Meet the Religious Right Charlatan Who Teaches Tea Party America The Totally Pretend History They Want to Hear
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Barton claims a biblical basis for other Tea Party notions such as a call for a return to the gold standard (floating exchange rates reflect moral relativism applied to economic policy) and opposition to welfare programs (he says the earliest American colonies survived only by enforcing the biblical injunction that if a man will not work he will not eat). The Federal Reserve System, he says, violates biblical principles of competition and transparency. He argues that the kind of government social programs undertaken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt were wrong from a biblical standpoint, because the Bible says taking care of the poor is the job of the church and the individual, not the government.
And he promotes a Tea Partier’s radical view of the Constitution, key constitutional amendments, and limitations on federal authority to address issues facing the nation.“ Congress can do 18 things and that’s all,” he says. He decries the way that post-Civil War amendments have been used to alter the relationship between state and national governments. On the DVD Making the Constitution Obsolete he decries the “perversion of the 14th Amendment” by the courts, meaning their application to any issue other than slavery. He says the south was wrong on slavery but right on states’ rights. He complains that the courts have “abused the process” and thus “completely revolutionized America.”
Barton is an unabashed partisan. He was vice-chair of the Texas Republican Party from 1997-2006 and has recently helped Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Religious Right favorite, peddle his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.
Barton tells pastors that the GOP is their “logical home if you’re concerned about Biblical issues” since “it’s very clear in the party platforms that one party does support traditional marriage and opposes abortion and supports school prayer -- and the other opposes that.”
Barton excoriates Christians who don’t share his enthusiasm for politics, saying that Jesus’ admonition to render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s requires Christians to take responsibility for their government. And Barton warns that God will hold them accountable for choosing the wrong candidate, consistently telling voters that they will “answer to God” for their votes, saying “righteousness must be the issue.” In 2006, he told conservatives at a political rally in Ohio, "Take your Sunday school class to vote, and you’ve got to start breaking fingers if they don’t.”
On the other hand, Barton understands that in politics you don’t often get perfect candidates. When it comes to elective politics, Barton argues for incrementalism rather than ideological purity or third party politics. He tells voters that it makes sense to support a candidate you agree with 70 percent of the time if the alternative is someone you agree with only 20 percent. Barton claims biblical authority for this principle by quoting God telling the Israelites in Deuteronomy that he would not give them the Promised Land all at once.
National GOP leaders have in increasingly tapped his proven ability to excite conservative evangelical voters with his attacks on church-state separation, liberal judges, and the like. In 2004, Barton traveled across the nation to help George W. Bush’s re-election bid:
"He could take a crowd that wasn't particularly political, that didn't understand how they could make a difference, that didn't understand how the issues that mattered to them played a part in politics, and motivate them to go out and work in their communities," said Blaise Hazelwood, who served as the Republican National Committee's political director during the campaign. "He's incredibly talented at doing that."