The Real Jefferson Bible Story

Addendum: Summarizing all the comments below this post, it appears some of the “facts” that David Barton presents here are in question. One link on the third page of comments led to a page which says Barton took some of his comments from the work of someone else without going to the appropriate source document. That said, I did find evidence in an online copy of the Jefferson Bible (http://americanhistory.si.edu/JeffersonBible/the-book) of some of what Barton refers to. On pages 5 and 40 of the book there are verses that refer to Jesus healing on the Sabbath so it appears the record isn’t devoid of miracles and solely about the life and morals of Jesus. Page 67 also includes the second coming of the Son of Man which is clearly going far beyond merely talking about the morals of Jesus and into the supernatural aspects of Christ’s teachings. It does appear that Barton goofed on this, but looking at the actual record leads me to believe Jefferson must have had a level of belief beyond basic moral teachings of Jesus.

Second addendum: Someone emailed me this: “I think there may be some confusion about the fact that David Barton was speaking about several compilations that Thomas Jefferson did throughout his life.  I do not know if the version that he compiled for the missionaries to the Indians is available online.  I also noted one compiled in the mid 1700s and the one for Congress in 1802.  David did not claim that there were any miracles noted in that one, because its purpose was very specific to moral living.”

It would be interesting to have all versions and perhaps David Barton was referring to a different version.

Original post:

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Jefferson Bible, the one people say he took out the miracles of Jesus because he didn’t believe in that stuff. Glenn Beck interviewed David Barton this past week in one of the most fascinating segments I’ve heard. Here’s the video clip of the amazing true story about Jefferson’s belief in God and spending federal money to promote Christianity.

In a previous article I wrote entitled “Jefferson’s Jericho Wall of Separation,” I tried to show what I believe Jefferson’s real explanation was for the “wall of separation” letter he wrote to his Danbury Baptist friends. He respected the states so much that he didn’t interfere with them as president (the wall), yet at the federal level he recognized we had to have a moral people and he also wanted to bring Christianity to the Indians (perhaps in a way like national diplomacy). Printing full Bibles for distribution was a little expensive so he created a gospel harmony to shorten the Bible and provide a book which included the miracles, morals, and teachings of Jesus, and printed it up for distribution to the Indians. He built them a church and provided them with a preacher, from federal money. This video is a fascinating look at the real Thomas Jefferson and not the one we hear was some type of deist.

45 Responses to “The Real Jefferson Bible Story”

  • Anonymous:

    When Glenn Beck teaches history, it is nothing but the truth. ;)

  • Marjohna:

    Glenn sometimes gets things wrong, but he is always searching, unlike many who just decide what suits them and never hear anything contrary.  David Barton was doing the teaching in this clip and he is relentless in finding the documentation on everything he presents.

  • Scott:

    Glenn beck hosting David Barton is like accuracy squared!  Seriously, posting this stuff doesn’t do good things for your credibility. 

    I’ll sidestep the whole debate and ask: Even if this nation had been founded as christian (whatever that means), does that mean we should be a “christian nation” today?  The USA was founded as racist and sexist, based on a constitution that enshrined the rights of white males as residents of states. We’ve managed to overcome the foibles of our founders in those areas, who’s to say we’re not capable of overcoming religiosity?

  • Scott, watch the video and then disprove something. Have you read the Jefferson Bible? Probably not just as most of us. Have you heard that Jefferson was a deist and removed the miracles from the Jefferson Bible? Probably so just as most of us. The truth is presented in the video, but don’t let that stop you from commenting without seeking the truth. Just keep telling people Jefferson was a racist deist. What does the truth matter when you can tear down the Founding Fathers? Thanks for sharing your views.

  • Scott:

    I watched the video, I’m just able to parse it for nonsense. I’ve also read the bible (which is available on the Smithsonian Institution website).  But that’s all besides the point.  You seem to have missed the point of the comment.  I don’t think it matters all that much whether Jefferson was whatever you or I think he was.  Do you deny that the constitution contemplated slavery?  How about voting rights for black citizens or women? 

    The founders had some good ideas, but they’re hardly deserving of the worship lavished on them by those who would use their supposed beliefs to prop up their efforts to turn this country (or at least their chosen corner of it) into a christian theocracy. 

