Phil Robertson Uses Spurious James Madison Quote to Explain His Support for Ted Cruz

Today, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson used a spurious quote often attributed to James Madison to explain his support for Ted Cruz. Watch (see especially the segment starting at 1:30 into the clip)
There is no such Madison quote about America being based on self-governance according to the 10 commandments. Even Ted Cruz’s historian, David Barton, now labels that quote “unconfirmed.” By all accounts, the quote cannot be found in any of Madison’s writings or can’t be traced to any primary source.
Someone should tell Phil Robertson that several of the quotes Barton used in his first book cannot be found in primary sources.

Questions About Gospel for Asia's Use of Donations for Leprosy Care on World Leprosy Day

Today is World Leprosy Day.
Last week, Gospel for Asia issued a press release claiming to help thousands of leprosy sufferers.

WILLS POINT, Texas, Jan. 28, 2016 /Standard Newswire/ — Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported missionaries and workers will reach out with food, clothing and medical aid on Jan. 31, World Leprosy Day, to more than 4,000 sufferers in 63 leprosy colonies, highlighting the plight of those suffering from this brutal, but highly treatable disease.

GFA’s track record in recent years does not inspire confidence that funds donated for leprosy care will get to the victims of this dreaded disease.
GFA LOGOAccording to GFA’s project giving reports for 2011-2013, donors have given $284,528 designated for leprosy ministry. However, only $36,600 has been reported on Indian government forms as being received in India during the same period. On the FC-6 form, a specific line item exists for reporting foreign donations given to assist with leprosy treatment and outreach. Only about 13% of gifts designated by donors to GFA in the United States was reported as received by GFA’s field partners in India.
Due to giving in prior years, GFA had amassed a balance of nearly $400,000 in an account to help leprosy treatment as of March 31, 2014. Using funds from that account along with a small amount of the actual donations, GFA reported spending of just over $180,000 on leprosy care from 2011-2013. That is still over $100,000 less than donors gave. As with other needs, GFA has built up a balance in this account for reasons they have not disclosed. Even while GFA continues to solicit donations, organization leaders have significant funds waiting to be used in keeping with donor intent.

David Barton Claims Professional Historians Don't Use Original Documents and That's Why They Attack His Work

I have just about run out of headlines to describe the errors in David Barton’s description of why The Jefferson Lies was pulled from publication in 2012. He and World Net Daily continue to promote the idea that the book’s critics were liberals and that Thomas Nelson pulled the book due to political correctness. I’ve debunked these false claims more than once.
Now he is advancing another theory about why historians have been critical of The Jefferson Lies. In an article (another whitewash of Jefferson’s actions relating to slavery) at World Net Daily, Barton claims professional historians refuse to use “original documents.” From the WND article:

Barton blames the ignorance surrounding Jefferson on the refusal of professional historians to review original documents instead of second-hand sources.

Barton said: “Nobody knows anything unless they quote from another PhD. No, go back to the original documents. When you go back to the original documents you get things right. And so what they do, when you go back to the books, they all quote each other in a circular fashion. And because I went back to the originals instead of quoting PhDs, the PhDs said, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.’”

Barton suggested his use of original sources is one of the reasons many historians are so hostile to “The Jefferson Lies.”

“That’s what gives them heartburn, because now they have to admit that what they’ve been taught may be wrong, their philosophy may be wrong, they’ve taken a position that no longer comports with history, and they’ve been saying that this is what history teaches,” Barton said. “So it really puts them in a hard spot.”

Barton must mean primary sources when he says “original documents.” He himself doesn’t use original documents for most of the claims he makes. For instance, he cites Jefferson’s letters which he takes from books and internet sources. Here are just a few relevant footnotes from The Jefferson Lies:

Thomas Jefferson, “The Thomas Jefferson Papers,” Library of Congress, to Robert Brent on August 14, 1805 (at: http:// loc.mss/ mtj.mtjbib015028).
Thomas Jefferson, “Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia,” The University of Virginia, August 4, 1818 (at: http:// ~ lombardi/ edudocs/ jefferson_uva_1818. html).
Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, editor (Charlottesville: F. Carr, and Co., 1829), Vol. IV, 23, to Mrs. John Adams on July 22, 1804, Vol. IV, 228, to John Adams on October 28, 1813, and Vol. II, 48– 50, to Mrs. Cosway on October 12, 1786; Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), Vol. II, 253– 254, “Notes on Religion,” October 1776, Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIV, 71– 73, to John Adams on January 24, 1814; etc.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, WND Books. Kindle Edition.

