Understanding the fake historian behind America’s religious right

Historians in the News
tags: David Barton, Sam Brownback, ambassador for religious freedom

With a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate confirmed longtime religious-right figurehead and outgoing (and unpopular) Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to be the US’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on Wednesday.

Christian figures like Rev. Johnnie Moore, who served on the president’s evangelical outreach board during Trump’s campaign, praised Brownback as a “consistent, vocal, competent and impassioned advocate for these issues.” Groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, on the other hand, castigated the vote, citing Brownback’s anti-LGBTQ record as both a governor and a former member of Congress.

But, less obviously (and no less importantly), he’s a major supporter of David Barton, the much-criticized Christian nationalist historian whose deeply skewed perspective on American history has been used by a number of Republican politicians to bolster a false narrative of America as a historically Christian nation.

The outgoing governor’s association with Barton is longstanding. Brownback has frequently referred to Barton as “one of my big heroes” for his preservation of America’s “beautiful heritage” and has appeared on Barton’s WallBuilders radio show. Barton has also headlined the 2013 Kansas Prayer Breakfast during Brownback’s time as governor.

Meanwhile, Barton is best-known for a series of books, including Original Intent: The Courts, The Constitution, and Religion and The Jefferson Lies, that argue America was founded by evangelical Christians as a Christian nation, and that the Founding Fathers intended for America to be run on Christian principles. He’s also known for his lobbying group, WallBuilders, which attempts to bring Christianity into American public life by highlighting what he says is “forgotten history.” ...

Read entire article at Vox

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