featured a veritable cavalcade of Religious Right zealots. Jim Garlow, a pastor who chairs Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership group, was on hand alongside disgraced former Christian Coalition wunderkind Ralph Reed and even Pastor John Hagee, who remains as convinced as ever that the world is about to end any day now.)
What’s the harm in the Beck-Barton bogus history onslaught? Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which has been monitoring [David Barton, a Texas-based Religious Right activist and self-styled historian] since the early 1990s, says the Religious Right activist has several goals. One is to destroy public respect for church-state separation. Barton hopes to persuade people that separation of church and state is something foreign to the founders. If he’s successful, people will be more supportive of Religious Right candidates for office and more outraged when church-state separation is upheld by the courts and other arms of government.
“The bogus, self-appointed ‘historians’ of the Religious Right have one objective: to turn the American people against church-state separation,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “They’re twisting history into knots, and we can’t let them get away with it.”
The Rev. J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said Barton’s patchwork history has appeal among certain conservative Christians who believe American society is adrift.
The threat of the Barton-Beck approach, Walker said, is that it creates the impression that fundamentalist Christianity once had some type of special status with the government and deserves that again. The clear implication is that other types of believers or non-believers are second-class citizens.
“It is dangerous because it impugns religious liberty for Christians as well as non-Christians,” Walker said. “If anyone’s religious liberty is denied, everyone’s is threatened.” Americans United