As others do, Barton uses what are more accurately called primary sources to cite Jefferson’s words. One can find them on the web or in edited collections of his letters. I have yet to come across a footnote in Barton’s new edition which cites an original document only available to Barton. In the first edition, Barton cited a sea letter signed by Jefferson which he apparently has in his library. However, in the new edition, that letter is not cited. As an aside, Barton used that letter to claim Jefferson signed presidential documents with the phrase, “In the year of our Lord Christ.” We demonstrated in Getting Jefferson Right that Jefferson did not choose to write that phrase in his own handwriting on a shipping letter and apparently in response (I can’t find it in the new edition) Barton removed the claim from the new edition (for more on this claim check here and here).
Historians are taught to use primary sources. It is a foundation of the discipline. For instance, check out this article on using primary sources to teach history from the American Historical Association website:

Strategies and Resources for Teaching with Primary Sources

Free and open access to the raw materials of history is not enough for K–12 classroom teachers. They also need the strategies and resources for effective, relevant, and rigorous primary source instruction. All TPS professional development offerings for history teachers convey the same message: teaching with primary sources helps students ask meaningful questions, develop critical thinking skills, and acquire new knowledge. Whether students are learning about the Civil War, the dust bowl migration, or the civil rights movement, working with primary sources models the investigative process used by historians, and encourages active student engagement at all stages of the learning process. For example, a lesson on the Declaration of Independence in which students compare Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten “original Rough draught” with the final version adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, illustrates differences in word choice and intent, and hence demands greater scrutiny of Jefferson’s language and the meaning he attached to his words. Also available at the library’s web site is an online interactive program that assists students in sourcing the documents that Jefferson drew upon for ideas and phrases (

Barton must know he is misleading people here. Perhaps he could give an example of an historian using secondary sources inappropriately but that doesn’t mean that a majority do it. Furthermore, his critics rely on primary sources. We certainly do and since he says he has read Getting Jefferson Right, he knows we do.

Another problem with Barton’s claim is that he uses secondary sources.

For instance, in the first edition of The Jefferson Lies, Barton claimed that Thomas Jefferson invited preacher James O’Kelly to the White House to preach. Barton wrote in the 2012 edition:

Jefferson also arranged for other ministers to preach at the Capitol, including the Reverend James O’Kelly, another of his strong supporters. Originally a Methodist, O’Kelly later founded a movement known as the “Republican Methodists” because of the common beliefs they shared with Jefferson’s political movement. He twice visited Jefferson at the White House, and Jefferson twice arranged for him to preach in the church at the Capitol. 31 Following one of those occasions, a newspaper editor reported that after O’Kelly’s sermon, “Mr. Jefferson arose with tears in his eyes and said that while he was no preacher, in his opinion James O’Kelly was one of the greatest preachers living.” 32
Barton, David (2013-02-15). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 3024-3030). WallBuilder Press. Kindle Edition.

Checking footnotes 31 and 32, one finds:

31 Wilbur E. MacClenny, “James O’Kelly: A Champion of Christian Freedom,” in The Centennial of Religious Journalism, ed. John Pressley Barrett (Dayton: Christian Publishing Association, 1908), 265.
32 Dr. J. P. Barrett, editor of the Herald of Gospel Liberty, Dayton, Ohio, quoted in Wilburn E. MacClenny, The Life of Rev. James O’Kelly and the Early History of the Christian Church in the South (Suffolk: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1910), 171– 173.
Barton, David (2013-02-15). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 5926-5932). WallBuilder Press. Kindle Edition.

