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.
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.