The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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Barton Is at it Again

Unfortunately David Barton just keeps bumbling through his own private and highly fallacious rewrite of American history. Barton's remarks during an appearance on the 700 Club during the summer of 2002 sparked the following email I received from Glen Goffin. The 700 Club transcript of those remarks can be reviewed at "David Barton on the Foundations of American Freedom"

by Jim Allison

A Reply to "David Barton on the Foundations of American Freedom"

Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 14:24:39 -0400

To: jalison
From: "Glen P. Goffin"
Subject: Re: Must read(Cont.)

[Glen writes]

This is pathetic. So is anyone who believes anything that Barton says without verifying his every word.

[from 700 Club appearance]

Pat Robertson: You always inspire us. The question is asked, was America founded as a Christian nation? We have said yes, yes, yes. But you have the proof.
David Barton: There is a lot of proof. Not the least of which is a great 4th of July speech that was given in 1737 ...[/b]

[Glen writes]

(Nice trick!) J.Q. Adams wasn't born until July 11, 1767. (John Adams, his father, was only two years old in 1737. Of course it could be a transcription error like those that can be established in so many other Christian documents.)

David Barton:. . . by one of the guys who fought in the revolution, . . .

[Glen writes]

(Another nice trick!) He [JQA] traveled to Europe with his father in 1777 and didn't return until 1785. I guess that means he was 10 years old or younger when he fought in the revolution. He did "observe" the activity at Bunker Hill...if you can believe the White House history.

(Extract) from the White House History on John Quincy Adams

Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from the top of Penn's Hill above the family farm.

[b]David Barton: who became a president, John Quincy Adams. (Omission)... So this is a guy who fought in it, and all these years later he is saying, we did this as a Christian nation. The Declaration of Independence formed all of the principles of Christianity into our form of government. They said that on a regular basis, and it was they who said it was a Christian nation.

[Glen writes]

xxxxx Who, exactly, is this "they?"

[b]Pat Robertson: . . . He was the son of John Adams, who was very instrumental in the Declaration of Independence. It was Jefferson who penned it, but Adams was right there in all those debates and deliberations. He was probably the preeminent member of that deliberative body.

David Barton: John Adams was really the key decision-maker behind the scenes. He's the guy who convinced everybody else that it should be George Washington as Commander in Chief instead of Charles Lee. He's the guy who convinced everybody else that Jefferson ought to be the chief writer of the Declaration. Adams persuaded everyone else, and Jefferson said Adams is the guy who best aticulated the principles. And it is interesting, too, that on the day they approved the Declaration, John Adams said that the Fourth of July should be celebrated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.

Pat Robertson: He said that?

David Barton: He said that. He said that it should be a religious holiday. The Fourth of July should be a time when we stop and say thank you God for what you have done in this nation.[/b]

[Glen writes]

xxxxx Yup! This is what he "WROTE"... and to whom.

John Adams to Abigail Adams

3 July 1776:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.

Pat Robertson: When we had a revolution to free ourselves from Great Britain there was a motto. What was that motto?

David Barton: The motto that was often used, it showed up in the Vermont Legislature, and it was, "No king but King Jesus." It was built actually on what Jefferson and Franklin had proposed as the national motto, which is, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." [/b]

[Glen writes]

xxxxx (Yikes!) see

[Editor's note: see below for more discussion on the motto

[Glen writes]

(Omission) [Here's what this is all about]

Pat Robertson: David, you've studied all of this. Doesn't it break your heart to see what these courts are doing to strip our religious heritage?

David Barton: It is amazing because that kind of decision has far-reaching repercussions. But on the other side, it's an indictment of ourselves. We have judges that are there only because elected people put them there. We have 60 million evangelicals in America, and only 15 million voted last election. Forty-five million didn't vote, and 24 million aren't registered to vote. We lost our five Senators by a collective total of 100,000 votes in five states, and yet 45 million Christians didn't vote in those states in that election. So if we want to see judges change we have to turn out this November and elect god-fearing guys to the Senate and get this stuff changed and going in a different direction. [/b]

[Glen writes]

The rest of this the Robertson-Barton dialogue serves only one purpose... propaganda brainwashing/conditioning. It is frustrating and very scary to realize that this kind of outright, selective, rewrite of history is actually believed by so many Americans because they desperately need the reassurance that they aren't worshipping a false God/prophet. Yet here is one of the biggest Pied Piper liars to come along in decades filling the gullible with nonsense history in order to advance his personal power base, political influence and bank account.


(Extract from

To suggest that America's Founding Fathers envisioned a society built on the premise that "We have no king but Jesus" is challenged by many scholars. According to historians of the revolutionary era, many of the Founding Fathers staunchly opposed any sectarian creed as the basis for the new country, as is reflected in the First Amendment and in the public statements and writings of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Tom Paine and others.

"Their prevailing faith was deism, a belief that God presided over the universe and had a providential interest in mankind," wrote historian Thomas Fleming. "But He was not a personal God in the vivid way Jesus is presented in the Gospels." [See American Dispatches, Feb. 2000, or's archives.]

(End extract)

And some accurate history.

What few folks seem not to know about the "Treaty with Tripoli" is that President Adams, after signing, added a personal statement to it.


Saturday June 10, 1797

President John Adams signed the treaty into law on this date and issued the following proclamation:

"Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all others citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfil the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof."

The full treaty and the proclamation (above) was printed in at least two Philadelphia newspapers of the day and at least one New York Newspaper of the day.

("Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States," edited by Hunter Miller, vol. 2, 1776-1818. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931, p. 383)

End of Email to me from "Glen P. Goffin"

Some additional discussion on the "motto"

I was sent the following copied email by Catharine Cookson, J.D., Ph.D., the Director of The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach, Va, January 16, 2001.

She wrote

I read this on a list serv today and thought I'd pass it on--the language, to me, seems odd for that time period. I didn't think that they were into the "Jesus" language then, that that was a second great awakening, 19th century characteristic....?

----- Original Message -----

From: "Christopher Waldrep"
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2001 9:59 PM
Subject: [H-Law] "No King But Jesus"? (Tushnet)

From: "Mark Tushnet"

According to the New York Times, in his speech at Bob Jones University, then-Sen. Ashcroft said, "A slogan of the American Revolution, which was so distressing to the emissaries of the king that it was found in correspondence sent back to England, was the line 'we have no king but Jesus.'" Can anybody describe the context of the slogan (who said it, etc.), and a reference to the correspondence to which Ashcroft refers?

Mark Tushnet

I sent this back to her

Subject: Jesus is not my king, or the king of many American citizens.
From: "Robert E. Nordlander"
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 01:23:43 -0600

Originally To: Joseph Farah, Inc.
PO Box 409 - Cave Junction, OR 97523-0409
(541) 597-1776 or FAX: (541) 597-1700
From Carol Smith

In your article at

It is apparent that you have not well researched the origin of "No King but Jesus" Slogan.

In your neglect, you have insulted every American citizen who doesn't consider Jesus a king of any kind, no less their own personal king. You have insulted Unitarians, Muslims, Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Ethical Culturists, Deists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, Atheists,

But I doubt you would acknowledge this because it doesn't serve your agenda.

As you know Mr. Ashcroft began his Bob Jones speech by citing what he claimed was "a slogan of the American Revolution", supposedly directed by the patriots at George III's emissaries--that "we have no King but Jesus". He repeated that view under questioning by Arlen Specter before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 17.

Which is all very interesting but highly misleading. The line Mr. Ashcroft quoted is best known as the slogan of a radical religious sect of the 17th century English Revolution, the Fifth Monarchy Men.

The Fifth Monarchists took their name from the biblical prophecy in the Book of Daniel that four successive monarchies would precede the coming of an eternal kingdom. Like other millenarians of the time, they believed that, following the execution of Charles I in 1649, the Fifth Monarchy was nigh, and that its King would be Jesus.

"The Fifth Monarchists", writes B. S. Capp, the leading scholarly authority on the group, "were a political and religious sect expecting the immanent Kingdom of Christ on Earth, a theocratic regime in which the saints would establish a godly discipline over the unregenerate masses and prepare for the Second Coming".

Crushed by the royalist restoration in 1660, the Fifth Monarchy Men faded into oblivion. Their beliefs survived in the radical plebeian English underground, and popped up here and there in the colonies. But their battlecry--"No King but King Jesus"--was hardly "a slogan of the American Revolution", along the lines of "no taxation without representation", or "give me liberty or give me death". No major patriot leader took the Fifth Monarchist line. In his Bob Jones address, Mr. Ashcroft confused his centuries, his slogans--and his revolutions. And you have repeated his error.

Ashcroft also mistakenly implied that the Declaration of Independence was a Christian text. The "no king but Jesus" motto, he said at Bob Jones, eventually turned up in what he called our nation's "fundamental documents." After all, he noted, the Declaration spoke of rights "endowed by [the] Creator".

The uncomfortable historical fact is that the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was a deist, who doubted the divinity (let along the kingship) of Jesus. But no matter: to Mr. Ashcroft, the Creator could only mean Christ. "America has been different", he explained. "We have no king but Jesus."

No one, anymore, expects our public officials to be well-versed in history (although maybe we should). But for a prospective attorney general to endorse the motto of an old English theocratic sect--to proclaim it, mistakenly, as a motto of our Revolution and, indeed, of our nation--is troubling. And it is no less troubling for that same man.

To suggest that Jefferson's Declaration of Independence conveyed some deep Christian or theological message is ridiculous. The Constitution upon which our government is founded is a godless Constitution.

John Ashcroft is wrong. In America, we have no king. Period. That is what the Revolution achieved--not the vaunting of Jesus Christ. In his speech at Bob Jones University, Mr. Ashcroft asserted the opposite view. Senators considering Mr. Ashcroft's nomination as attorney-general should ask him to explain himself.

You have insulted every American citizen who doesn't consider Jesus their king or a king at all.

Carol Smith

Milwaukee, WI

Additional information on this topic

David Barton Strikes Again, Reactionary Propagandist Maligns James Madison; Tues., Oct. 15, 2002


[1] Barton's essay, "James Madison and Religion in Public, " is available here:

[2] The relevant excerpts from Madison's "detached memoranda" are available here:

[3] The Virginia Declaration of Rights is available here:

[4] Jefferson's original draft of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, here: ee.html

[5] The version of the statute Madison saw through to adoption is here: ml

[6] The entire text of Madison's Memorial & Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments is available here:

[7] The relevant portion of the July 10, 1822 letter can be found here: l

[8] The Livingston letter, referenced in note 7, also details these points.

[9] ...and it is, indeed, a LONG history. Here are some sources with the dope on the fraudulent Mr. Barton: which is part of a site with a long index of articles debunking Barton, here: [and here:]

Another long series of articles on Barton and his phony "scholarship" is available here:

A indepth look at :"James Madison, Sean Hannity, & the Question of Congressional Chaplains" can be found at

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