MacClenny wrote in 1908 and 1910 (click the link for the 1910 book). MacClenny provides one source for his information regarding O’Kelly and Jefferson, J.P. Barrett. Barrett was the editor of a church newsletter, Herald of Gospel Liberty. While I don’t know Barrett’s entire tenure at the newsletter, he was editor in the early 1900s and not during the early 1800s. He did not witness Jefferson calling O’Kelly one of the “greatest preachers living” because he wasn’t alive.
In this case, Barton not only used a secondary source (MacClenny), but he used one (Barrett) another step removed from Jefferson’s time and the event in question. Barton did just what he accused professional historians of doing. Furthermore, professional historians would find such a source laughable.
What about in the new edition? Did Barton keep the O’Kelly stories?
While Barton removed the story of Jefferson calling O’Kelly one of the greatest living preachers, he still relies on MacClenny to claim O’Kelly was Jefferson’s great friend and preached twice at Jefferson’s request.

Jefferson personally arranged for other Christian ministers to preach at the Capitol, including the Reverend James O’Kelly, another of his strong supporters. Originally a Methodist, O’Kelly later founded a movement known as the “Republican Methodists” because of the common beliefs they shared with Jefferson’s political movement. He twice visited Jefferson at the White House, and Jefferson twice arranged for him to preach in the church at the Capitol. 36
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 3620-3624). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

The footnote still points to MacClenny:

36 Wilbur E. MacClenny, The Centennial of Religious Journalism, John Pressley Barrett, editor (Dayton: Christian Publishing Association, 1908), 250 and 265, “James O’Kelly: A Champion of Christian Freedom.”
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 6873-6875). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

In fact, there is no primary or contemporary source for the claims about O’Kelly. Barton relied on a secondary source (MacClenny) which in turn used a secondary source (Barrett) to spread questionable information about these events. Both secondary sources were 100 years removed from the events in question. In fact, there is no primary source evidence that O’Kelly ever preached at Jefferson’s request or even met him.
In preparation to write Getting Jefferson Right, I read James O’Kelly’s papers which are housed at Elon University. In them, there is no mention of a friendship with Jefferson or of preaching in the Congress. The only reference to Jefferson is correspondence between Senator Harry Byrd and the Library of Congress. Sen. Byrd asked the Library of Congress if O’Kelly ever preached in Congress. Frederick Scott, acting chief of the Library of Congress’ Government and General Research Division replied in 1971 that no records could be found to substantiate the story.  I also asked Anna Berke at the library at Monticello if Jefferson ever corresponded with O’Kelly. After a search of all of Jefferson’s papers, she informed me that there is no letter to, from, or about James O’Kelly.
The short summary of this matter is that Barton did what he accuses others of doing. Those who are enamored with Barton’s extensive footnotes should check them out.

Another Surprising Conservative Critique of David Barton

David Barton, Glenn Beck and World Net Daily have promoted the fiction that only liberals have criticized David Barton’s history. I have debunked that here.
This week a very conservative writer came out with concerns about Barton’s history and theological teachings. At several location, Marsha West has a sharp critique of Barton’s work and his association with Glenn Beck.
The most surprising source to run West’s article was RenewAmerica. I dare Barton and company to label RenewAmerica liberal.
Big time liberals like Bryan Fischer, Cliff Kincaid, Jerry Newcombe, and Alan Keyes write for that site. In fact, Keyes is the founder and honorary chairman for the venture.

Did Ted Cruz Steal From God And If So, Why Is He Blessed? Rafael Cruz Teaches on Tithing

The more I look into this revelation that Ted Cruz declared less than one percent of his income to charitable causes from 2006-2010, the more interesting it gets.
By any measure, Cruz has been blessed. His political career has been on the fast track. In 2012, he upset a conservative Republican for the GOP Senate nomination and then won an easy victory over the Democratic candidate in the 2012 Senate election. He currently is one of the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. Financially, he has done incredibly well.
However, according to his own father’s teaching on tithing, such blessing should not be.
First, let’s establish from Cruz himself that he acknowledges not tithing. In an interview with CBN’s David Brody, Cruz implied that his meager charitable giving was primarily early in his marriage. Watch:

Transcript (from the Brody file):

Listen on the question of tithing, all of us are on a faith journey, and I will readily admit that I have not been as faithful in this aspect of my walk as I should have been. That article focuses on ten years. We don’t have the ability to go back and change what occurred ten years ago when Heidi and I were newly married and we’d just started a family. But at the end of the day, being a Christian is not about holding yourself out as righteous. It’s about beginning with the understanding that we are flawed sinners and we are saved not by deeds but by Christ’s redemption. I am grateful that God is a patient and forgiving God and this area, as in many areas of my life I am working to do a better job walking in my faith.

