Anyone familiar with Christian literature has heard of Thomas Nelson Publishers (TNP). And anyone familiar with the Christian role in American history has heard of David Barton.
The first paragraph of Wikipedia says of Barton:
“David Barton (born 1954) is an American evangelical Christian minister, conservative activist, and best-selling author. He founded WallBuilders, a Texas-based organization which advocates the view that U.S. constitutional separation of church and state was not supported by the founding fathers.
The next paragraph of the Wiki article cites Barton as guilty of “historical revisionism, pseudoscholarship and outright falsehoods.” These criticisms started over six years ago.
I looked up the references to those accusations and guess what. They are quotes from Arlen Specter (who proposed the repeal of the “defense of marriage act in 2009), The People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and get this: Paul Harvey. Not the Paul Harvey we all knew and loved, but a left-wing, counter-traditionalist, college professor who is the ideological opposite of David Barton. Here is a quote of Harvey’s from “Religious Dispatches'” magazine against the observation that Obama is the most anti-Christian president we’ve had:
News flash: we have plenty of arguments about religion and politics all through American history, including now, but there is no “war on religion” going on. Indeed, as the excellent historian John Fea has recently explained, Obama may be the most explicitly Christian president in American history…”
So, in essence, we have the revisionist left accusing David Barton of revisionism.
Now enter Warren Throckmorton, a college professor of psychology. He has taken up the cause of dissing the accuracy of Barton’s latest book, “The Jefferson Lies” published, until August 8th, by Thomas Nelson. Warren is joined by several others of the revisionist left who prefer to scrub American history of its Christian roots. HERE is Throckmorton’s critique.
These revisionist criticism of Barton’s latest book were enough for Thomas Nelson Publishers to revert publishing rights back to Barton and recall all TNP-published “The Jefferson Lies” books from local bookstores.
Needless to say, David Barton is defending his work. A portion of his defense is on a series of videos HERE. There is certain to be more to come.
Among Barton’s many defenses, are these:
- Thomas Nelson Publishers, who also edited the book, eliminated roughly 20% of the total manuscript submitted by Barton, much of which provided substantiating references to many of the facts being disputed by the critics.
- The critiques ignore the complex laws of Jefferson’s days which made it nearly impossible to free the slaves he inherited as a teenager due to the taxes and bonds required by the government for freed slaves, compounded by Jefferson’s relative poverty.
- The critics have their own agenda which causes them to shade the facts and revise history to support their own preconceived ideology. Common to most of them is the recurrent theme of liberal or apostate Christianity, a progressive, atheistic political bias, or a homosexual, counter-morality bias. Each of these predispositions attempt to justify their existence by devoting themselves to discredit those who promote the idea of Biblical moral absolutes. Moral standards, not too oddly, cause them a degree of discomfort.
Throckmorton has backed off of his former position promoting “gay reparative therapy”, a method of counseling homosexuals toward a normal gender orientation. His current position is explained HERE. While he **claims** to be a conservative Christian, he certainly does not allow his “conservative Christian” beliefs get in the way of his professional practice. In proclaiming he is NOT a gay reparative therapist, he states “My approach is to ask clients to explain the problem as they see it, clarify their objectives and then pursue those objectives by whatever means we agree are consistent with their values.” In essence, he is now “value neutral.”
His change of attitude is due in part to what is happeining to many Christian evangelical leaders: They are suffering from a watering down of their former faith - jettisoning their prior orthodox Christian beliefs to a more liberal, quasi-Christian position. In short, Throckmorton is in the process of separating himself from key doctrines of traditional Christianity and Biblical interpretation and filling the void with a bigger dose of his profession value-neutral psychotherapeutic dogma. This explains to me why he has devoted so much of his energy on David Barton.
To preserve his own secular professional paradigm, he has to engage in historical revisionism of the faith of America’s founding fathers. So now he has devoted a major chunk of his life to discrediting anyone who portrays that our nation’s founders were Christian, either orthodox or nominal. His professional allegiance now outstrips his Christian allegiance. He has found an avenue for doing this through David Barton. Yes, I am not a psychotherpist, just as Throckmorton is not a historian. I admit we are both motivated to exceed our skill sets to further our own agenda
So, in reaction to all of the above, below is my email to Thomas Nelson Publishers, and their reply back to me.
Dear Thomas Nelson Publishers:
I find I must avoid purchase of Thomas Nelson books in the future for one or more of the following reasons:
1) Unlike most major publishers, you have failed to vet the accuracy of the books you publish on American history, subjecting them to withering criticism from those not even versed in the field of American history; or
2) You chose to eliminate 20% of the detail of an author's factual submission and supporting documentation from the publication during your editing process, and later throw the author of the book under the bus in response to criticism of the lack of substantiation in the book that you edited;
3) You engage in the equivalent of BOOK BURNING by recalling the sale of a book by our nation’s premier author of the history of America’s founding fathers in response to complaints from those who have an opposing agenda and moral compass.
I find your company to have an intolerant and disrespectful attitude toward David Barton, that you breached your contract with him, and that I will be glad to see his new publisher become Mercury Arts.
I await your boilerplate reply to the above problems I note with your firm.
Here is the boilerplate reply from Thomas Nelson:
Friday, August 17, 2012 9:43 AM
Thank you for your inquiry and comments regarding The Jefferson Lies.
Because we have reverted the publishing rights back to Mr. Barton and no longer have ties to publishing that book, we can no longer comment or discuss the book, other than give you the company statement that we have already released publicly.
Below is the press release that was issued last week regarding the subject.
During the week of July 30th, Thomas Nelson made the decision to cease publication and distribution of The Jefferson Lies. The company was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about the book. We took all of those concerns seriously, tried to sort out matters of opinion or interpretation, and in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to cease its publication and distribution.
With warmest regards.
Help Request Details
Help Request ID: FMH-490-33938
Support Center: http://help.thomasnelson.com/index.php?
Yes, I’m sure the “regards” are very warm.