Did Your Tax Dollars Pay for This David Barton Conference?

Look at this tweet.

Periodically, David Barton and his Wallbuilders organization bring together state and federal legislators for briefings and pep talks about how to promote the Christian nationalist legislative agenda. This is of course is how grassroots politics works and he has every right to do it. He can tell them aliens founded the nation if he wants to.

Although I have never heard him say anything about aliens, he does teach things which are troubling. For instance, he teaches that American judges should rule according to God’s law.  You hear echos of this in Trump’s recent appointment to the post of Acting Attorney General. When running for Senate, then candidate Mathew Whitaker said he believed judges needed to have a biblical view of justice (no, a Constitutional view is the standard). Did he take a class with Barton? I don’t know. But I do know that Barton’s teachings have influenced Christian nationalism for decades. Despite a disgraced book pulled by his Christian publisher, a fake PhD claim, and multiple debunkings, he continues to have tremendous influence among those who are now in positions of great power.

Although I don’t know what he said to the legislators about immigration and the states, he has talked about this before on his Wallbuilders Live show (which is taped). This claim is a doozy because he has to butcher Thomas Jefferson’s words to make both healthcare and immigration state functions. I have an entire post on this which you can read here.

Did your legislator attend this meeting? If so, did your tax dollars pay for it? Might be worth checking into.




89 thoughts on “Did Your Tax Dollars Pay for This David Barton Conference?”

  1. Reading his tweet, I see that Barton’s phony PhD did not teach him the difference between the words “role” and “roll”.
    In return, I will say “What a looser!”

  2. I don’t know how to find out, since my (indicted) congresscon no longer answers my letters.

  3. Greetings everyone,

    I think the best way to deal with the ‘Doc’ is to point out what a Christian Nation means. Let’s start with Keeping the Sabath Holy. Look as the ‘Blue Laws’ of New England. You were expected to spend some serious time in church on Sunday. These drive by services where you pickup a latte between the kid’s sporting events won’t cut it.
    A few of the Constitutional amendments might include:
    Banning sports and other events (besides Church services) on Sunday.
    Marriage is between an man and a woman and is insoluble (What you say at the alter is what you live by) – No more running off to the Court House to pretend it never happened.
    Let’s try and build a comprehensive list what the Doc’s utopia will include. I think that more than anything would put the brakes on him. I think if he was called out on this stuff, he would be hard pressed to explain away the details.

    Have a safe and reflective Thanksgiving!
    — CJ

    1. I am not in favor of a “Christian nation” theory at all, but Blue Laws were never Christian in a biblical sense. That is the one commandment of the Decalogue that is not repeated for Christians. It is OT only and OT people weren’t Christians. There is not Christian prohibition on what people do on Sundays. And marriage is not “insoluble.” The NT does allow for divorce in multiple circumstances.

      Many people fail to note the difference between the OT Law for the nation of Israel and the NT revelation for the church. The NT specifically declares the OT Law to not be in force. Theonomists or reconstructionists have no biblical leg to stand on.

      1. Hey, we agree about something.

        Christian nationalists fail in many ways, but you highlight their failure to define what kind of Christian nation they want. Many want an Old Testament law nation, some want a NT nation, some just say the words because they sound good to constituents. For instance, Joel McDurmon, a reconstructionist, is frightened of dominionists. They sound similar to the uninformed but they are worlds apart on important issues.

      2. Greetings LD,
        I hope you are having a reflective Thanksgiving.

        While I might personally agree with you, I will point out that ‘Christians’ have used the story of Genisis as proof of God’s creation of the earth in x number of days and as such it should be taught in public schools. Plus lets look at the ‘Christian’ default answer of ‘It’s in the Bible.’

        They are very adamant about their right to refuse certain small minorities good and services, but they don’t extent those same restrictions to the general population. The Bible doesn’t say running off to the Court House voids your Holy Bonds made to him and the person standing next to you. Most wedding vows are a pretty tight contract and don’t mention or imply that there are any escape clauses.

        The bigger issue here is not what ‘Christians’ currently believe – they have changed their mind about divorce in the last 50+ years. Read your history – interest was forbidden as well. The bigger point is what it can be twisted into by people who have an agenda. Fine points of theology don’t matter when people are pounding on your door.

        Again – the Doc is playing to an audience that wants to use ‘Christianity’ as a weapon against those ‘other’ people. You start inserting things like the Blue Laws and the historic negative view of divorce and I think you get those people realizing that they would rather live in the present than some factionalized past that never existed.