As Mediaite writer Tommy Christopher points out, Cruz didn’t address the facts in a straightforward manner. The tax returns in question covered 2006-2010 (now removed from the Texas Tribune site – the numbers can still be viewed here). In 2010, Cruz reported just over $2 million in income while only declaring $22,337 in donations. In 2010, he wasn’t a poor, struggling newlywed. Obviously, the blessings were flowing, even though the tithes weren’t.

This is serious business to evangelicals who view tithing as the pathway to God’s blessing. Let’s listen to Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, describe what not tithing means to God (source video).

Rafael Cruz says that someone who is not tithing shouldn’t expect God’s blessing. He interprets Malachi to say that a non-tither is stealing from God. He adds that the devil will attack and perhaps devour one’s income. Rafael Cruz and others have expressed the opinion that Ted Cruz has been blessed because he has been faithful. How can this be if Cruz has been stealing from God?
Ironically, Ted Cruz is evidence against his own father’s teaching on tithing. Or perhaps Cruz isn’t really anointed. Or perhaps this whole dominionist business is just a way to provoke a great transfer of wealth, but not the kind Rafael Cruz preaches about. The main transfer of wealth of interest to prosperity preachers is from the congregation to their pockets.
For those who don’t believe tithing is for New Testament Christians, the amount given isn’t going to be the main problem. For them, what might generate concern is that Cruz has used the sincerity of his faith as an argument for his fitness to be president. The tithing issue exposes a potential problem with that narrative.
For those who view tithing as a mandate with dreadful consequences for lack of compliance, this revelation could be a deal breaker. Cruz has complicated matters now by telling David Brody a less than believable tale that is different that what his campaign said in 2012. Then they said Cruz volunteered a lot.
Cruz may hope the Brody interview will lay the matter to rest. He may be right. Such theological matters may not be of the same level of interest outside of the Christian nationalist camps of Iowa.
Even if this matter goes away as a political problem, it remains a problem for those who believe Cruz was blessed to rise rapidly through the political ranks all the while stealing from God.

Marrakesh Declaration: Muslim Countries Should Ensure Rights for Religious Minorities

This could be a very important development.
See this Christianity Today article for the full story on the Marrakesh Declaration (Declaration website). Muslim leaders affirm the rights of religious minorities in Muslim majority nations. Pakistan, we are looking at you. Time to release Asia Bibi.

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate

Executive Summary of the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities

25th-27th January 2016

WHEREAS, conditions in various parts of the Muslim World have deteriorated dangerously due to the use of violence and armed struggle as a tool for settling conflicts and imposing one’s point of view;

WHEREAS, this situation has also weakened the authority of legitimate governments and enabled criminal groups to issue edicts attributed to Islam, but which, in fact, alarmingly distort its fundamental principles and goals in ways that have seriously harmed the population as a whole;

WHEREAS, this year marks the 1,400th anniversary of the Charter of Medina, a constitutional contract between the Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings be upon him, and the people of Medina, which guaranteed the religious liberty of all, regardless of faith;

WHEREAS, hundreds of Muslim scholars and intellectuals from over 120 countries, along with representatives of Islamic and international organizations, as well as leaders from diverse religious groups and nationalities, gathered in Marrakesh on this date to reaffirm the principles of the Charter of Medina at a major conference;

WHEREAS, this conference was held under the auspices of His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and organized jointly by the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs in the Kingdom of Morocco and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies based in the United Arab Emirates;

AND NOTING the gravity of this situation afflicting Muslims as well as peoples of other faiths throughout the world, and after thorough deliberation and discussion, the convened Muslim scholars and intellectuals:

DECLARE HEREBY our firm commitment to the principles articulated in the Charter of Medina, whose provisions contained a number of the principles of constitutional contractual citizenship, such as freedom of movement, property ownership, mutual solidarity and defense, as well as principles of justice and equality before the law; and that,

The objectives of the Charter of Medina provide a suitable framework for national constitutions in countries with Muslim majorities, and the United Nations Charter and related documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are in harmony with the Charter of Medina, including consideration for public order.