  • The 3/5ths clause was anti-slavery, not pro-slavery.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUVONzyPRhU

    The founders had some great ideas and are hardly deserving of the tearing down they are experiencing through the progressive education agenda.

  • Scott:

    Do you really thing that citing another Glenn Beck/David Barton video to refute my criticism of a Glenn Beck/David Barton video is going to be effective?

    Barton is a hack, and I’ve shared my thoughts on Glenn Beck before.  They aren’t scholars, nor do they make up for their lack of expertise with insightful analysis or anything else of worth. Posting these videos is a really sad version of the “appeal to authority” logical fallacy since they’re not actually authorities. It’s like people who quote the bible to atheists. 

  • Prove him wrong Scott. What evidence do you have instead of name calling? Barton has the source documents to make his case. What do you have?

  • Scott:

    I could post links to takedowns of Barton’s “scholarship” by actual historians (including christian historians) but would it matter?  You believe what you want to believe.  One can’t use evidence or logic to challenge beliefs that are not based on evidence or logic.  

    On the off chance it will make any difference (and my prior efforts re: Glenn Beck and Cleon Skousen should be evidence enough of the futility of the enterprise), I’ll post a few excerpts, including some by historians at christian colleges (to show that criticism isn’t limited to the secular academy):
    ———————————————————————————————————

    Paul Harvey, history professor at the University of Colorado:
    “I don’t question the necessity of pointing out Barton’s history of outright falsehoods, explaining the fallacies of his presentism (as in using a 1765 sermon or a 1792 congressional vote to show that the original intent of the founders was to oppose bailout and stimulus plans), and introducing to non-experts the abundant evidence calling his historical worldview of the Christian Founders into question. Yet while these kinds of refutations are necessary, they are not sufficient. That’s because Barton’s project is not fundamentally an historical one.That’s why historians’ takedown of his ahistorical approach ultimately won’t matter that much. Nor will historians’ explanations of his presentism, and his obvious and unapologetic ideological agenda (albeit considerably muted for his appearance on The Daily Show). While all the historians’ refutations are good and necessary, ultimately they won’t matter for the audience which exists in his alternate intellectual universe . . . .Some of that is because of the skill of Barton and his organization WallBuilders at ideological entrepreneurialism. Barton’s intent is not to produce “scholarship,” but to influence public policy. He simply is playing a different game than worrying about scholarly credibility, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. His game is to inundate public policy makers (including local and state education boards as well as Congress) with ideas packaged as products that will move policy.Historical scholarship moves slowly and carefully, usually shunning the public arena; Barton’s proof-texting, by contrast, supplies ready-made (if sometimes made-up) quotations ready for use in the latest public policy debate, whether they involve school prayer, abortion, the wonders of supply-side economics, the Defense of Marriage Act, or the capital gains tax. And Barton’s engagingly winsome personality, fully on display on The Daily Show, doesn’t hurt. He fires facts faster than they can be fought off, and he does so with a sort of Gomer Pyle sincerity that makes his critics look churlish.Besides this sort of organizational skill and personal charisma, however, Barton’s success at withstanding the phalanx of professional critics comes because he taps into a long history of “Christian Nation” providentialism.”———————————————————————————————————John Fea, chair of the history department at Messiah College, in an article titled “Should Christians trust David Barton?””In short, perhaps the best way to understand Barton is as a historical product of Christian providentialist thinking, one with significant historical roots and usually with a publicly convincing spokesman. He is the latest in a long line of ideologically persuasive spokesmen for preserving American’s Protestant character.”

    Barton claims to be a historian. He is not. He has just enough historical knowledge, and just enough charisma, to be very dangerous. During his appearance on The Daily Show, Barton impressed the faithful with his grasp of American history and his belief that Christians are being subtly persecuted in this country. But if you watch the show carefully, you will notice that Barton is a master at dodging controversial questions. He refuses to admit that sometimes history does not conform to our present-day political agendas…Here is the bottom line: Christians should think twice before they rely on David Barton for their understanding of the American founding. Let’s not confuse history with propaganda.”———————————————————————————————————Randall Stephens, a professor of history at Eastern Nazarene University, writes:

    “Nearly any trained historian worth his or her salt who takes a close look at Barton and his hyper-politicized work will see glaring gaps in what he writes and talks about. He dresses his founders in 21st-century garb. He’s not interested in knowing much about the history of colonial America or the US in the early republic. Why? Because he’s using history to craft a very specific, anti-statist, Christian nationalist, evangelical-victimization argument in the present. (Remember the many unconfirmed quotations Barton used in the 1990s? He did so because, first and foremost, he was trying to make a political point.)
    In history circles this is what we call ‘bad history.'”

