U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has announced that she plans to hold classes on the Constitution for new members of Congress – and she wants them taught by David Barton, a notorious Religious Right historical revisionist.
Barton, a Texas resident who runs an outfit called WallBuilders, argues that the United States was founded to be a “Christian nation” and that church-state separation is a myth. Although he poses as a historian, Barton holds only a degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University.
Recently, Barton’s fame has increased due to Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck, who has been featuring him on his program. (See “Unreality Show,” September 2010 Church & State.)
Bachmann has announced intentions to start a new Constitutional Conservative Caucus in the House of Representatives. She has already formed a Tea Party Caucus and says the new body will include speakers like Barton and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity.
Brook Bailke, Bachmann’s deputy chief of staff, told AOL News, “Topics ranging from the commerce clause to the intersection of constitutional principles with daily concerns such as Medicare will be covered.”
Barton and Bachmann have collaborated before. The Minnesota Independent reported that when Bachmann was a state senator, she invited Barton to Minnesota to offer input into the state’s history standards. She has also attended several of Barton’s “spiritual heritage” tours of Washington, D.C.
“Every week the hour before we take our first votes, we have our weekly class so that we are reminded of our constitutional jurisdictional limits,” Bachmann told Beck recently. Barton has many critics. Americans United has pointed out his frequent errors over the years, and he has also been debunked by mainstream historians.
Recently, an evangelical Christian filmmaker named Chris Pinto released a film challenging Barton’s view of history.
“The reason that men like David Barton want to take the Founders and go into churches and try and convince you that these guys were Christians is because they want you to become entangled in the politics of this world,” Pinto told Christianity Today.