|The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State|
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Using this index, it is easy to counter the myths that have evolved because the Religious Right has depended so heavily on David Barton's misinterpretations of history. The following links will take you quickly to well-researched facts (including source citations) and commentary.
Respected scholars, regardless of their position on this matter, cite the works of other scholars and primary sources, etc in their footnotes and end notes. Perhaps, the biggest condemnation of Barton and his work is that rarely, if ever, do respected scholars cite any of his publications as any kind of source. Even those respected scholars who basically agree with his position rarely, if ever, cite any of his publications. They don't want to connect their names to his, because of his reputation for shoddy research, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, etc.
Misquoting by the Religious Right
Is it true that Madison said "Our future is staked on the 10 commandments?"
Is it true that Madison said "Religion is the foundation of government?"
Barton is famous for misrepresenting the facts of court cases, court decisions, meaning and impact of such court cases, etc. Below is just one of many such examples.
Did the Supreme Court of New York, in an 1811 decision, ever say that the First Amendment was "never meant to withdraw religion...from all consideration and notice of the law?"
Did John Quincy Adams ever say that the American Revolution "connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity?"
Thomas Jefferson actually said that the wall of separation between church and state was "one directional."
The Northwest Ordinance proves that the First Amendment did not separate church and state.
Thomas Jefferson supported Bible reading in school; this is proven by his service as the first president of the Washington, D.C. public schools, which used the Bible and Watt's Hymns as textbooks for reading.
The Supreme Court has Declared that the United States is a Christian Nation.
How often did the founders quote the Bible?
Jefferson's Danbury letter was written merely to assure Connecticut Baptists that the Constitution did not permit the establishment of a national denomination.
Jefferson's Danbury letter was written to address the Danbury Baptists' fears that the First Amendment might be misinterpreted.
Jefferson's letter to Benjamin Rush shows that Jefferson was a non-preferentialist.
Did Montesquieu base his theory of separation of powers on the Bible?
Some thoughts on religion and law, with references to Barton's views.
By Jim Spivey, Assistant Professor of Church History at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A graduate of Auburn University (B.A.) Southwestern Seminary (M. Div.) and Oxford University (D. Phil.), he has served on the Southwestern faculty since 1987. He is a chaplain in the U.S. Army. His article, "Separation: No Myth" is a strong statement in favor of total separation of church and state, from a historical, religious, Baptist point of view. His article strongly endorses the traditional meaning given to Jefferson's "wall of separation" metaphor, and points out why those like David Barton are doing more harm then good.
SEE: This article is presently unavailable on the Web. We are trying to obtain permission to republish it.
As additional errors and misrepresentation are found they will be added to this section