        Have a good holiday!
        — CJ

        1. Thanks CJ. I confess that I am not quite following some of your objections.

          For instance you say that they are adamant about their right to refuse certain small minorities goods and services but don’t extend those same restrictions to the general population. I think the “right” there is the civil right to live by their conscience, but they don’t think that others should be forced to live by another’s conscience. That’s not unique to Christians. It extends to everyone in the USA. As for divorce, the Bible does say that divorce is permissible that the holy bonds are voided in some cases.

          I suppose I would say that many “Christians” see things differently and in that, some of them are wrong. I may be one of them. But the bigger point is that some things are not Christian at all, even if Christians claim them. And in our society, all religions are supposed to be protected by law.

          I don’t know much about David Barton. I have never read or listened to anything by him. The only thing I know about him is from reading Warren’s blog here. But if someone is arguing for the reinstitution of OT Law because we are a Christian nation, they need to understand that the OT Law was never for Christians at all. It was for Israel living in ancient times. It wouldn’t even make sense in our modern world.

          1. Greetings LT,
            I do understand your points and my point (more or less) boils down to this: There are cafeteria ‘Christians’ out there that are hijacking Christianity for there own ends and Christians are by and large letting them because the pick ‘other people’. I feel that if you load their plate with additional Christian ideals and apply it to everyone, then the discussion gets interesting.
            Example: Gay Marriage – Marriage is between and man and a woman and are bound by the vows at the alter.
            My point: The vows at the alter are a pretty tight contract. Current view is it is ok to run off to the Court House and pretend it’s over. That is not Christian and I would say the vast majority of divorces don’t come anywhere close to the NT grounds for divorce. What is more important to society – making a stink about a minority when the majority are a pretty bad example and haven’t cleaned up their house? Think of the good that could be done if ‘Christians’ took the lead and tackled issues like domestic violence and single parent homes.
            I agree that many things in the Bible don’t make sense in the modern world, but the cry of ‘It’s in the Bible’ is used to justify a lot of nonsense. The Bible doesn’t talk about health care or birth control. It does talk about the laying of hands to cure people. Why in our Nation Health Care debates didn’t people fight for a primary care Faith Healer? Shouldn’t it have been a point for the Hobby Loby – a Christian Business to have/require it?
            Again the discussion gets interesting when you expand it just a little.
            — CJ

  4. While I’m essentially libertarian and I think David Barton is a ding dong (in a cowboy hat… heh), he isn’t doing anything that many liberal Christians don’t do when they constantly appeal to the Bible to say why we need to take in refugees and illegal border crossers, expand food stamps and welfare benefits, etc. They love a good theocracy, as long as it is a leftist theocracy. This is wrong, because as many MSNBC hosts will tell you, we do not set national policy on immigration according to the Bible. We base our immigration laws on the inscription on the Statue of Liberty.

    1. War-El, your comments illustrate an issue which I’ve often noticed with libertarians, basically “a pox on both your houses.” That is to present an unrealistic negative equivalence to all sides of an issue which enables one to skip the messy business of taking an imperfect but necessary stand. I have no support for making national policy based solely on biblical principles, though what we come up with may very well coincide with them. However, there is simply no way one can honestly compare the degree to which liberal and conservative Christianity have distorted our country’s history without finding exponentially greater danger from the latter.

      FWIW, it has been my observation that the instances when liberal Christianity makes those claims to which you refer, it is by way of rebuttal against some sort of biblical (usually OT) substantiation of a conservative policy. In other words, the discussion has already been brought into the arena of scripture when the rebuttal takes place. That is not to say that the reverse never happens, only that it is an incredibly lopsided issue.

      1. I disagree 100%. I see no reason to choose one of two sides when I disagree with both for reasons I can plainly articulate, and when I can also outline what I would prefer to see done instead and why. Most of the time, being asked if one supports the articulated Republican or the Democrat agenda is like being asked, “Do you want it in the face, or in the gut?”

        In general, I find that liberals, conservatives, and libertarians desperately need each other, and when I hear any of them acting as if they have the moral high ground I find it utterly absurd. I am essentially libertarian only in proportion to a lack of direct accountability to the public. So locally I am a socialist, and at the federal level I am a libertarian, and none of those approaches is objectively wrong in all circumstances.

