Purported historian David Barton has not had a good week. His NYT bestseller, The Jefferson Lies (which presents Jefferson as more of an orthodox Christian than evil secular historians would have you believe), has been pulled by its publisher, which “lost confidence” in the book after a host of historians — including many conservative Christians — pointed out its abundant flaws.
Barton has a few champions left. One of them — Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika — may be familiar to you, and he offers the most hilarious defense of all:
The whole thing is a gay conspiracy.
Lively points out that Warren Throckmorton is one of Barton’s harshest critics. Throckmorton is a professor at a Christian university who has made a fascinating journey when it comes to his views on homosexuality. I doubt he would describe himself as pro-gay, but his steady and determined search for what is true has led him to speak out for the dignity and humanity of LGBT folk.
That’s enough for Lively: Throckmorton is a villain. And if you don’t think so…
just do a search of his name on the websites of the nastiest of these anti-Christ blogs such as Box Turtle Bulletin [to which I contribute — Rob], Truth Wins Out and Joe My God. You will find that Throckmorton is a hero to these people and apparently a willing collaborator with some of them.
See, if gays like Throckmorton, then Throckmorton must be bad — and therefore, David Barton must be good. Seriously, that’s the crux of Lively’s 1500-word analysis. And nowhere in those 1500 words does he actually debunk a single criticism against the Barton. In fact, Lively suggests that minor issues like accuracy and truth are of secondary importance:
To put all of this in a proper perspective, lets assume for the sake of argument that every criticism of every critic is accurate and not merely a question of different takes on the underlying facts and context (as I believe). Lets even go further and allow solely for argument’s sake that David Barton exaggerated some of the facts. [Note Lively’s distortion: to say that Barton “exaggerated some of the facts” is not to “go further” than Barton’s critics, who actually went quite further than that — but Lively is quite deft at sneaking in this lie.] Is the attack on the man in proportion to his perceived fault? For the sake of preventing further damage to our already fractured Christian unity in this dominant humanist culture couldn’t this have been handled more prudently? Or is David Barton’s entire career being destroyed and all of his years of working tirelessly to advance the cause of Christ in American society being retroactively invalidated on purpose by a puppet-master with a hidden motive?
Who exactly benefits from this? If you listen hard you can hear their gleeful cackles as they pat Warren Throckmorton on the back.
Scott Lively provides us with some insight here — not into the working of the vast gay conspiracy, but into his own head. Lots of people are delighted by this setback to Barton and his alternative reality; gays are just a small subset of that population, and a minor one at that. But if you’re as obsessed with homosexuality as Lively is, then anything with a remote and tenuous connection to the gays must be all about the gays. Poor guy.
Really, though, I adore this piece by Lively. Rarely have I seen such a direct and blatant statement that something so trivial as the truth must never get in the way of what is, um, right. It’s nice to have stuff like that from our opponents out in the open, stuff we later outrage them with by quoting it verbatim. Nicely done, Scott.
Now excuse me while I go practice my cackle.