  • Scott:

    But of course, I have the constitution.  Yes, I’ve actually read it.  It’s all the evidence one needs to show that while the founders were in some ways ahead of their time, they were also a product of it.  An honest assessment of their beliefs (christian, deist, or otherwise) and their lives is not “name calling.”  And even if it were “name calling,” white washing history in a misguided attempt to further a political cause is a far greater crime.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen to return to the 1700s, and I’m not even a woman, a black man, or gay.

    There are plenty of detailed, well-supported critiques of the various Barton stumping points.  If you care about intellectual integrity, you might consider checking them out. 

  • Thanks for the quotes Scott. I’m aware that some things have been called into dispute, but you’re just casting a blanket over Barton and Beck and saying if anything they’ve said has been proved inaccurate, then you can’t trust anything they say. I don’t trust John Goodlad and yet there’s a lot of what he says that I agree with. You’re just tossing these 2 under the bus and not even attempting to refute specific points.

    As for name calling, I was referring to you calling Barton a “hack.”

  • Anonymous:

    At some point, a person’s pattern of behavior can justify “casting a blanket.”  By now, in an effort to better-understand the opinions of friends and family, I’ve watched hours of Glenn Beck, read hundreds, if not thousands of pages of Cleon Skousen, and evaluated a host of claims by Barton.  On that basis, I have no problem whatsoever assuming (subject to rebuttal of course) that material that I haven’t so scrutinized is garbage.  I don’t bother to refute specific points because others who are better equipped have already done so, more accurately and effectively than I ever could, and the honest truth-seeker could readily find those refutations.  I also don’t bother because, as I mentioned above, I just don’t think it matters all that much.  Our problems (fiscal, cultural, or otherwise) won’t be solved by quote-mining the private correspondance of the drafters of our constitution.

    “Hack” actually wasn’t the best label.  There are others I might use instead, but they aren’t any more flattering.  I might start with “liar.”  It’s one thing to say false things out of ignorance, it’s another to obfuscate the truth or outright lie for financial (Glenn) or political (Barton) gain.  These are not honorable men on a mission to inform and educate the public, they are demagogues who use well-honed rhetorical tricks and tools to promote a financially, and politically profitable ideology.

    There are intelligent, well-reasoned arguments that support conservative positions on a host of subjects (admittedly, mostly secular, non social subjects).  Those arguments typically can’t, however, be heard on the Glenn Beck show, be read between the covers of a Cleon Skousen book, or be understood in the context of the nonsense that David Barton calls “historical research.”  At some point it becomes about the value of your time and what you’re trying to get out of the information you consume.  While yes, there are occasional truths to be found in the garbage (think of that old mormonad with the cockroach and the ice cream sundae, only in reverse), there are just so many better things you could be reading and watching.

    There’s also the matter of how you are perceived by others.  If you’re serious about your beliefs, and you want to have any credibility when sharing them with those around you who don’t already think the way you do (ie, most people), you should ground them in reality, or at the very least, something resembling truth.  The real problem, at least as I perceive it, is that reasonable sources just don’t support much of what your appear to believe.  That leaves you, and those like you, with two options: (1) hunker down and quote Ezra Taft Benson as an irrefutable (at least to you) authority, (2) honestly reexamine your assumptions and foundational beliefs.  One of these days, you really ought to try option #2.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

  • Anonymous:

    I should note that none of my commentary is intended to promote a particular ideology; I don’t have anything for sale.  That’s largely because solving society’s problems is hard, and I would be a fool if I said I had it all (or even a substantial part of it) figured out.  Less hard, however, is spotting wrong answers.  So while I can’t necessarily give you the right answers, I’m quite sure that Glenn Beck and David Barton (and Cleon Skousen for that matter) have the wrong answers.

  • Scott, I’m quite certain you haven’t followed Beck at all. A return to the principles upon which this country was founded would be the best thing we could do (and no I’m not talking about a return to slavery and women not voting). Beck has been promoting helping your neighbor, strengthening yourself morally and spiritually, and working at changing your own life. Those are exactly the things that need to happen in this country…a return to personal and public virtue. Everything else he does to expose people like Soros, Farrakan, and others is definitely part of showing the problems, but the solutions are going to be in changing our own lives and our families to be prepared by maintaining our faith, hope, and charity. That’s his major theme and I totally agree with it.

