Yesterday, in an April 14, 2015 Huffington Post blog post, I covered Senator Marco Rubio's close ties to the Miami, Florida megachurch Christ Fellowship, which boasts an anti-gay hiring policy and whose head pastor, Rick Blackwood -- whose sermons Rubio says he specifically goes to the church to hear -- rejects Darwin's theory of evolution and promotes exorcism and Young Earth creationism. But Christ Fellowship is not overtly political. Enter David Barton.
Barton claims the Constitution is based on the Bible, maintains that the separation of church and state is a myth, says Jesus opposed the minimum wage, and has published writing that appears to endorse "biblical slavery" for non-Christians.
And in 2010 Barton helped rally the dominionist Christian right behind Marco Rubio and so loft Rubio to the United States Senate, from which perch Rubio has now launched a presidential bid.
In 2010, a febrile, Koch brothers-financed, Christian right activist-led political spasm known as the "Tea Party" swept the land.
And, Christian right presidential hopefuls such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee began to maneuver in advance of the 2012 election. In March 2010 at the annual, arch-conservative CPAC convention in Washington D.C., Huckabee quipped that all Americans should be forced to listen to David Barton's version of American history -- at gunpoint if necessary.
The ensuing controversy failed to deter Marco Rubio. Quite the contrary. Up onstage at a September 15, 2010 Longwood, Florida political rally, candidate Marco Rubio appeared for a heartfelt endorsement from former vice chair of the Texas GOP and pseudo-historian David Barton. To hammer home the point Barton then posted a special 5 minute, 52 second video endorsement of Rubio.
Barton and Rubio were the main attractions at the September 15th rally according to advance publicity, with Barton billed as a "constitutional scholar."
Little more than a month later Barton's close friend, New Apostolic Reformation prophet Cindy Jacobs, would release a prophecy forecasting the rise of a church-based third major political party led by "righteous" politicians such as Marco Rubio. Jacobs teaches that Dominionist Christians have the God-given mandate to "subdue," "make subservient," and "bring into bondage" all unbelievers.
The dual September 15th appearance by Rubio and Barton was almost unnoticed* by media, except for, most prominently, coverage from Talking Points Memo reporter Brian Beutler, who noted that Barton had just helped orchestrate a wildly controversial religious right campaign to revise Texas textbook standards.
Less than a year later, Barton began publicly promoting the New Apostolic Reformation's "7 Mountains" dominionist program, which advocates that charismatic Christians should, as NAR apostle Thomas Muthee outlined shortly before blessing and anointing Sarah Palin in a 2005 ceremony, "invade... infiltrate" seven key sectors of society: government, business, media, education, arts and entertainment, religion, and the family.
Among his many distinctives, Barton has become known for his claim that the authors of the United States Constitution derived key concepts in the document from the Bible, including from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
And Barton's Wallbuilders website features writing, from a board member of Barton's Wallbuilders nonprofit, that appears to endorse "biblical slavery" and features extensive citation of the writing of Rousas J. Rushdoony, the founder of the theocratic movement known as Christian Reconstructionism.
Christian Reconstructionism advocates a radical laissez-faire form of Christian libertarianism that would include the institution of the death penalty for a range of offenses -- such as adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, blasphemy, and witchcraft, and even legalize some forms of human slavery.
David Barton once appeared in a Time magazine special feature on the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals In America." But his star dimmed greatly in 2012 when the evangelical right publisher Thomas Nelson yanked from bookstore shelves David Barton's new 2012 book The Jefferson Lies due to numerous factual inaccuracies.
Barton's book had been selected by the History News Network as the "least credible history book in print." In addition, Barton has been publicly identified, by historian and Military Religious Freedom Foundation head researcher Chris Rodda, as a "liar for Jesus." Barton has not chosen to contest the characterization.
Despite such pushback, Barton has nonetheless inspired an entire generation of religious right activists with his claims that America was founded as an expressly Christian nation, and through his promotion of the myth that the great crime wave which began to sweep the nation in the 1970s and peaked in the early 1990s happened because of two key U.S. Supreme Court decisions [1, 2] that in the early 1960s banned sectarian Bible lessons in public schools and eliminated mandatory school prayer.
In his little known 1988 book America: To Pray or Not To Pray, almost unnoticed by secular society but wildly influential among the leadership of the emerging religious right movement, Barton laid out his thesis -- that those two Supreme Court decisions incurred the wrath of God and so triggered a great wave of social dysfunction featuring rising crime, divorce, and teen pregnancy rates (most of the trends cited by Barton began to reverse between the late 1980s and the early 1990s.)
David Barton enjoys a close working relationship with the Christian supremacist apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation, whose dominionist agenda that calls on believers to "rule as kings", finally gained some mainstream media notice in 2011 after a prayer rally, dominated by NAR apostles and prophets, that kicked off Texas governor Rick Perry's 2012 presidential bid.
Top NAR leaders advocate burning books and scripture (including books of Mormon), and destroying religious relics associated with Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
Barton's relationship with NAR apostle and prophet Cindy Jacobs traces back almost three decades, according to Jacobs 1991 dominionist manifesto Possessing the Gates of the Enemy: A Training Manual for Militant Intercession.
Cindy Jacobs now heads a key NAR body called the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. ACPE's several dozen prophets are empowered to receive messages directly from God, and their pronouncements can have the force of existing biblical scripture and, in effect, add new scripture to the Bible.
ACPE members include members such as TheCall head Lou Engle and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., who have helped lead, from Washington, D.C., to California, to Uganda, the religious right's ongoing war on LGBT rights.
In her 2008 book The Reformation Manifesto, Cindy Jacobs provided a template for Christian world domination and argued that,
"According to Genesis 1:28, we should do these things as stewards of the earth:
1. Be fruitful and multiply: 'to be or grow great; ... to make large, enlarge, increase'
2. Fill the earth: 'to fill, be full .... to consecrate'
3. Subdue: 'to subject, subdue; ... make subservient;' 'bring into bondage'
4. Have dominion: 'rule, subjugate.' "
David Barton was advertised, along with ACPE members Cindy Jacobs and Harry Jackson, Jr. as a featured speaker at the 2009 New Apostolic Reformation event, at a Cedar Hills, TX megachurch, titled "Convergence 2009: Raise Up An Army," with the byline title "Come Prepare For Battle."
2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz has also been heartily endorsed by David Barton, who, along with Cruz' father Rafael Cruz, blessed and anointed U.S. Senator Cruz in a 2013 ceremony. Cruz, whose association with the movement is if anything even closer than Marco Rubio's, emerged from the heart of the dominionist Christian right.
*Jim Stratton, writing for the Orlando Sentinel, covered the Barton/Rubio rally, which was also featured in a September 18, 2010 story published by the Examiner.com. Christian Reconstructionism scholar Julie Ingersol also mentioned the event, in a short post at Religion Dispatches.
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