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David Barton Tells Glenn Beck a More Obvious Lie to Refute the Refutation of a Less Obvious Lie


On Thursday's episode of Glenn Beck's web-based GBTV show, Beck's guest was none other than pseudo-historian David Barton, who, as everybody knows by now, just got his bestselling book The Jefferson Lies pulled by Christian publisher Thomas Nelson. Barton was on Beck's show to refute the critics and save face with his followers. (And Beck will be publishing the next edition of Barton's Jefferson book through his publishing arm.)

One of the lies that Barton has been telling for a very long time in his presentation and TV appearances is that Thomas Jefferson signed his presidential documents not just "in the year of our Lord," but "in the year of our Lord Christ."

For many years, Barton had claimed to have in his possession a document that proved that Jefferson signed his documents, but he had never revealed in his books or on his website exactly what this mysterious document was. I knew that it had to be some sort of document written by someone else that Jefferson had merely signed, but all I could do was guess at what it might be until October 2008, when I actually attended on of Barton's presentations. At that presentation, Barton showed a corner of the document on the big TV screen, but not enough to tell what it was.

A few months after I attended his presentation, David Barton decided to bash me on his radio show, Wallbuilders LIVE! (which is actually pre-recorded; seriously, this guy can't even give his radio show an honest name). At the October 2008 presentation that I attended, I had gone up to Barton and given him a copy of my 2006 book Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History, a book that debunks dozens of the lies from his earlier books and videos. In January 2009, he decided to come after me on his radio show, where he not only lied about my book, but lied about our encounter at his presentation (which was pretty dumb considering he knew that I had the whole encounter on video, since my friend with the video camera had made no attempt to hide that we were filming it). But the details of all that are unimportant now, except for the fact that a couple of months later I decided to make a series of videos on YouTube showing not only that Barton's version of what occurred at his 2008 presentation was not true, but debunking a whole bunch of the lies he had told in the presentation itself. I put these videos on YouTube in March 2009.

Since I mentioned this mystery document in my video series, and that Barton was deliberately trying to keep anyone from seeing what it was, guess what happened - an image of the ships' papers document suddenly appeared on Barton's website. Now I finally knew what Barton's mysterious "in the year of our Lord Christ" Jefferson document was. This was a pre-printed form that ships leaving America had to carry (sometimes also referred to as a passport or a sea letter) that was printed by the hundreds, if not thousands. Each president signed a big stack of these forms in advance to be distributed to the all the ports, where they would be filled out as needed by port officials.

Fast forward to 2010 when Barton was appearing as a regular guest on Beck's old show on FOX. I started making a series of videos that I called the "No, Mr. Beck ..." series, each video debunking a different lie that Barton had told on Beck's show, and posting them on HuffPo and in a few other places. One of these videos was titled "No, Mr. Beck, Jefferson Did Not Date His Documents 'In the Year of Our Lord Christ.'" (If you can't or don't want to watch the video, I included a transcription of it when I first posted it back in June 2010.)