        That you see one side as plainly worse than the other is a product of specific biases and preferences. Which I understand, because I suffer from it, too.

        1. That you see one side as plainly worse than the other is a product of specific biases and preferences.

          To some extent, this could be said of anything. However, there can be no doubt that each side has at times been objectively more “wrong” than the other. During the period when the Democratic Party favored segregation, they were objectively wrong and it would have been absurd to pull back from both sides and say they were equally so.

          We are a dual party system and, even with this mess we are living through, will likely continue to be. While it can be frustrating, a look at other systems gives me pause at the idea of multiple parties. I think your response certainly represents a major factor in 2016, and might do the same in 2020. It is simply one with which I disagree wholeheartedly. I think we have to resist the temptation of equivalence. I have voted GOP in the past for the same reason, and I think it was the right decision at the time.

          Note, I don’t mean to imply that anyone should whitewash the negatives that do exist, or to feign excitement or support where there is none. Only that we have to work within the system we have or we have all lost.

    2. Yeah, like Tacitus, I am not aware of any left leaning Reconstructionists. Can you name any?

      1. Warren, I’m not sure if you just adore an easy target like David Barton or other demonstrably off base Fundy kooks, or if you really think they present a singular threat to the United States. If it’s the latter, your thinking is too constrained by category.

        My comment was really just a jab at the likes of Jim Wallis or Rachel Held Evans who are constantly chiseling Jesus and the Scriptures so that both agree with their politics, and then informing conservative Christians that they (the conservatives) have both Jesus and the Bible all wrong. It would be hilarious if they weren’t dead serious. They would never advocate for a theocracy based on the Bible because they themselves would never submit to it on anything less than their own terms. They are more than happy, however, to carry water for leftist identity politics and globalist ideology, and wrap it in the Bible.

        The issue is not theocracy. It’s authoritarianism. What one uses as a basis or justification for authoritarianism is utterly irrelevant, whether it is a holy book or a secular ideology. So if you are truly suggesting that there is no leftist authoritarianism that presents a more formidable threat to liberty or individual rights than David Barton or his acolytes, you do not read widely enough.

        1. “The issue is not theocracy. It’s authoritarianism.”

          No, the issue Warren has brought up IS theocracy. You are inappropriately trying to change the topic to avoid the concerns Warren brings up. No one has claimed there are no extremists on the left. Just that such extremists are not pushing for a theocracy the way the christian fundamentalists/reconstructionist./dominionists/etc are. Further these extremists on the left have not gotten a cowardly, narcissistic, conman elected to the office of president.

          1. You are correct. “…the way…” is different. The result is identical. The likelihood of success? Far greater for many leftist avenues to authoritarianism than for Barton’s, which has MANY barriers to entry due to the fact that what he is saying is factually incorrect, AND because he wears a cowboy hat that is too big for his head and body and makes him look like Woody on Toy Story. In fact, leftist authoritarianism is already entrenched in institutions of influence.

            “…extremists on the left have not gotten a cowardly, narcissistic, conman elected to the office of president.” <<< That's a debatable point.

          2. what president has this “infamous left” of yours gotten elected that you believe is comparable to Trump?

          3. No one compares to Trump on certain matters, so I’m happy to grant you that. But I can definitely identify cowardice, narcissism, and some conning in recent Democrat Presidents. Let’s get real here.

          4. Because you think Trump is a theocrat? I can’t follow what you think the line of connection is there.

          5. No, I didn’t say Trump was a theocrat. I said he got into power (in part) because of right wing christian conservatives who ARE theocrats. An example of a result that is not “identical” to results by these “left-wing christians” you are trying to portray as being just as bad as Barton et. al.

          6. To the degree that evangelicals/fundies/right-wing christians are theocrats, I am personally more interested in the fact that they supported a candidate who is kind of at odds with their aims in so many substantive ways. But I do tend to think that most Christians who might sound pretty theocratic, when they are pressed to think through particular issues, are actually fairly committed to Western liberal ideals. I heard Dan Savage taking questions once, and an older lady in the audience stood up and asked him how he could say that homosexual sex was morally okay when the Bible forbids it. Savage said something like, “The Bible also says that gays should be killed. Do you think I should be killed?” And she said, “Oh, no, you seem like a very charming young man.” That about as far as most theocratic leanings in Christians actually go.