  • Anonymous:

    Sorry (no really, I am sorry; I could have done so many wonderful things instead), but I have followed him.  It may be true, however, that I’m not as good at wading through all the conspiracy nonsense to pick out generic platitudes like “helping your neighbor (unless he is muslim, gay, liberal, or atheist),” or “a return to my chosen interpretation of the principles (other than white male supremacy) upon which some people think this nation was founded.”
    It may have something to do with the fact that I want nothing to do with efforts to roll back years of progress in favor of some silly idealized version of 1950s (or 1790s) America.  I guess one man’s “return to the values of yesteryear” is another man’s “trip to Christian Iran.”  Tomato, tomato.

    The thing is, you don’t even have to see the world the way I do to recognize Beck and his ilk for what they are.  Their biggest critics are the reasonable conservatives and libertarians with whom they share the political stage.  You should consider setting down your pitchfork for a moment and opening the door to your commie-proof bunker; you might find that the edifice that Beck and Cleon have helped you build looks rather silly from the outside.  

    If the metaphors aren’t getting the message across, I could just resort to a string of 
    unequivocal statements:

    Wanting something to be true, even if you want it to be true REALLY BAD, doesn’t make it true.

    Burton is not a historian, and the overwhelming consensus among actual historians is that the version of history that he’s pushing is not accurate.  Reasonable people do not base their understanding of history on his “research.”  This is not a controversial statement, and if you want proof, it’s a mere google search away.

    Glenn Beck is not an oracle; he’s a morning zoo radio host who found a profitable niche peddling xenophobia and gold bars to people who lack the sense to question what they are buying.  Read his Forbes interview, look critically at how he profits from fear and misinformation.  This one is so obvious that it hardly needs a citation, and you should evaluate what blinders you have on that prevent you from recognizing this.

    Cleon Skousen was a pariah in his own time, but through the miracle of America’s short attention span he has been revived as some kind of anti-communist prophet (despite the rather obvious fact that we’re no longer living in 1965).  In the 80s, as part of a review of his work in the context of their use in California schools, the constitutional scholar Jack Rakove, of Stanford, inspected Skousen’s book and seminars and pronounced them “a joke that no self-respecting scholar would think is worth a warm pitcher of spit.”

    These are the pillars of sand upon which you have built your house?

  • Nice diatribe Scott. I don’t worship any of these people so my “house” isn’t built upon any of them. I’d guess since you follow Beck so closely that you would be aware that if you’d followed Beck’s advice back when gold was trading at $300 an ounce you’d have a pretty amazing return on your money. With the economic outlook as it is, you could still probably profit a lot since Obama and company are intent on destroying our economy.

    Rakove: Stanford Poly-sci, writes for the NY Times and Washington Post, and demeans Skousen. What a surprise. Skousen’s works are heavily footnoted as are Barton’s and Beck’s. Skousen’s textbook The Making of America is a very impressive work pulling lengthy quotes from the framers and the arguments they were discussing at the time of the creation of the constitution. Barton has more original documents than any collector in the U.S.  His research doesn’t have to be with a PhD behind his name in order to research and write about the Founders from their own letters and journals. Any of these men subject themselves to critical review by publishing something that others disagree with. I also just found some people saying some negative things about Rakove as well. Nobody writing history is without their share of critics.

    So back to the point. Do you dispute what Barton says about the Jefferson Bible and if so based on what? I’m not interested in debating anything else on this thread. I’d like to know what evidence you have that Barton is wrong with what he’s saying in the video.

  • Anonymous:

    I’ve actually read the Jefferson Bible.  Have you?  As someone with a more-than-passing familiarity with the New Testament, the changes are stark.  Can you imagine the reception a modern politician would receive from the Glenn Becks of the world if he cut the resurrection (to pick just one example) out of the bible with a razor in order to “strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests” and reduce it to moral teachings? The fact that Barton does a lot of hand waving and manages to come up with what you see as a plausible explanation doesn’t change the fact that Jefferson felt that the best place to end his bible was with Jesus lying dead in the tomb.