NOTING FURTHER that deep reflection upon the various crises afflicting humanity underscores the inevitable and urgent need for cooperation among all religious groups, we

AFFIRM HEREBY that such cooperation must be based on a “Common Word,” requiring that such cooperation must go beyond mutual tolerance and respect, to providing full protection for the rights and liberties to all religious groups in a civilized manner that eschews coercion, bias, and arrogance.

BASED ON ALL OF THE ABOVE, we hereby: Call upon Muslim scholars and intellectuals around the world to develop a jurisprudence of the concept of “citizenship” which is inclusive of diverse groups. Such jurisprudence shall be rooted in Islamic tradition and principles and mindful of global changes.

Urge Muslim educational institutions and authorities to conduct a courageous review of educational curricula that addresses honestly and effectively any material that instigates aggression and extremism, leads to war and chaos, and results in the destruction of our shared societies;

Call upon politicians and decision makers to take the political and legal steps necessary to establish a constitutional contractual relationship among its citizens, and to support all formulations and initiatives that aim to fortify relations and understanding among the various religious groups in the Muslim World;

Call upon the educated, artistic, and creative members of our societies, as well as organizations of civil society, to establish a broad movement for the just treatment of religious minorites in Muslim countries and to raise awareness as to their rights, and to work together to ensure the success of these efforts.

Call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land; we call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression;

Call upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, villification, and denegration of what people hold sacred, as well as all speech that promote hatred and bigotry;

AND FINALLY, AFFIRM that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries.


January 27th, 2016

New Iowa Attack Ad Highlights Ted Cruz's Meager Charitable Giving

Ted Cruz’s evangelical strategy may not be working as well as he hoped.
New polls show a dramatic drop in evangelical support among evangelicals for Cruz and he is facing renewed criticism over his meager charitable giving in this new attack ad:
Mormon Glenn Beck and activist David Barton may feel Cruz is the one but increasingly evangelicals may be moving toward The Donald.

Boston Globe Endorses John Kasich in New Hampshire Primary

From John Kasich’s campaign website

Calling a vote for John Kasich a blow to “divisive demagogic candidates,” the Boston Globe endorsed Kasich in the New Hampshire primary on Feb 9. The Globe calls Kasich a moderate conservative and touts him as a candidate who can get results.
He has shown independence as Ohio governor and is a fiscal conservative.
Whether it is Kasich or Rubio or Bush, I do hope someone other than Trump or Cruz makes a strong showing in NH.

K.P. Yohannan Will Not Speak at Downline Missions Conference; Still on GMMA 2016 Conference Schedule

GFA LOGOYesterday, I posted a link to a Memphis missions conference which featured Gospel for Asia’s K.P. Yohannan as a speaker. Today, I have learned that the Downline Summit conference director is now telling people who ask that Yohannan and the organizers have agreed Yohannan will not appear. A trip to the conference website fails to find Yohannan’s picture or any references to GFA.
Still on GMMA 2016 Schedule
Another organization which has not decided what to do with K.P. Yohannan is the Global Medical Missions Alliance.   Yohannan is slated to speak at their 2016 conference. Recently, Joy Kim, representing GMMA, told me that the GMMA board has been deliberating about Yohannan’s role at the Irvine conference in late June.

Jerry Falwell, Jr Endorses Donald Trump for President; Trump Still Leads in Evangelical Support

Shrewd move Jerry Jr.
Many will scratch their heads. Some will complaint and maybe stage a protest. Some donors will stop giving to Liberty but The Donald will no doubt make that up going forward.
In a CNN poll dropped today, Donald Trump leads all others among evangelicals with 39% favoring him. I think I understand this now.
Trump is rich and famous. These are two values celebrated among modern evangelical pastors. Trump is the perfect candidate for those who equate wealth and fame with God’s favor. Millions of people have been conditioned to admire wealth and fame as measures of success in the church. A big ministry must mean big blessing. Trump seems made for evangelical prime time.
On one hand, I am glad that a majority evangelicals are so far resisting the dominionist calls of Ted “Anointed” Cruz, but on the other, they are moving toward the new values of the church: wealth and fame. Instead of moving toward an ideologically less pure but experienced candidate like John Kasich, the church is distracted by the promises and pretty lights of Trump Towers.