Media Blackout on the Kermit Gosnell Case May Be Lifting

The local Philadelphia press has been covering the case, but today Yahoo news carried a lengthy reprint of a story on Gosnell’s trial first published by The Atlantic. Slate’s Dave Weigel also wrote about the case and the lack of coverage. #Gosnell is now trending on Twitter. In what could be titled, “Confessions of a Pro-Choice Journalist,” add Daily Beast to that list. Now WaPo…
I was glad to see these articles which pull no punches in reporting the case of Gosnell who performed abortions in violation of numerous health codes and is accused of overseeing a killing field of women and newborn babies. The story is not for the weak but needs to be told.
When this story first broke, I posted extensively about it, including some original reporting:
Gruesome abortion/murder case in Philadelphia (1/19/11)
Abortion clinic regulation scandal in PA (1/20/11)
PA Senate to hold hearings on failure of abortion clinic regulation (1/21/11)
PA Abortion clinic inspections stopped to avoid barriers to abortion (1/21/11)
Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business? (1/25/11)
National Abortion Federation quietly removes reference to Gosnell’s Delaware clinic (1/29/11)
National abortion funding network member visited notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic (1/31/11)
National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic (1/31/11)
UPDATE: Anderson Cooper’s AC360 show covered the Gosnell trial tonight.

Jake Tapper too…

Indian Country Media Writer Calls Out David Barton on Faulty History of King Philip's War

I wrote about this on Wednesday and today a columnist at Indian Country Media takes on David Barton’s faulty history regarding the events surrounding King Philip’s War.
Larry Spotted Crown Mann’s article titled, David Barton’s Lies about King Philip’s War details the problems with Barton’s arguments during the infamous Wallbuilders broadcast where Barton said

What happened was the Indian leaders said “they’re trying to change our culture” and so they declared war on all the white guys and went after the white guys and that was King Philip’s War.  It was really trying to be civilized on one side and end torture and the Indians were threatened by the ending of torture and so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said “oh, got the point, you’re doing to us what we’re doing to them, okay, we’ll sign a treaty.”

Barton backtracked in late March and said he wasn’t condoning the treatment of the Indians but it was not convincing, especially when one listens to the entire broadcast.
Regarding the events leading up to King Philip’s War, Barton clearly has a retraction to make. He said the Moravian missionaries were in New England in the 1670s and they begged the native tribes to stop torturing their captives from other Indian tribes. Barton says they told the tribes to just kill them, instead of torturing them. First, it is hard for me to imagine Moravians urging the Indians to kill anyone, and second, the Moravians were not in New England until the 1740s.  Barton got his history wrong and it led him to construct a false narrative. This is a big one. He needs to correct himself.
As Mann’s article points out, the English settlers desired to convert the Indians and some religious persons (John Eliot, the Mayhews?) may have complained to the Indians about torture. However, as Mann also points out, the English had some sinister methods at their disposal. Furthermore, the reasons for King Philip’s War were much more complex than Barton describes and involves, among other things, a failure on the part of the British to respect the land rights of the Indians. Creating a false dichotomy (torture vs. no torture) as Barton does, misrepresents the facts and seems to represent a biased view of the situation. Perhaps Barton’s belief in the Mormon inspired American Covenant, such as described in Timothy Ballard’s book extolling British Israelism, is behind this bias.
Related posts:
Baptist Minister Reacts to David Barton’s Justification of Indian Destruction
Book endorsed by David Barton claims American colonists were Ephraimites

After getting history wrong, David Barton claims he was misunderstood about the destruction of Indians

On March 21, David Barton addressed “just war” theory on his Wallbuilders Live program and in the process he said the following about the destruction of Indian tribes.

What happened was the Indian leaders said “they’re trying to change our culture” and so they declared war on all the white guys and went after the white guys and that was King Philip’s War.  It was really trying to be civilized on one side and end torture and the Indians were threatened by the ending of torture and so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said “oh, got the point, you’re doing to us what we’re doing to them, okay, we’ll sign a treaty.”

