Magazine article Church & State

Texas Pseudo-Historian Barton's Claims of Big Court Win Questioned

Magazine article Church & State

Texas Pseudo-Historian Barton's Claims of Big Court Win Questioned

Article excerpt

Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton has been boasting recently that he won defamation lawsuits against two Texans and a writer who had accused him of being a racist and a liar respectively. However, it increasingly appears that Barton's version of events is missing some details.

Barton's primary "victory" involved statements made by two Texas candidates for office. Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau ran unsuccessfully for seats on the Texas State Board of Education in 2010. Barton has influence with the board because several of its members are Religious Right activists who cite his work. Thus, he became an issue during the campaign.

In campaign materials, Jennings and Bell-Metereau implied that Barton was "known" for speaking to white supremacist organizations. Barton did speak to two white supremacist groups in the early 1990s, but he has always maintained that he did not know of their racist character. The two women ultimately settled Barton's lawsuit by issuing him a formal apology.

Barton also claims he sued a writer named W.S. Smith, who wrote an article calling Barton "an admitted liar." Barton asserted that he won this suit too, even though Smith allegedly went into hiding rather than face Barton in court.

But Warren Throckmorton, an evangelical college professor in Pennsylvania who has debunked Barton's claims for years, did some digging and is skeptical of Barton's claim about the Smith suit. …

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