    As far as specific refutations, I’m sorry, I won’t do your research for you.  Not only because I don’t want to further legitimize the idea that Jefferson’s religious beliefs have consequences for modern fiscal policy (or whatever), but because if you really cared, you’d have done your own digging already.  You could use wikipedia as a starting point, it’s often a good resource for finding primary and secondary sources.

    But, of course, I’m quite sure you’ll do just enough research, from just the right sources, to validate your beliefs.  Skepticism is hard work.

  • Anonymous:

    David Barton is first and foremost an evangelical minister who dabbles in history from time to time.  He has been criticized numerous times by real history professors for shoddy research and lack of primary sources.  He has been called out for making up quotes by many of our Founding Fathers in the past.  Barton does provide plenty of fodder for those like Glenn Beck who search for validation of their preconceived ideologies.  A real historian allows the facts to shape belief, not the other way around.

    Thomas Jefferson is an interesting man.  He certainly dabbled in deist belief or thought. The editing done in the Jefferson bible is more evidence of T.J.’s deist experiments and his never ending quest to make sense of our world and God’s place in it.  I’m not trying to say that T.J. was a deist through and through because he also had Christian proclivities, but for hack historians trying to make the claim that T.J. was nothing more than a Christian is making a mockery out of Thomas Jefferson’s intellect and his complexities as a man.  Nobody really knows Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs because he didn’t even know himself.  He was searching for these answers for his entire life, just like all of us do.  

    Yes, Oak, I have read the Jefferson bible.  In fact, I’ve seen Jefferson’s library.  Better yet, I’ve actually had the opportunity to sift through actual primary source documents in a little room under the National Archives in Washington D.C.  I wonder if the hack, David Barton, has done that.

  • Well excellent. You’ve both read the Jefferson Bible and now perhaps we can return to exactly what you’ve now talking about.  Lets arrive at the truth of Barton’s statement and tell us now if the miracles of Jesus are present in the Bible or not. Your first posts could have saved a lot of typing if you simply confirmed or denied the truth of this singular point in the article. Then you could have said, “it’s not there and Barton made it up like he does everything else,” or perhaps, “it’s there, even though on numerous other occasions Barton gets his history wrong.” Which is it?

  • Marjohna:

    David Barton footnotes his works to researchable documentary history and is clear about his underlying beliefs in what he says and presents.  He corrects himself when he finds an error.  Too many modern historians mostly note their work to each other and theoretical interpretations of history and pretend like they have no agenda.  They gain no priority just because of their link to the ivory tower in the universities – quite the contrary.  Many have become nothing more than longer-winded politicians.  There are honest historians who have varying views from those of David Barton.  They don’t make their name merely by bashing him.  All historians link back to foundational ideologies upon which they build their ideas about history and none of them are immutable.  History is all about viewpoints.  The value in it is in understanding how people think and what causes and effects have been demonstrated.  Along those lines – It is legitimate to consider that the nation was founded on Christian principles and whether or not it is to continue upon Christian principles or become fundamentally different.  All nations have their foundational ideologies and we should examine those as well to see which others suit us and what goals they can be demonstrated to serve.  The founders of the nation can be shown in the documentary history to have done just that, extensively.  They also can be shown in the documentary history to have been anxious to find a workable solution to the institution of slavery which had existed for thousands of years on every continent and in every culture and they put into place measures in the interest of moving forward with that solution.  Finally, as a woman, I don’t need any self-appointed spokespeople, male or female, to tell me how I feel about things or what my agenda should be.  My grandmothers were not pitiful nor downtrodden women incapable of determining their lives and action.  They did not need self-appointed and self-serving advocates, and neither do I.   I admire the founders of this country and I know what they did for all future generations.  I understand the Constitutional principles they enacted for the best benefit of all and I know that they are just as relevant today as they were in their own time.

  • Anonymous:

    TheKingsCourt hits the nail on the head.

  • Anonymous:

     Oak, the point is not whether the miracles of Christ were true, but whether Jefferson believed they were true or not. What I believe and what David Barton and what Thomas Jefferson believes are three different things because we are different men with our own backgrounds, life experiences, and upbringing. 

