Monday, February 16, 2015

Throckmorton: "David Barton on Real Life with Jack Hibbs: Did the University of Virginia Have Chaplains?"

Check it out here. A taste:
While it is true that the University of Virginia eventually created a chaplain position, this was not the case from the beginning of the school. Originally, UVA did not employ chaplains. Barton doesn’t tell you that scholars are concerned with the founding of the school and no academic historian I am aware of disputes that the school eventually added chaplains.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Warren appears to be correct but this obsession with Barton is less like Captain Ahab and the Whale and more like Javert hunting down Valjean for the theft of a loaf of bread.

At about 22 minutes into the video, Barton accuses others of using history to support an agenda.

Jeez, a psychology professor from a small Christian college poring over every minute of what David Barton says anywhere is quite psychological.

At some point it's not about history anymore, or even politics.

As to the history part, in 1829, as rector of the U of VA after Jefferson's death, Madison is still fighting the chaplain battle he lost with the US Congress.

I'm sympathetic to Madison's position, that chaplains are fine but should be paid by their churches and congregants, but the interesting part here is the obsession with loaves of bread as though they were great white whales.

Art Deco said...

Jeez, a psychology professor from a small Christian college poring over every minute of what David Barton says anywhere is quite psychological.

It's a diversion between bouts of cold calling around to get other people's speaking engagements cancelled.

Tom Van Dyke said...


Over at Warren's website, someone just posted a link to Barton's response to Throckmorton's jihad on him.

Consider, for instance, a message received by the publisher of
another of my works, The Founders Bible, who reported:

"About a month ago, I started to get hounded by Throckmorton via email and on our website. He even called my former publishing partner and ended up issuing a warning and a threat. Warren “warned” that he had assembled a coalition of people, supposed conservative Christians, who were mounting a campaign against
David. If we intended to publish The Founders’ Bible, anyone associated with Barton was likely to suffer financially, because they were going to come against him. Sort of hit me blindside."

Why does a Christian psychology professor take such an interest in my work?

Barton's side is worth reading. Without defending him chapter and verse, my take has always been that of 100 factual assertions, his critics will grab the handful he screws up, and use it as a blanket condemnation of him as a "liar."

For instance, the Kaskaskia Indians factoid--which I think Barton's wrong about--becomes cause to destroy him:

Many of Throckmorton’s criticisms of my work overemphasize the significance of
certain limited claims or are simply a matter of semantics. Consider, for instance,
Throckmorton’s complaint about a reference I made to Jefferson’s role in the 1803 treaty
with the Kaskaskia tribe:

"Another key claim related to spreading the Gospel to Indians in The Jefferson Lies
is Barton’s assertion that Jefferson negotiated and signed “a treaty with the
Kaskaskia Indians that directly funded Christian missionaries, and provided
federal funding to help erect a church building in which they might worship.”37

Notice that Throckmorton describes the reference to Jefferson and the Kaskaskia treaty
as a “key claim” in The Jefferson Lies.

But this brief reference was only one piece of
evidence presented in a chapter arguing that Jefferson did not support an absolute
separation between church and state. In fact, the treaty was just one item from a list of
more than a dozen similar ones; so even if the reference to this treaty were completely
removed, the overall point made in the chapter remains unaltered.
In fact, I make only one brief reference to this treaty in chapter 5, and of my book’s
6,417 lines, only 16 concern this treaty. In other words, it is hardly a “key claim.” Many
of Throckmorton’s criticisms are of this nature. He regularly insists on ignoring the major
point under discussion and instead.

This has always been my objection to the people who expend so much energy going after Barton. Hunting for error is not the same thing as searching for truth.

Art Deco said...

I suppose a vaguely amusing example of this is that Paul Zummo, who actually is a Jefferson scholar, contented himself with a 1,500 word review of Barton's book. Michael Coulter who (like Zummo) works in the literary / historical wing of political science but who subspecialization is Locke, elects to be a junior co-author of a book attacking Barton. Warren Throckmorton, who is the issue of vocational professional faculties and has scanty background in academic social research of any kind seems to have made a three year long avocation out of attacking Barton (in between bouts of attacking David Whitney, et al).