          7. I agree that the majority of christians in the US aren’t trying to create a theocracy. However, this discussion is about the influential minority that are. People like Barton who think christianity is “equaler” than other religions in the US, that students should be forced to listen to/recite christian prayers in school, that it is fine for christian symbols to be displayed in government buildings, etc. Further, that anyone who tries to deny them these things is waging a “War on Christianity.”

          8. It’s tough. I understand the sentiment, in that I personally want a Christmas Tree in the public library (although I would never become combative about it!) I like it, and it feels like my country’s tradition. But I also fully understand the counterargument, and I think for some people it will take having to choose between all faiths on display or no faiths on display. It will be interesting to see if we can identify a core of values and traditions that unify us without leaving everyone feeling adrift. I think we can, and it won’t require rewriting history. Our Constitutional ideals are both a tradition and a way forward.

        2. I understand posts like this in the context of Warren’s agenda in respect of ‘whistle-blowing’ on people who (in his view, and mine as it happens) pervert Christianity for political and/or financial ends.

          Noone here doubts that, for example, socialist ideology can lead – and arguably has led – to authoritarian systems of government. But Warren is not writing as a ‘good Socialist’ criticizing the behaviour of those whom he believes are undermining his cause; he is seeking honestly to address problems within his own religion.

          It is a never a defence of one person’s wrongdoing to say “others do it do” (even if that is true!).

        3. Question: Are Wallis and Evans seeking to impose a political system on the entire nation? Or are they promoting certain policies and programmes, whilst accepting that the current constitutional order should continue to be the means of formulating, scrutinizing and regulating public policy? (I think it is the latter!) The distinction is an important one.

          1. I think it varies, depending on how entrenched they are in leftist ideology. There are absolutely leftists who want a thorough reordering of society according to their ideology, but they are intelligent enough to articulate their views carefully.

            Once when Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator, he gave an answer (as part of an event panel) in which he explained that a goal of the Democratic party should be to broaden government welfare benefits to include some of the middle class, not just the poor. That way, he explained, the interests of the middle class would be better aligned with those of the poor, creating a large, motivated voting block. One might not even notice that what he just said was that his party should push to create more dependency on the government so that they can buy more Democrat votes with public money.

          2. My question was concerned with the constitutional order. Turning the USA into a ‘religious’ state would mean constitutional change. Introducing certain policies (eg. the provision of welfare benefits, such as support with childcare costs, for middle-class families at the lower end of the income spectrum) could be achieved through ‘normal’ democratic processes within the provisions of the Constitution.

            Of course, any ‘leftist’ who wishes to introduce a one-party state would indeed be an opponent of the constitutional order.

            That said, it is, strictly speaking, irrelevant to this post, which is about the possible effective subsidizing by the taxpayer of a conference that, in the view of many, advocates a form of government that would be unconstitutional. Of course, Barton has the legal right to advocate changes to the constitutional order, and maybe even to receive a kind of ‘welfare benefit’ from the US taxpayer in the exercise of that right. But it is important that the aforementioned taxpayers understand what might be being done with their money. And that is what this port is about.

          3. I still do not see how you are creating any daylight whatsoever between far leftist advocacy for reordering America which in some way benefits from government funds and the subject of Warren’s post, except that you regard some such advocacy as desirable or benign. How difficult do you suppose it would be, for instance, to find advocates of repealing the Second Amendment or curbing First Amendment-protected free speech in the name of tolerance, speaking to congressional members or being subsidized by public funds on a state university campus? It’s everywhere, on both sides.

          4. Have I, on this post, expressed an opinion on the relative desirability of different political agendas? I don’t think so! Have you perhaps lapsed into making assumptions?!

            This post is about certain activities of Barton & Co, and the possibility of those activities having received support from public funds. Whether others may have received such support is not strictly relevant to this post.

          5. If what you are saying is, “Did Barton benefit from public funds of any kind? Because if he did, then that is pretty much exactly what we would expect, since he is just one of a thousand kooks from both extremes of the political spectrum pitching total crap in the nation’s capital,” then yes, I accept your stated position of dispassionate neutrality. However, if there is no disfavor towards Barton’s stances or his receipt of public funds implied in the blog title, then there is basically zero reason for this blog post to exist.

          6. I am not neutral, of course! (Who is?) The use of public funds to back those advocating programmes that might help lower-income middle class folk to juggle the various demands of their lives is far more agreeable to me than the use of public funds to back someone who pushes a political agenda that seeks to bring about the effective sponsorship by the state of one particular religion. The latter is IMO a clear threat to freedom of conscience, although I would of course be delighted if everyone chose freely to be a Christian.