Barton Responds
Yesterday, I learned that David Barton responded to the various articles and posts about these statements. In a March 28 post on Wallbuilders Facebook page, someone on Barton’s behalf wrote:

In response to a recent WallBuilders Live show, we wanted to clarify statements made by Mr. Barton that we have been receiving questions and comments about. We encourage you to listen to the program to get the full context: 
David was not justifying, but merely explaining the historical context of what happened, in the same way that he explained the British march to the sea. He made a parallel between the two as to tactics and strategy that were used during war at that time. David was explaining the historical events regarding King Philip’s War, not the atrocities that were in general committed against the Indian tribes and nations, which we in no way condone. There is a big difference between justifying and merely explaining or reporting.
WallBuilders Staff

I don’t buy it and many commenters on his page don’t either.  For instance, one said

Oh! You weren’t trying to “justify” what happened by reporting what happened in a way that only served to whitewash history (“It was really trying to be civilized on one side and end torture and the Indians were threatened by the ending of torture and so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said “oh, got the point, you’re doing to us what we’re doing to them, okay, we’ll sign a treaty.”) without reporting atrocities on BOTH sides, and without applying any meaning to actual historic events that do not fit with your self-serving slanted view of said events. Silly, actual historian who interprets Native history on a daily basis, me! Thanks for your half of an apology!

He is backpedaling for sure but his wording and the context of the show don’t leave much wiggle room. He certainly seemed to be arguing that the destruction of Indian tribes was a just response of the English. As the commenter above points out, even if he was explaining, his explanation was biased and inaccurate to the point of being offensive.
Just War Theory
To check the credibility of Barton’s defense, let’s review more of what he said on his broadcast. The relevant section is from about 9 minutes in to about 13:40. He begins by saying in war “you have to go beyond what you would like to do, but that’s what you have to do to save lives.” He then discusses the American response to prisoners of war and invokes just war theory, defining it as “you want to conduct a war in such a way so as you don’t make God into your enemy. So if you have to do certain things to defend yourself, you do that; but if you’re going to be the aggressor, if you’re going to gratuitously use pain and torture to harm others because of the meanness of your soul, now you’re in trouble with God.” He added that there were wars that God has shown to be justified and made a distinction between offensive and defensive wars. Pivoting to history, Barton said “Let’s take these principles back into the way they were dealt with at the time.” He described what he believed to be differences in how the Americans and British treated their prisoners of war. Then he illustrated his points via Native Americans.

You have to deal a lot of it with how the enemy responds. It’s gotta be based on what the enemy responds.
You can’t reason with certain types of terrorists, you can’t reason, and see that’s why we could not get the Indians to the table to negotiate with us on treaties until after we had thoroughly whipped so many Indian tribes, and people say you took away their land, let’s back up a minute, let’s go back to time of the French and Indian War, let’s go back to the late 1600s, what’s called King Philip’s War in 1672.* The reason the Indians attacked the American settlers in the 1600s was because Moravian missionaries, now Moravian missionaries were probably the least intrusive people in the world. They don’t go in and say, hey, to be a Christian, you gotta dress this way, act this way, believe, they just want you to read the Word of God and get in a relationship with God. And living among the Indians as they did, and by the way, they didn’t ask the Indians to dress like Americans, the Americans dressed like Indians, so the Moravian missionaries, you couldn’t tell them from the Indians. They looked alike, they dressed alike, they talked the same language, but what the Moravian missionaries did was say, guys, you know you’re warring against all these other tribes and as you’re capturing other tribes, you’re torturing them before you put them to death. You’re not just putting to death your enemy, you’re making them line up and link arms together and as they hold their arms together, you’re going by and slitting their stomachs and they’re required to hold their own guts as they die. Just kill ’em, don’t torture them. 
What happened was the Indian leaders said “they’re trying to change our culture” and so they declared war on all the white guys and went after the white guys and that was King Philip’s War.  It was really trying to be civilized on one side and end torture and the Indians were threatened by the ending of torture and so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said “oh, got the point, you’re doing to us what we’re doing to them, okay, we’ll sign a treaty.”
And that’s what we had to do with Jefferson and the Barbary pirates. Jefferson went in, we had 32 years of them fighting Americans and Jefferson went in, thumped ’em real good, and they said, aye, got it, we got the message, we’ll leave you guys alone, we’ll sign a treaty with you.
A lot of it is based on what you have to do to secure justice and to secure the protection of life and liberties for your citizens and you do what you have to do at times, but you play on the rules sometimes that the other guys have set up. And if they’re not going to negotiate with things like the Geneva treaty or other rules of civilization, you still have to secure the life and the property and the protection of your citizens.

