Iowa played host to two right-wing rodeos last weekend, the Conservative Principles Conference and the Rediscover God in America conference. While many of the GOP 2012 presidential hopefuls graced both stages, only at Rediscover God in America did they offer Americans two revealing facts: “America should be governed by biblical law,” and that discredited historian David Barton is a genius.
A former Texas GOP official, David Barton is a “Christian historical revisionist” who contends that “the United States of America is a Christian nation” and the separation of church and state is a “liberal myth.” He is also one of the most radical Tenthers in the country who believes the federal highway system is unconstitutional. So radical was his view that even the Tenth Amendment Center disavowed his federal highway theory.
Though he “holds no advanced degrees and does not teach at any legitimate institution,” Barton is no small figure in conservative politics. He was invited by Fox News host Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to teach as a “scholar” on American history. At the conference, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that “every time he hears Barton speak, he learns something new.” But Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla captured the most outrageous endorsement yet. Introduced by Barton, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) insisted that children need to be “under his tutelage” and said that every American should be forced “at gun point” to “listen to every David Barton message”:
HUCKABEE: I don’t know anyone in America who is a more effective communicator [than David Barton.] I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.
Unfortunately, American children are already reaping the benefit of such “tutelage.” Appointed by several State Boards of Education and governors to “oversee the writing of history and government standards for public school students,” Barton is revising history textbooks in multiple states. In Texas, he’s ensuring books exchange biographies of George Washington, Thurgood Marshall, and Abraham Lincoln for the role of Jesus “in America’s past.”
But those watching the webcast of the event might be shocked to learn of Huckabee’s comments. As the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Chris Rodda notes, the webcast of the event edited out the “forced at gunpoint” comments — which, incidentally, received enthusiastic applause.