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Hey Glenn Beck, Our Constitution is Not Based on the Bible

Glenn Beck keeps insisting that the Constitution is based on the Christian Bible, backed up by a fraudulent interpretation of an historian's 1984 study. Debunking below.

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Lutz chart 3

Here's what Lutz wrote about this.

"The Bible's prominence disappears, which is not surprising since the debate centered upon specific institutions about which the Bible has little to say. The Anti-Federalists do drag it in with respect to basic principles of government, but the Federalists' inclination to Enlightenment rationalism is most evident here in their failure to consider the Bible relevant."

But omitting pesky little parts of the study like this one, and merely misrepresenting the study's 34% Bible citation figure wasn't good enough for David Barton, so he found a way to inflate that figure, making a whopping 94% of the quotes used by the founders come from the Bible. How did he do this? Well, he took the other sources listed in the study, like Montesquieu, Blackstone, and Locke, and then claimed that because some of these other sources "derived their ideas from the Bible," the founders were indirectly quoting the Bible when they cited these other sources. Barton somehow determined by this method that an additional 60% of the citations in Lutz's study came from the Bible, added this 60% to the already misrepresented 34% from the actual study, and, voilà, 94% of all quotes used by the founders came from the Bible.

In his article, Lutz said that more of the biblical citations he found came from the Book of Deuteronomy than any other book in the Bible, which is why Glenn Beck said that Deuteronomy is "the most quoted out of any of our founding documents." But, besides all those quotes from Deuteronomy, Barton, in his "study," added things like the founders getting the idea for the concept of the separation of powers from the Book of Isaiah, because Isaiah 33:22 says, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, and the Lord is our king." So, there you have it: three branches of government, and they're all "the Lord." He's the judge, the lawgiver, and the king. It's exactly the same as our government -- except for that pesky checks and balances thing, and that minor detail of not having a king who controlled everything.

Barton first published published his "findings" in his 1988 book The Myth of Separation, and repeated it in one of his videos, and from there it spread. Here's Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana using Barton's 94% statistic and other claims in the House of Representatives back in 1993, citing Barton's book nearly verbatim.

Now, I haven't heard Barton use his pumped up 94% statistic in a while, but this really doesn't matter because once Barton puts something out there it takes on a life of its own, and continues to be used whether Barton himself is still using it or not.

In April 2007, it showed up in an article on WorldNetDaily titled Bringing the Bible Back Into Public Schools, by Chuck Norris, a board member and spokesman for the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools (NCBCPS). Norris was regurgitating the even more distorted version of Barton's claim about the Lutz study that's found on the NCBCPS website's "Founding Fathers" page. The NCBCPS people claim that it was actually the Lutz study, not David Barton, that "found that 94% of the documents that went into the Founding era were based on the Bible," and that it's not just that 34% of the citations Lutz found were from the Bible, but that "34% of the contents" of these documents "were direct quotations from the Bible." This is what I mean by Barton's lies taking on a life of their own. It's like a game of what I call "fundy telephone." Barton puts out the original lie, and it gets repeated over and over for years -- in this case over two decades -- eventually becoming an even bigger lie than Barton started.