The Religious Right’s favorite wannabe historian is at it again – this time making some rather unusual claims about how tithing to a church will make your car run longer and your clothes more durable.
Barton, the Texas trickster who is famous for tall tales as tremendous as a ten-gallon hat, recently talked to Glenn Beck as part of his “Foundations of Freedom” series. During that chat, Barton opined that giving away 10 percent of your income will lead to some very specific (and very odd) blessings from God.
“So when you do it first thing off of the top, God can really bless that,” Barton surmised. “And I’ve seen that. We both tithe, we know the benefits of that, suddenly your cars go 200,000 miles rather than 80,000 miles, your clothes don’t wear out as fast. It’s what the Bible says, [the Israelites] went for 40 years and their sandals never wore out.”
Even by Barton’s standards, these comments are incredibly strange. And that’s saying something considering he once apparently made up a story about the time he worked as a translator for the Russian National Gymnastics Team in 1976.
Barton’s car may indeed have high mileage, but you can get that too. Just buy the right car and take care of it.
Forbes magazine compiled a list of cars a few years ago that “you can trust well beyond the 150,000-mile mark.” These included high-end sports cars like Porsches and other luxury vehicles likes Lexus, but the list also had some affordable American models – like the Ford Fusion Hybrid. In other words, it’s not exactly miraculous for a car to log 200,000 miles on its odometer these days.
Popular Mechanics even compiled a list of car owners whose vehicles have exceeded the one million mile mark. They drive all sorts of makes and models and the one thing they have in common is that they all take really good care of their cars.
As usual, Barton offered no evidence for his claims. He didn’t even tell Beck what kind of car he drives or give the exact mileage on it.
Barton’s statements about clothing are equally weird. Sure, the Bible does say that while the Israelites wondered in the desert for 40 years their sandals did not wear out, but it says nothing of them paying tithes in order to receive that benefit.
As for Barton’s clothes, who knows how long they last or why. But a good-quality suit should last many years with proper care. Some style gurus even suggest buying an extra pair of pants to get extended life from your suits. Whether or not God is your tailor, your wardrobe shouldn’t be wearing out every season if you invest a decent amount of money in it.
Of course Barton can believe what he wants about tithing and the Bible, and if he really thinks donating money to his church makes his car run better, that’s all right. What concerns us is that comments like this are indicative of the Barton opinion that pretty much everything in your life should fall under his narrow “biblical worldview” – including the government.
It’s alarming that a guy with these views and who has been accused of stretching the truth time and time again remains allied with politicians and is so beloved by the Religious Right. (Among Barton’s disciples is U.S. Sen Ted Cruz, a man who wants to be president and uses Barton as an advisor. And who can forget the time former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Americans should be forced to listen to Barton “at gunpoint”?)
Who knows what Barton’s end game is, but he remains close to powerful figures. As such he is dangerous and must be called out whenever he spins his webs of phony wisdom.