Self-proclaimed 'historian' David Barton's new book 'Jefferson Lies' has become an online bestseller for Amazon.com, but has also been torn to pieces by historians.
NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled David Barton yesterday on 'All Things Considered' and debunked many of Barton's claims:
Mr. Barton is presenting a Jefferson that modern-day evangelicals could love and identify with," says Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the evangelical Grove City College. "The problem with that is, it's not a whole Jefferson; it's not getting him right."
"He didn't see Jesus as God," Throckmorton says. He didn't believe that Jesus performed miracles, he dismissed the Trinity. Throckmorton notes that when Jefferson decided to write his own version of the Gospels, now called the Jefferson Bible, "he said he was taking 'diamonds as if from a dunghill.'
There's another "lie" about Jefferson that Barton sets out to debunk. He says Jefferson — who owned nearly 200 slaves — was a civil rights visionary.
Barton quotes Virginia law that he says prohibited Jefferson from freeing his slaves during his lifetime — but Barton omits the section of the law that says Virginians could free slaves. Confronted by this, Barton says that Jefferson could not afford to free his slaves.
Today, RightWingWatch.org, reports that Barton's publisher is pulling the book:
The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.”
Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, 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 stop the publication and distribution.”