Today, in The State of American Discourse, I present to you David Barton, religious ideologue, fantastical historian and weeping boil on the hide of Texas. No, he is not an entirely fringe crank. Barton is the former vice chair of the Texas Republican Party. He recently helped draft the ridiculous anachronism that is the current GOP platform. His latest book, "The Jefferson Lies," so distorted historical fact that its evangelical publisher pulled it.
We apologize for bringing his latest foible to your attention, but it's so vile, so incredibly noisome, that perhaps he will finally go away because of it. On his online radio show, "Wallbuilders Live," Barton aired out his febrile suspicions. He says he's had some "face time" with certain unnamed members of Congress. Roughly a year ago, he claims, the U.S. joined the U.N. in an "anti-blasphemy" resolution that would outlaw criticism of Islam.
Barton's argument is difficult to discern, but he seems to suggest that President Barack Obama left the U.S. embassy (I think he meant consulate) in Benghazi intentionally unguarded. And as the U.S. ambassador and others were slaughtered, Obama, he theorizes, told U.S forces to stand down. Barton surmises this was all a ploy intended to drive home the need for an anti-blasphemy resolution he claims we and "57 Islamic governments" already joined because...well, I just don't know.
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"So we're watching this thing develop, we watched four lives get lost and then what happens is we're told 'Oh, it's this video, we can't be criticizing Islam, this video that criticized Islam, it cost four people [their lives.]' This is the perfect set-up for the anti-blasphemy resolution that we joined on to and said we're going to be a part of. I think it backfired; I really think that's where they were headed."
Like the creative histories Barton pens, this one isn't any less mendacious. We joined a religious tolerance resolution last December condemning the stereotyping, racial profiling or stigmatizing of people based on their religion because, of course, that is a principle upon which this nation was founded. It's really more of an admonition to countries with a poor record of tolerance toward religious minorities. The more stringent, free-speech restricting anti-blasphemy resolution Barton refers to has received dwindling support in the United Nations, especially from Western countries like the U.S.
What are you supposed to do with this knowledge now, dear reader? I'm not sure. Despair at the fact that there are people out there who will accept David Barton's version of the world uncritically?