction with Greek and Roman history (which, of course were pagan). Barton simply assumes that any reference to the Bible is conclusive proof of a person's belief in Christianity. Well, why isn't the same standard used when Hopkins references the Greeks (who are mentioned twice as much as the Bible)? Silly little tidbit of history that FOX viewers don't need I suppose.

At 2:25 Batman and Robin bring up Robert Treat Paine. Now, Barton is right in pointing out that Paine was a Chaplin...at least for a while. However, Paine eventually left the Congregationalist Church and became a devout Unitarian...you know...that "heathen" religion that rejects many of the Evangelical Christian teachings that Barton claims the founders loved.

At 4:20 Batman and Robin make the INSANE claim that the Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted source of the founding, supposedly more so that even John Locke. HAHAHA! This one is laughable. What Barton is doing is relying on a ridiculous and bogus study done by one Donald S. Lutz, who made the incorrect assertion that the Bible (and Deuteronomy in particular) were the most quoted sources of the founding. Not so. Instead of listing all the ways that this study is utter B.S. I will simply refer you to this source, which does a more thorough job than I could ever do. Bottom line: Barton is, ONCE AGAIN, completely wrong on this matter...and Batman eats it up! Besides, it should be hysterical to one and all when they hear Batman and Robin talk about the Law of Moses being a foundation for American republicanism. I mean, who out there would want to return to the Law of Moses? And, of course, Barton's stupid comment that it was easier to find tablets of the 10 Commandments in a government building than in a church is absurd for the very same reasons, not to mention that several of these 10 Commandments (which Batman and Robin claim are the foundation of our nation) are actually unconstitutional. Who is stupid enough to think that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," "Remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy," "Don't have engraven images," and "Don't commit adultery" are constitutional? Moral sure, but constitutional? Not a chance.

At 5:50 Barton completely screws up Francis Hopkinson, whom he claims was the designer of the original American flag. Not so. Though Hopkinson tried to profit from such a claim, Congress basically told him to go pound sand, due to the fact that he had zero claim to such a distinction. Barton also mentions that Hopkinson wrote a "hymn book" based on Psalms. Well, he also did one entitled, "Temple of Minerva" which is, of course, a pagan holy place.

Part 3 of the Batman and Robin fiasco:

At the beginning, Glenn Beck makes the INCREDIBLY STUPID remark that we should "fall on our knees and thank God for Fox News." Uh...I think I speak for most when I say "to HELL with FOX News." But anyway, I digress...

Ok, so Barton and Beck go off on this Thomas Jefferson/John Adams friendship. Now, it's true that Rush claimed to have had a dream in which he saw Jefferson and Adams become friends again after their long political feud (a beautiful story) but...

Barton is COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY misrepresenting the John Adams letter. Again I will defer to Chris Rodda who does a much better debunking of this crap than I could. Click here to see it. Rodda reveals just how big of a liar Barton is.

At 3:30 we get to see Beck's overly-inflated sense of self when he compares himself and his role to that of the founders. SPARE US, Batman! And then Robin chimes in by saying that 17 founders lost everything they owned, 4 lost wives 5 prisoner of war, etc., etc. etc. Well, all he needed to do was go to Snopes to see that most of those claims are the stuff of legend. Click here to see for yourself.

At 6:15 you hear Batman thank Robin for being on the Texas school board. Well, we can thank Barton for getting Thomas Jefferson removed from the curriculum. INCREDIBLY stupid thing to do.

At 7:00 Barton tries to say that George Washington was a Christian. Conveniently, Barton forgets to mention the fact that Washington never took communion, refused to pray on his knees, and never made any formal claims to any one religion. Speaking personally, the religion of Washington (and Jefferson) are of particular interest. If you really want to have a breakdown of what Washington believed click here. And for Jefferson click here. Don't accept that "progressives" (Beck's favorite scary word) were somehow involved in a conspiracy to re-write American history. If you believe that, chances are you believe in Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the alien spaceship at Roswell.

Part 4 of the stupid fest:

Ok, this one REALLY pisses me off because Jefferson is my favorite founder. Jefferson DID NOT sign any document with, "In the Year of our Lord, Christ, nor did he create a church or have the Marine band play Christian hymns. Again, here is Chris Rodda to expose Barton's crap (Click here).

Getting back to the Batman and Robin video, at 2:15 Robin mentions that Benjamin Franklin called for a prayer at the Constitutional Convention. Well, that's true, but Barton "CONVENIENTLY" forgets to mention that the prayer suggestion was unanimously rejected by the Congress. In fact, legend has it that Alexander Hamilton told Franklin that "The delegates have no need of foreign aid." And no, they DID NOT go to church! That's a total lie! Another tidbit ignored by the Dynamic Duo!

**For a breakdown of Franklin's real religious beliefs click here.**

AAAHHHH...these IDIOTS! At 4:40 they mention Jefferson's The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. This was essentially Jefferson's personal Bible. Jefferson (and Batman forgets to mention this) actually removed EVERY SINGLE miracle that Jesus ever performed. Why? BECAUSE HE DIDN'T BELIEVE THEM! Jefferson saw Jesus as a Aristotle type...not the Son of God. Barton and Beck are so stupid that they cannot pick this up...that or they don't want to tell the truth. And no, Congress didn't print this! Another lie!

In conclusion, the lies, half truths and ignorance of Glenn Beck and David Barton (Batman and Robin) gets attention for one single reason: the stupidity of the masses. If people actually took the time to see how bogus this version of history really is, they would quit giving these clowns the time of day. Perhaps Martin Luther King said it best when he declared:

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Perhaps Batman and Robin should return to the 2nd Grade???


Richard Nabozny said...

More crap from people who dont know what they are talking about. Too bad the majority of the uneducated masses buy into this PROPAGANDA (uh-oh, a nazi/soviet word).

And you are defiantly right about the foreign aid part, particularly as Franklin was the Ambassador to France and requested the top 4 military leaders to come to USA...unfortunately, he only got 4 recent military graduates, all of whom demanded a 2 rank promotion (among many other things) before they would agree to assist.

Additionally, I believe that they would crap their pants if they knew that one of US most enduring symbols and legacies of the war, West Point, was designed and built by the Thadeus Kosciuszko, a Polish Colonel serving directly under the command of Washington (who interestingly enough, was to be Washington's successor as Commander in Chief of the military after his resignation in December 1783, by virtue of Washington's bestowal upon him of an engraved sword (which read on one side: America and Washington are joined with our friend T. Kosciuszko, and on the other side: Mother of god, pray for us) and his cameo ring given to him as a member of the Society of Cincinnati.

Brad Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Hart said...

Fascinating story about Thaddeus Kosciuszko. I never knew that about him. Would you be interested in contributing a "guest" post of sorts at my other blog (American Creation)? I'd like to do something on this guy and anything you'd like to contribute would be awesome!

WKen said...

Great post, Brad.

The problem, of course, is that no Glenn Beck fan will read it. Or, if one does, s/he'll simply dismiss it.

After all, Beck is the one and true expert on all things.