Much of this is wrong, but I want to point out two problems. First, it certainly seems to me that Barton is speaking prescriptively. I provided this context because it certainly seems to me that Barton is defending the actions of the English settlers when he said what got the Indians to the treaty table was whipping and destroying them. He says you can’t reason with certain types of terrorists and then speaks about Indians as an illustration (Indians were terrorists for defending their land claims?). Barton then presents the conflict with the Barbary pirates which he also approves. The entire context of his speech was to explain and defend just war theory and his conclusion is that sometimes you have to protect your citizens by doing whatever it takes. If he is now sorry that he said that and doesn’t now believe it, then he should express that instead of insulting the intelligence of his listeners.
Getting History Wrong
Another problem is that Barton’s description of the causes of King Philip’s War is incorrect. First, Barton fails to mention that the Indians had entered into agreements with the British long before King Philip’s War (we didn’t have to destroy them to get them to the table). Second, the cause of the conflict related to British intrusions on Indian land and Philip’s perception that three of his warriors had been falsely convicted and executed for murder. Third, the Moravian missionaries were not in New England at the time. Barton says the Indians attacked whites because the Moravians tried to get them to stop torturing their enemies. However, the Moravians did not begin their work in the Americas until the 1730s, over 50 years after King Philip’s War.**  The following description of Moravian work comes from Loskiel’s history of Moravian missions in America, a source used elsewhere by Barton.

The first missionaries from the Church of the Brethren were sent in the year 1732 to St. Thomas, an island in the West Indies under Danish government. Others went in the year following to Greenland, and their labours were crowned by God with success. Not long after, the Brethren had an opportunity of introducing the Gospel to the Indians in North America. For the trustees of Georgia offered to Count Zinzendorf, then warden of the congregations of the Brethren, a tract of land to be cultivated by them which was accepted the Brethren hoping thereby to become acquainted with the Creeks, Chikasaw, and Cherokee Indians. The first company set out from Herrnhut in November 1734, conducted by the Brethren John Toeltschig and Anthony Seyffart attended with the best wishes and prayers of the whole congregation. 

In fact, a review of the book indicates that the Moravians were not in New York or Connecticut until the 1740s. I can’t find any evidence of his story in relationship to King Philip’s War and it clearly can’t be about the Moravians. Thus, Barton’s narrative about the Moravians and the reaction of the Indians is faulty, as is his use of the event as a support for just war theory.
*Actually, it was 1675 when King Philip attacked the settlers. Click the link to read an account which provides a contemporary account of the causes for the war.
** A commenter on the Wallbuilders Facebook page pointed out that the Moravian missionaries were not in New England at the time of King Philip’s War. Sadly typical that Barton’s supporters ignored her.

Book written by Tim Ballard endorsed by David Barton claims American colonists were Ephraimites

Last week, I critiqued one of the central claims in the book, The Covenant, by Timothy Ballard. To help prove that the British and Americans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel, Ballard claims Genesis 49:22 as a prophecy of America. In fact, his rendering is tendentious and completely untenable. He also claims that Jeremiah 31 predicts the gathering of the Israelites in America. However, the text of Jeremiah 31 clearly designates where a future gathering will take place, and it is not America.

To fully understand Ballard’s claim, you should read the post on Genesis 49. His basis for seeing America in Jeremiah is his faulty reading of Genesis 49:22. When he claims Joseph’s posterity was a land “over the wall (he says this means over the Atlantic),” he begins his reading of Jeremiah on a false foundation. Ballard writes:

He [Jeremiah] declares that they will be gathered from “the coasts of the earth” (Jeremiah 31:8). (Recall that Joseph’s posterity was given a land “over the wall” of water and separate from the rest of the tribes of Israel. If they were to travel over this wall, of course they would begin at “the coasts of the earth.”) He further details this migration, stating that “Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion.” Jeremiah foresees them traveling from the “north country” (Europe?), being gathered from “the coasts” (the British Isles?), and delivered into this new land of its inheritance (America?), saying they will come “with weeping, and with supplication” (the historical record is clear on the difficulties faced by our American founders’ early migration and settlement).* (Kindle Locations 851-857).

