Watching Maris and Mantle hit home runs during the early 1960s, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra was reported to say that the frequent long ball was like “deja vu all over again.” That’s about how it feels watching David Barton mislead churches when he speaks.
On March 30, Barton spoke to Victory Christian Center in Austin, TX. Right Wing Watch has one aspect of the speech which is a newer wrinkle in his misleading ways, but watching the rest of the speech, I had that deja vu feeling again.
There were many whoppers but I’ll note one I have written about at some length. Barton again told his audience that crime has gone up 694% since the Bible was removed from public schools. The camera work doesn’t permit a look at the slide he used but he said nearly the same things about the claim as he has in past speeches. Start watching at 38:24.
After 38:24, Barton claims:
You remember Benjamin Rush said if you ever take the Bible out of public schools you’ll spend all your time and money fighting crime when you could prevent it? I’ve been a consultant to the U.S. Justice Department and I can show you violent crime statistics for a number of years back. When we took the Bible out of schools, violent crime increased 694% since that point in time. Wow. Think of how many more lives would be alive today because of that increase in crime…
While there was an increase in violent crime between the early 1960s and the mid-1990s, Barton does not disclose to his audience that violent crime among youth and adults has dropped dramatically since the mid-1990s. The murder rate now is about the same as before the Bible was removed from schools. This chart provides the rest of the history about overall violent crime rates that Barton didn’t tell.
And as I pointed out in that prior post, the Bible had been long gone from schools many places around the country before the 1960s and is absent from schools in other nations where the crime rate is much less than our own.
This is just one fact claim in this speech; there are other outrageous claims. After all the debunking from Christian and non-Christian historians and scholars, he continues to have a platform to mislead people (e.g., at Urbana University in Ohio later this month).