    The more I study the founding fathers, the more I realize that they didn’t agree with each other on a whole lot of things.  They didn’t need to agree either and we don’t need to live our lives according to the beliefs of our patron founding father.  They were bold, audacious men who lived in their own time.  We have our own great men living in our time as well.  The problem is that some people spend so much time trying to live in the past, that they forget about the present and our own unique problems in the present world.   We can draw some inspiration from the past, but lets not lose sight of the here and now while deifying the founding fathers.        

  • Anonymous:

    Marjohna,  you seem to lump the founding fathers into a group as if they were a hive mind like the Borg.  In reality, the founding fathers had vigorous debate on many issues and often didn’t see eye to eye.  You can often find a quote by a founding father that backs up various political ideologies, so when you say “founding fathers” which one are you referring to?  When you pick your patron founding father, don’t forget that they often changed their minds on some issues.  Certainly Madison and Jefferson both had changes in their previous positions on various issues do to the wisdom that comes with aging, and other life experiences.  For instance, Jefferson called for regular revolutions in our own countrybut softened his rhetoric when he became President when he had more perspectives to draw from.  Our founding fathers were great men, but they were still men.  They were never arrogant men either, but sometimes our deified views of them almost make them as such.  They weren’t demi-gods and they weren’t infallible.  Let us learn from them and those who came after them, and those before us now.    

  • No, this isn’t what this is about at all. You and Scott have read the Jefferson Bible. Barton claims that it contains miracles of Jesus while the popularly taught line is Jefferson removed the miracles. That’s what this post was all about. So either admit Barton was right, or tell me he was wrong and I can then have a confirmation of accuracy on this point, or I’ll see the need to investigate it further.

    Jefferson also said this:
    “If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity.  This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.”
    (The Real Thomas Jefferson, pg 301)

  • Anonymous:

    Reply caught in spam trap.

  • Marjohna:

    I have studied a lot about the founders of the nation and appreciate them as individuals.  I only group them in that thing which they had in common – the founding of the country.  I appreciate that they had their own unique personalities and opinions.  It is a fact that they drew heavily upon the Judeo-Christian scripture and principle in setting up the country.  Did Thomas Jefferson at times plumb the Christian record to divide error from truth – of course.  The Reformation was full of people removing centuries of invented mysticism by which the people were more enthralled than enlightened – such things as trans- substantiation, indulgences, etc. had to be stripped away from the original history.  Did Thomas Jefferson, therefore question at times everything about the record – yes.  Not in a single quote, but in the totality of his writings and more importantly his acts, we find the truths he settled in his mind.

  • Nat G.:

    If you want to get at the truth, you can see Throckmorton’s analysis of the Barton’s claims here: http://wthrockmorton.com/2012/04/04/the-jefferson-lies-does-the-jefferson-bible-include-the-miracles-of-matthew-9/ – he not only points out what Barton got wrong, but he points out the source for the error (Barton relying on someone else’s reference rather than on the primary source.) If you want to check the source material, copies of the text are here: http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/

  • Thanks Nat. Based on your link it appears that Barton’s source for what he says in the video is faulty and he went off what another researcher said. Scott previously posted a link to what appears to be a scan of the Jefferson Bible here (http://americanhistory.si.edu/JeffersonBible/the-book/). On pages 5 and 40 of the book there are verses that refer to Jesus healing on the Sabbath so it appears the record isn’t devoid of miracles and solely about the life and morals of Jesus. Page 67 also includes the second coming of the Son of Man which is clearly going far beyond merely talking about the morals of Jesus and into the supernatural aspects of Christ’s teachings. It does appear that Barton goofed on this, but looking at the actual record leads me to believe Jefferson must have had a level of belief beyond basic moral teachings of Jesus.

  • Louganzo:

    I have to say that even as an LDS I have to agree with Scott’s skepticism of Beck’s and Barton’s telling of history. I did a lot of their stuff a huge stretch and often far out of context.

    On the other hand Scott for you tO make the statement that the founders were racist and the Constitution was imperfect because they didn’t deal with slavery or the fact that you don’t understand that women and blacks had suffrage in some states prior to the Jefferson administration doesn’t really speak well f your grasp of history either. Emancipation and Union were not possible in 1787 and tO ignore that fact is to

  • Louganzo:

    …is to show you have little notion of what you’re talking about either. It was great thinkers in the North that drove the emancipation issue. Men like Hamilton and Adams that took strong stances to oppose the practice. Those in the South had their hands tied or their financial stability tied to slavery – like Jefferson an Washington.