Jeremiah 31 specifies where the restoration of Israel will take place. You can read the entire chapter here; I have selected verses which designate the specific elements of the restoration.

Jeremiah 31: 1“At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.” This is what the Lord says:
I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit.
There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’”

This chapter refers to a future time when the tribes of Israel, including Joseph’s descendants, will be restored to Palestine. Three locations are named here – Zion (Jerusalem) and the hills of Samaria and Ephraim) – and they are not in America.

See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’

16 This is what the Lord says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord. “They will return from the land of the enemy. 17 So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the Lord. “Your children will return to their own land.

It is very clear that this chapter pictures a return to the ancient homeland and not a new nation somewhere else. Verse 17 says that Ephraim’s children will return to their own land. There is nothing here about going elsewhere. The following verses make it even clearer where the restoration will take place.

23 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity,[c] the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The Lord bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’24 People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. 25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

27 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals.

38 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”

This prophesy is quite specific, referring to the “land of Judah” and “its towns.” Towers, gates, hills and valleys are named with precision. None of these locations are in America.

Another aspect of Jeremiah 31 which undermines the British-Israelism argument is in verse 27 where Judah and Israel are referred to as being planted together. According to the Ballard, the northern kingdom of Israel included the sons of Ephraim, who eventually became English settlers in America. In his book, he even calls the settlers “Ephraimites.” Ballard writes

And who were these chosen ones that would settle the New World? They were, for the most part, the European descendants of Joseph, even the Ephraimites, whose responsibility it would be to establish a national covenant in America, and then, building upon this covenant, usher in a renewal and expansion of Christianity. It was to be a covenant land that would bless Judah, help restore ancient Israel, and spread God’s truth and salvation. (Kindle Locations 1744-1752)

Clearly, Jeremiah 31 is about a return to the ancient homeland, and a restoration of the Jews, both Ephraim and Judah.  There is nothing in this passage that refers to a re-gathering anywhere else and no American covenant.

There are so many problems with Ballard’s approach to these texts that it becomes clear that he is interpreting them in light of Mormon theology and the Book of Mormon. In the first book, titled The American Covenant – the LDS version – the Book of Mormon is cited frequently.  As I pointed out on Friday, these references were removed as an aspect of a possible mission effort to expose non-Mormons to Latter Day Saint theology. Mormons see their membership as being primarily descendants of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  From the LDS church website:

On another occasion President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: “The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.” (Improvement Era, Oct. 1923, p. 1149.)

Mormons view Joseph Smith as a direct descendant of Ephraim.

“It is the house of Israel we are after, and we care not whether they come from the east, the west, the north, or the south; from China, Russia, England, California, North or South America, or some other locality. … The Book of Mormon came to Ephraim, for Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite, and the Book of Mormon was revealed to him.” (Journal of Discourses 2:268–69.)

Essentially The Covenant is an elaborate effort to bring Mormon beliefs to the masses with Glenn Beck’s help. About the book, Beck gushed:

“I’ve been looking for a way to articulate this message for years. Ballard finally did it! Everybody needs to read this book, it is the key to restoring America.”

In other words, the key to restoring America is a Mormon slant on history and theology. How oddly disturbing, then, for David Barton to also endorse the book in an effusive manner:

The concept of what a covenant truly is and means is unfamiliar to most today, for it far surpasses any legal understandings or obligations with which our current culture is acquainted. God established a covenant with Abraham and his posterity, the Bible recounts not only the duties but also the remarkable benefits produced by that mutual accord. Tim Ballard documents the “extension” of that covenant re-invoked during the establishment of this nation… a covenant made between God and America’s early colonists and Founders. The Covenant not only shows the unprecedented blessings America has received as a result of obedience to God but also what every citizen today can do to honor our national covenant with God and thus ensure His continued blessings.

Given his endorsement, Barton seems to believe there is some relationship between the Abrahamic covenant and the arrival of the English to American shores. Barton’s endorsement probably means his evangelical followers will put stock in the Book of Mormon inspired interpretations of history.  If what some of Ballard’s fellow Mormons have said is true, this is exactly what Ballard and Beck hope to accomplish.