            The reason for the post’s existence is to inform people what might be going on in respect of the use of tax dollars. If you want to give information about other individuals or organizations, then you are free to do so. And maybe there is a touch of irony about the likes of Barton possibly getting a helping hand from the state … Reminds me a little of those British anti-EU Members of the European Parliament enjoying their (taxpayer-funded) salaries and expense accounts … until 29 March 2019 (assuming no delays – lol).

          7. Here is your daylight:

            “to find advocates of repealing the Second Amendment”

            Barton et. al. aren’t talking about repealing the 1st Amendment (or otherwise changing the constitution), they are claiming it doesn’t apply to “non-christians.” These “leftists” you are suggesting want to repeal the 2nd Amend (although, I don’t think all advocates of gun control would qualify as “leftists”), are at least attempting to work within the strictures of the government to effect change. Barton et. al want to IGNORE (or rather mis-represent to say what they want) the parts of the constitution they find “inconvenient.”

          8. Re: Barton et. al want to IGNORE (or rather mis-represent to say what they want) the parts of the constitution they find “inconvenient.”

            I’m still utterly baffled at how you can think that particular leftist concerns don’t do this very thing, but that’s where we’ll have to leave it. I am convinced that both the far left and the far right would love to remake the Constitution. Which, IMO, is good evidence that it is working well. It also makes me grateful that the bar for Constitutional editing is very high.

          9. “I’m still utterly baffled at how you can think that particular leftist concerns don’t do this very thing,”

            Because you said it yourself, the “leftists” you are talking about want to CHANGE the constitution, not ignore it the way Barton et. al. do.

            You keep claiming, without evidence that the “leftists” are just as bad as Barton and the fundamentalists like him. You want me to believe that then show me.

            Show me an large “leftist” organization (comparable to the Wall builders+Focus on the Family+other such fundamentalist orgs). that distorts history and other facts in an attempt to ignore basic constitutional principles and push their own agenda on the whole US population.

            Show me the far-left conferences that get government reps to PAY to attend, like Warren has with this post.

            Show me the cowardly conmen politicians (comparable to Trump) these groups have gotten elected.

            Citing a few off the wall columnists doesn’t cut it.

          10. I’ll try to track it down for you. It’s a few sentences buried in the middle of a long YouTube video, but I’d like to have it myself since I have referred to it many times in conversations with people about why I was no fan of Obama from early on. The context was the political disconnect between lower middle class suburban voters and poor inner city voters in the Chicagoland area, if I’m remembering that aspect correctly. It won’t be today, but I’ll find it.

          11. Yeah, I think that is one that needs to be referenced before taken seriously in debate. I’ll wait for your cite.

          12. This clip is along similar lines, but is not the one I was looking for, as in the section/clip I’m hunting the key phrase is “motivated voters” or a “motivated voting block” composed of the lower middle class and the poor. In this clip he speaks about a coalition between the poor and the bottom fifth of the working class based on assistance, which is in the wheelhouse. Perhaps it comes in another section of this same video, but it’s 3 hours long.

          13. I can’t really determine anything from that sliver of a clip, much less anything nefarious. One needs a more comprehensive expression of the thought and the context in which it is being made. Reply if you find the clip you were talking about, and can pinpoint the bit you referenced and I’ll check it out.

          14. Oh, please do not misunderstand me. I do not think Obama viewed this as nefarious in any way, nor would anyone who believes that it is the government’s role to supplement the means of those who find themselves incapable of attaining to a particular standard of living. When one views those who are in a position to benefit from government assistance, yet oppose it, as people voting against their own self-interests, then the most natural thing in the world is to attempt to overcome such opposition and then to fortify those changes with majority voter support.

            I am the one who finds it nefarious, because I believe the assistance can become enabling and inefficient, and a stumblingblock to ambition and industriousnesss.

          15. We could argue about all the things that government does (or in some cases did) to encourage a healthy middle class, i.e. mortgage tax credits, low interest loans, tuition loans, progressive income tax, etc, but again I don’t see anything in that clip that really represents enough of an idea or discussion to comment on.

            I am the one who finds it nefarious, because I believe the assistance can become enabling and inefficient, and a stumblingblock to ambition and industriousnesss.