  • Louganzo:

    Scott – you might want to just admit for your own intellectual honesty that not all of Barton’s critics are disinterested or non-partisan or even just free of jealousy for his attention and fame. And there are plenty f historians who are atheists and follow your line of thinking that have even twisting US history for centuries – thus the efforts like Barton’s to fight back.

  • ptpmkhk:

    Scott we not stupid anymore..that’s what you  want to make us belive…You know what  i am glad there are still some honest people live in this country, Your degree or what ever you have will not make people smart or honesty. I will belive my grandfather 6 grade education than listen to your exceptional knowledge…Thanks Glenn and Barton for revealing the TRUTH only GOOD people will  know the TRUTH.. In this case you NOT.

  • Marjohna:

    David Barton is speaking about at least 3 different compilations that Thomas Jefferson made of parts of the Bible.  Listen carefully.  He never said that The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth included the miracles. The source, wthrockmorton, missed this too.

  • ANGELO:

    WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE, ALL JEFFERSON DID WAS MAKE A LIST OF 50 MORAL TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST SO THE INDIANS HAD A WAY OF RECIEVING TRUTH IN A SIMPLISTIC WAY. HE WASN’T OUT TO REWRITE THE BIBLE OR SAY THAT WE NEED NO MORE BIBLES. THERE WAS PURPOSE IN WHAT HE DID. I HAPPEN TO LIKE GLENN BECK, EXCEPT FOR HIS CARAZINESS THAT IS NOT NEEDED AND A TURNOFF, BUT HE SPEAKS MORE TRUTH THEN ANY ONE ELSE IN THE MEDIA.  AS FAR AS DAVID BURTAN, A METHODIST I ENJOY HEARING HIS COMMENTS BUT WAS SURPRISED WHEN HE ANNOUNCED THAT THE METHODIST CHURCH AS A WHOLE DID NOT CELEBRATE THE “STAND FOR ISRAEL” MOVEMENT GLENN BECK PUT INTO PLACE ON AUGUST 24 LAST YEAR. HOWEVER IN REGARDS TO THE ARTICLE, THEY ARE NOT SAYING THIS TAKES AWAY FROM THE ORIGINAL BIBLE, READ THIS INSTEAD. IT WAS PUT TOGETHER FOR A PURPOSE. WHY MAKE ANYTHING OUT OF IT, THEN WHA IT IS?  ANGELO

  • Anonymous:

    Oak, great quote.  This is definitely in keeping with the Jefferson quotes I gave you.  If you read your quote closely, Jefferson uses the phrase “genuine doctrines of Jesus”  and “his (Christ’s) pseudo-priests.”  So what do you think those things mean? 

  • I take this to mean that Jefferson believed in the genuine doctrines of Jesus and not what the religionists of the day had turned it into…namely a mass of confusion. To quote Joseph Smith on the situation at the time…

    8 During
    this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious
    reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and
    often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though
    I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In
    process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect,
    and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the
    confusion and strife
    among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person
    young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any
    certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. 9 My
    mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and
    incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and
    Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to
    prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in
    error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were
    equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and
    disprove all others.

    I would think Jefferson had similar challenges believing what the pseudo-priests were preaching that contradicted each other.

  • Nat Gertler:

    I thought I’d posted this the other night, but may not have saved it when my computer went kerfoofle…

    Oak: Look carefully again at pages 5 and 40. Yes, they do have Jesus discussing whether healing would be legal on the sabbath. They do not, however, have Jesus healing. On page 5, Matthew 12:13 (“Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.” has been cut out. On page 40, from Luke 14:4 (“And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;”), the second sentence is excised. As such, we have Jesus presenting an argument, but not performing miracles.

  •  Nat, you’re right, but on page 40 it does mention the person being afflicted with dropsy and it does ask the question if it’s lawful to heal someone on the Sabbath so it’s not like the healing is being stricken completely from the record. Further, someone pointed out in an email to me that with different versions of the Jefferson Bible and a version to the Indians, Jefferson may have been tailoring the message to the audience. This work on the life and morals of Jesus may have been intended for an audience that would only be taught about the morals of Jesus. Lets also remember from the video clip that Jefferson did pay for a church for the Indians, paid for a minister to them, and wrote the Declaration of Independence which mentions God four times. Clearly he was not a deist as is commonly taught in textbooks.

