Over Two Years Ago, David Barton Claimed to Have an Earned Doctorate

David Barton with Eric Metaxas

I am slipping. I missed the second year anniversary of David Barton announcing to the world he had an earned doctorate and the second year anniversary of the day he removed any evidence from the Internet that he ever claimed he had an earned doctorate.

On September 7 2016, I viewed a video (posted on both his Facebook and You Tube accounts) of Barton claiming he had an earned doctorate he chose not to talk about. Then after I figured out that the degree was from a school that meets the federal definition of a diploma mill and published those findings the next day, he removed the video from his accounts.

The following comes from a post marking the one year anniversary of the announcement.

In the video, Barton chastises progressives for questioning his claim to have an earned doctorate. He said he has an earned doctorate but that he has chosen not to talk about it. However, the next day Barton chose to take the video off of both websites and chose not to talk about the reasons why.
Barton’s haughty claim to have an earned doctorate gave way to silence after it was revealed that the degree came from Life Christian University, a

Life Christian University diploma reflection
Life Christian University diploma reflection

diploma mill. According to the president of Life Christian University, Douglas Wingate, Barton didn’t attend the school but was given credit for his historical writings. Even though one cannot meaningfully call a degree earned when you don’t take any classes, that is exactly what LCU does with famous preachers and religious leaders.

The state of Missouri advised fellow LCU degree recipient Joyce Meyer that her claim of an earned PhD from the school was against state law. Meyer’s lawyer responded that Meyer had already decided that describing the LCU PhD as earned was false. Meyer now describes her LCU degree as honorary. Although that description is legal in Missouri, LCU is not accredited by a Department of Education recognized accrediting body and the status as a university is unusual since the school is registered with the IRS as a church.

Barton called his degree earned but sarcastically dismissed the honest reporting of what he called progressives. Barton has never explained or apologized for his demeaning and misleading statements. Yet, he still claims to be “America’s premier historian.” Would “America’s premier historian” try to pass off what can only be called an honorary degree as an earned one?

As of now, America’s premier historian has chosen not to talk about it.

And over two years later, he’s still not talking.

17 thoughts on “Over Two Years Ago, David Barton Claimed to Have an Earned Doctorate”

    1. Yes, in plenty of ways, but unfortunately, the bubble in which he lives — i.e. the respect and admiration (and money) he gets from plying his trade in the conservative evangelical community — means that he is likely living a very comfortable, contented and (for him) fulfilling life.

  1. While, to his credit, Barton no longer references any of his fake/honorary doctorates on his main bio page at Wallbuilders, I thought I’d take a look at the impressive sounding awards he does talk about:

    The George Washington Honor Medal, granted by the Freedoms Foundation, is awarded in several categories, including winning one of two youth essay contests. This year, the subjects of the essays are: “Why might helping others be an important component of responsible citizenship?” and “Those who join the military take an oath to ‘support and defend the constitution.’ What are the implications for a democratic republic like the US to have a military dedicated to the constitution and its defense?”

    The Daughter’s of the American Revolution Medal of Honor — seemingly valuing patriotism over historical accuracy — is only awarded to native-born American citizens. If you’re only a naturalized American, then you’ll have to make do with the cringe-worthy “Americanism Medal” instead. No information on which one they would have given to President Obama, had anyone nominated him…

    Who’s Who In Education — hmm, which Who’s Who? Well there’s a glowing bio of him on the Worldwide Who’s Who site — https://wwlifetimeachievement.com/2017/05/12/david-barton/ — where you can find dozens more inconsequential “awards” and accolades listed, but this site appears to be nothing more than an award mill (if that’s a thing). One of the company landing pages makes it clear: http://www.wwwhoswho.com/offers/landingpage.aspx (the physical office address matches even if the domain names do not). So someone with intimate knowledge of Barton’s long list of “awards” paid for that page to be posted. I wonder if he ordered a plaque or two while he was at it…?

    I guess there could be something in a more official Who’s Who? but it’s certainly not anything that jumps to the fore when searching through Google.

    Given how readily the conservative organizations dole out awards, you would think even David Barton could come up with a more impressive sample than this paltry lot.

    1. It gets better. From the bio:

      “His work in media has merited several Angel Awards, Telly Awards, and the Dove Foundation Seal of Approval.”

      The Angel Award has been discontinued because not enough people applied for them, you have to pay to apply for the Telly Award and if you win, you have to pay for your statue. The Dove Foundation Seal just means kids can watch the video without seeing or hearing anything naughty. The Foundation doesn’t fact check anything.

      1. So a racist website that claims the civil war had nothing to do with slavery and that blacks are an inferior race could get a Dove Foundation Seal of Approval as long as it doesn’t use the n-word?

        1. That I don’t know. Here is what the COO, Scott Rolfe told me when I checked into it:

          “We do require a review fee when a producer or distributor submits their product to us regardless of the outcome or our ability to award our Dove Seal based upon our criteria. Our fees are much smaller than the MPAA charges for their rating service. Our seals are awarded based upon the content of a film as it compares to our standards and guidelines. We do not “fact check” documentaries for accuracy nor do we comment on doctrinal issues.”

          I assume their guidelines would not allow racist content.

          As an aside, all of the media awards require a fee to be paid to be eligible for the “award.”

  2. The healthiest action for David Barton would be to apply to an actual, accredited graduate program and then do actual historical research. Given Barton’s documented history of lying and fraud, I doubt he’d be qualified to even be granted admission into a legitimate PhD program of study.

    1. Are you kidding? That would require actual work, and be subject to critical review by qualified people, assuming that he could find a program that would accept him. He wouldn’t last a week.

    2. Barton applying to an actual, accredited graduate program? LOL! (Why would he want to? He’s probably making more money the way things are!)

    1. Yes, neither are earned but there would seem to be a big difference between an honorary degree and one from a diploma mill.

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