            Is there legitimate data to bear this out? I mean, “can” is vague. If it were in 2% of the recipients, well that means it “can” be so, but is there any legitimate data to show that what you say is true in a significant percentage, enough to outweigh the benefits to those who need it?

          16. I can give you some anecdotal evidence. I was a partner in a screen printing business from 1996 to 2005, and it was pretty successful… automated with multiple lines of production, etc. We had a trained full time staff (who, I might add, had health insurance and a 401k plan with a percentage match from us, depite the fact that the owners were not exactly getting rich). But regardless, that kind of job was not a career for your typical person. Our best employees were either older and had crashed and burned somehow, or else they were just on their way to something else. Consequently, we hired people for full time work that others might not. We didn’t drug test, because I don’t believe that’s an employer’s business. If I see you stoned at work, you’re fired. We hired high school dropouts, with caveats.

            My business partner was a great fatherly kind of guy, and he would hire a dropout on the condition that they get their GED, and then he would start talking to them about vocational training or college, and he really tried to get people moving up and out of our place if that’s what they wanted. Some of these guys had multiple children by different women (I literally had a conversation with an employee who was waiting on test results to find out if he fathered a kid after a night of drinking, and was laughing about it), and the women were on welfare. Typically they lived with a woman but maintained an apartment or “lived at home” so as not to interrupt the welfare benefits for their kids. They did not see this as gaming the system, it’s just what everyone in their lives did.

            My bus partner would start working on them… things like, “You just got a Christmas bonus. Instead of getting another tattoo or buying video games, put it in the bank. Then when your car dies in two months, you’ll have the money to fix it.” All kinds of stuff like that. This was new information and encouragement to these kids that they were never going to get while subsisting in the welfare zone. Their parents were usually on welfare, and they grew up on welfare. It is hard work being ignorant, very stressful, and very painful. When these guys found out how much easier life is when you make some wise choices, it was like the lightbulb turned on in their brains.

            That kind of ignorance was epidemic in the rural area where I grew up, and those folks were not even beset by all of the societal dysfunction of living in a city ghetto or a public housing development. I don’t know how many people I have personally known who were on welfare or food stamps… maybe 100 or more? But of those, only a few college kids who were getting benefits while attending school were actually doing anything at all to improve their situation. I knew one woman who received WIC for a short time, and then got off of it.

            I actually care about people. I don’t care that people get “free stuff”, and I do not think the country is going broke because single moms get free cans of corn. The welfare I hate is the welfare that bankers and corporations get, not stoners. But I have just seen too much misery and laziness made possible by government’s indiscriminate and aimless welfare benefits. I mean, if you had a kid with potential who was just screwing up, would you give him/her some tough love, or just keep writing checks?

          17. Because your previous post seemed to indicate you were NOT aware of this legislation and the changes in the welfare system since it was enacted. Your posts indicate you believe the misleading, old claims about how the welfare system locks people into a cycle of poverty, how it “keeps the black man down”, how democrats only support it because they want the “black vote” and other such nonsense.

          18. For one thing, I was speaking about white people. Whatever thing you have going on with “the black man” and the “black vote”, you’ll have to figure out on your own.

            Are you somehow under the impression that there are not individuals who never work (unless it is under the table) and yet receive uninterrupted welfare benefits sufficient to live in perpetuity? I do not know if they game the system, or if the system is full of loopholes, but there are families who have NEVER worked, and yet have been on welfare for generations.

          19. Nope, I never said there weren’t people who game the system. I’m sure there are. However, I doubt they are representative of the typical welfare recipient. I know there are a lot of hard working people who are still on welfare (generally food stamps) because they don’t earn a subsistence wage. There are even public school teachers who need welfare support.

            “there are families who have NEVER worked, and yet have been on welfare for generations.”

            Where can I get the details on these “generational welfare families”?

          20. Re: Where can I get the details on these “generational welfare families”?

            By growing up with them and personally working to transition them from welfare to work, per my previous comment. You could also try living in a trailer park as an adult, which I have done.

          21. You could also try living in a trailer park as an adult, which I have done.

            Just as an aside, this is somewhat of a stereotype as well. Here in Florida, there are a lot of “trailer parks” (called mobile homes mostly) and a great percentage are rather nice. To be sure, as with fixed structure housing, there are depressed areas as well.

          22. *Ahem*. Let me rephrase that: “Low income trailer park full of families on public assistance, in a low income county, with many trailers that are rentals, and not a retirement park or a surprisingly tidy trailer park exhibiting all the hallmarks of pride of ownership.”