  • Mauiclaire:

     Who determines who is a true historian and who is not? A historian is a scholar of history. David Barton has studied and is has in his possession a substantial amount of original documents. How can you not deem him a true historian?

  • I didn’t say Jefferson was trying to convert them, David Barton says Jefferson used federal funds to put up a church for them and pay for a Catholic priest to teach them since some of them had joined the Catholic church (if I remember what he said on the video correctly now).  I suppose I’ll have to read The Jefferson Lies and see what evidence David has on the subject. We also can’t assume that Jefferson held the exact same consistent views at every point in his life. Franklin toyed with deism in his 20’s I think and then became very devoted.

  • Nat Gertler:

     My point was this: You used the Jefferson administration’s paying for an church for the Indians to be an indication that he was not a deist… but the church was clearly not there as a proponent for Jefferson’s own beliefs (he was certainly not a Catholic), so that in no way indicates that he was not a deist.

  • Anonymous:

     A true historian is someone who is trained to do historical research in as dispassionate manner possible, not looking to simply disregard those facts that don’t fit a preconceived ideology. 

    I shook my head in disbelief while attending BYU and listening to my religion teachers attempt to prove the veracity of the Book of Mormon by selecting tidbits of Aztec and Mayan history and then connecting the dots to fit the Book of Mormon world.  I found some things very interesting, but they just don’t hold up in the greater academic world because there is too much manufactured glue holding those tidbits together. 

    Cleon Skousen, Glenn Beck, Oak Norton and other political ideologues have become quite adept at convincing the weak-minded using parsed history or ‘out of context” techniques.  For example, there are just as many quotes supporting Thomas Jefferson’s skepticism over religion as there is showing a belief system, but rather than have an admission that we just don’t know what Thomas Jefferson believed, people on this forum are trying to peddle a definitive answer.   There are certainly a lot of historical hacks out there and hacks tend to quote hacks as long as fits their belief system.  Some come into the debate already believing Thomas Jefferson wasn’t a deist and some come into the debate believing he was a deist.  The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. 

    I guess some people spend so much of their life-times formulating their wrong opinions that when someone tosses out a few facts to the contrary, they get all upset and defensive and will defend their faulty opinions to the bitter end.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this, even on this forum.        

  • Right, TRUE historians like Howard Zinn aren’t ideologues.

    I suppose someone spends their lifetime collecting documents and publicizing stuff about them and some people get all upset and defensive and will defend their faulty opinions to the bitter end. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this, even on this forum.

  • Anonymous:

     I’m not sure why you chose Howard Zinn to be your example.  If my guess is right, he probably had a secret FBI file showing that he was a Communist sympathizer; one of your pet political activist projects if I’m not mistaken.  You are definitely a true Skousen (John Birch Society) acolyte. 

    Oak, I see that you are trying to detract from the debate, yet again.  I never said that Howard Zinn was or wasn’t a true historian. I never mentioned him at all.  You suddenly threw him into the mix as a vain attempt to counterbalance your own right-wing political activism with an activist historian on the left (Zinn).  In reality, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a dispassionate historian, but I do believe that there are people out there that try hard to push politics aside when looking at historical facts when attempting to paint a historical picture.  I don’t believe that Zinn fits that bill just like I believe you or Beck don’t fit the bill either.  (I at least credit Zinn with specializing in history as a career as opposed to historical researching amateurs who make their living from crunching numbers or entertaining people on T.V.)

    What this country needs is sanity from those who are willing to push their own personal politics aside when studying history and discerning the truth.   

  • Reese:

    Scott, you say the Founding Fathers were racists and sexists.  If you were to re-examine their months in Philadelphia, trying to reach agreements about the proposed constitution, you would discover this:  By the end of the months arguing and compromising over every word/phrase, it all came down to the northern elected delegates being required to accept the importation of slaves into the country for an additional 20 years.  Otherwise, Georgia and South Carolina and the other southern states would have rejected the new government outright.  Those northern delegates had to go home and tell those they represented that they compromised their principles (the slave issue) just so all the states could move forward with a better government.  Remember, if the southern states rejected the constitution, there would have been a “northern united states of america” and a “southern united states of america”.  Had that happened, England would eventually destroyed the north and France and Spain would have destroyed the south.  Slavery was a compromise, not a christian, deist, or otherwise principle acceptable to the majority.