          23. I was pretty sure what you meant, I was just pointing out the stereotype. It’s a somewhat sensitive issue in this area so probably others as well.

          24. So nothing but your own biases to support your claims. As I suspected.

            I’ve also known many families that lived in mobile homes. Some on welfare (I’m assuming) and some not (which I know). Some who do fit the stereotype you are pushing, but many who did not. However, none of that is particularly relevant to this discussion, other than to point out YOUR personal experiences clearly do not make you an expert on people who live in mobile homes or the welfare system in the US.

            Your insinuations about people on welfare are not backed by actual data, but rather your personal biases. Further, I suspect if you actually looked past those biases you would see that the problems you described are caused by far more than a simplistic “welfare dependency” problem, but rather a societal system that all to often neglects those in the lower income brackets.

          25. …the problems you described are caused by far more than a simplistic “welfare dependency” problem, but rather a societal system that all to often neglects those in the lower income brackets.

            I believe this is an important point to consider in this discussion.

          26. I don’t claim to be “an expert” on you. I am merely pointing out how your posts indicate your biases against those on welfare. Nothing in your followup posts have indicated my initial assumptions were incorrect.

          27. I’m sorry, but relating my personal experiences does not indicate bias. If I tell you that my family lives in Flynt, Michigan (they don’t) and had lead in their water, that does not make me biased against public works or mean that I believe all municipalities have lead in the water. It’s just a fact. A fact that should be addressed, not dismissed by saying that most people have perfectly safe water.

            You appear to have a bias against reality which does not square with your worldview. I knew a man who was on disability, but worked full time for cash under the table. That is a fact. I also used to shoot pool with a guy who was on disability for a bad back, but could play pool for hours, almost every day. Another fact. That doesn’t mean I think that disability benefits are bad, or that all disability recipients are screwing the taxpayer or being subsidized and enabled to an immoral degree. But if I personally had met several dozen people on disability, and only a few were actually disabled, I’d start to question the particulars of the program.

            I have not met several dozen people on disability, but I have met many more than that who receive welfare benefits, and in all but a few cases, there was nothing preventing those individuals from going to Walmart and getting a job, just like my mom did in her sixties. In all but a few cases, welfare was a lifestyle, not a temporary form of assistance.

            This reminds of Thanksgiving, when I listened to a neighbor who is on Medicare talk about Obamacare and how horrible Republicans are to want to change it (personally, I do not think Republicans have a clue how to fix it). I’m a polite person, so I didn’t engage her except to ask her a few questions just to help me understand just how much she didn’t know. I happen to be on Obamacare, and have been since the beginning.

          28. “relating my personal experiences does not indicate bias.”

            that is correct. Your initial posts on the subject of welfare recipients indicate your bias. Your attempting to support those claims by citing personal experiences only demonstrates your claims are based on your biases and not actual data.

            “I’d start to question the particulars of the program.”

            That is the problem you HAVEN’T questioned the particulars of the program. You have just used these few examples to insinuate they are representative of the entire program. You have no data to support any such claim. You haven’t looked beyond your own personal biases based on these few examples.

            how many people are on welfare in this country?
            how many of those people actually have jobs but still need assistance?
            how many are in the situations you describe?
            how did the PRWOR act effect the welfare system?

            I doubt you know the answers to any of these questions. I don’t believe you questioned anything.

          29. Yes, I am quite serious. I believe you have taken a few bad examples and incorrectly used them to form incorrect views about the welfare system in the US.

          30. I would say that I have taken some substantive true examples from over a long period of time and various vantage points, and have arrived at some misgivings about the welfare system. The misgivings I have are not idiosyncratic in the least, which would probably give me pause, but are instead shared by a great many people who actually do have a mastery of the broader facts. I know better than to draw concrete conclusions about the whole from the particulars of a part, but do not see how any conclusions about the whole would invalidate the reality of the part.

            If you think I am mistaken, and have links to any YouTube material I can listen to, I would definitely do that (my reading list is already overwhelming but I can listen to YouTube while I work).

          31. “relating my personal experiences does not indicate bias.”

            that is correct. Your initial posts on the subject of welfare recipients indicate your bias. Your attempting to support those claims by citing personal experiences only demonstrates your claims are based on your biases and not actual data.

            “I’d start to question the particulars of the program.”

            That is the problem you HAVEN’T questioned the particulars of the program. You have just used these few examples to insinuate they are representative of the entire program. You have no data to support any such claim. You haven’t looked beyond your own personal biases based on these few examples.

            how many people are on welfare in this country?
            how many of those people actually have jobs but still need assistance?
            how many are in the situations you describe?
            how did the PRWOR act effect the welfare system?

            I doubt you know the answers to any of these questions. I don’t believe you questioned anything.

          32. Re: Where can I get the details on these “generational welfare families”?

            By growing up with them and personally working to transition them from welfare to work, per my previous comment. You could also try living in a trailer park as an adult, which I have done.

          33. This is the problem with anecdotal evidence though, isn’t it? While it can inspire more detailed study to get at the facts, taken alone it often leads to incorrect, or disproportionate conclusions. No one should be under the misconception that support programs are going to be a perfect solution, but they do address a legitimate need. It is your claim that the good they provide is outweighed by the negative, and I don’t think we can make that assumption without some sort of legitimate data to guide us.

          34. Anecdotal evidence will not give you the big picture, I agree. Unfortunately, the big picture can mask an awful lot of human misery.

          35. Without that “big picture” we may cause much more human misery by disrupting a vital support system. Like anything else, we need the facts before we start tinkering around with it.

            When Gov Scott decided a few years ago that Florida should make drug tests a requirement for welfare benefits, the results were 2.6% and most of that was marijuana. The savings, had they not run into constitutional issues, would not have even paid for the testing. https://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/florida-didnt-save-money-by-drug-testing-welfare-recipients-data-shows/1225721

    3. Wow, that’s a false equivalence of the highest order. I have *never* heard any left wing Christian claiming that government legislation providing social programs for the poor and needy are mandated by the Bible or God’s Law, and I have been around them most of my life.

      There is nothing wrong in supporting political policies (left or right) based on your religious beliefs, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish to what Barton and his theocratic buddies want to institute in Washington. You appear to have let your political prejudices get the better of you in this case. There is simply no such thing as a liberal Dominionist or Reconstructionist.

      1. It is actually quite a widespread view among some Christians that the Bible teaches that the government should provide social programs for the poor or have a particular view of immigration. There is a large segment of people both on the left and the center-right (such as The Gospel Coalition types, Tim Keller, etc.) who argue for this very thing. They are not quite theocrats, but they are close. And you don’t have to read very widely to see it.

        1. Where are you seeing this? I have never seen a left wing denomination or leader claim that social programs, accepting refugees and other center-left causes should be made law because this is a Christian nation and the founders were Christian so these values should be enshrined in law.

          I have seen center-left Christians and denominations throw their support behind policies they see as consistent with the teachings of Jesus. Which is not the same thing at all as claiming such policies should be in place because this is inherently a religious nation and our religious beliefs should drive our government.

          1. Before you 2 get to far down the rabbit hole, I’d like to remind you who you are trying to “debate”

          2. I can’t help but notice that once again you provide nothing of substance and can only launch a personal attack.

          3. >>>Where are you seeing this?<<< At the risk of going down a blackhole with you and your previous unwilligness to engage on actual issues of conversation, I would point out that you misread what I said. I didn't say anything about their advocacy being based on being a Christian nation. I am sure you probably just misread that rather than intentionally misrepresenting what I said. As an example of my point, I would point you to the PCUSA's site on social justice where they are quite clear that they are appealing to the Bible and Christian principles. There are many others as well, but that will give you evidence.

          4. I didn’t say anything about their advocacy being based on being a Christian nation.

            Then you are not replying to the discussion thread and there is no reason to continue discussing this with you. If you have a reply that is on topic, I’ll respond to that.

          5. To the contrary, I was responding to a comment by Tacitus that said nothing about advocacy based on being a Christian nation. You may have missed that comment. But in any case, you simply didn’t read carefully. And true to form, you make a comment that is a personal attack against me rather than staying on topic. I am fine with you not responding, particularly if you are going to claim I am off topic while saying nothing about the topic.

            Nonetheless, the PCUSA is evidence of what I said. Tell me what you think about their presentation of the issue. Or did you not read it?

          6. We aren’t having the discussion you are. Good luck finding discussion partners for your side topic.

          7. You weren’t having a discussion at all. You weren’t a part of this until you decided to not read closely and then attack me rather than discuss which again, is your typical form. Why do that? I have never understood that. If you don’t want to discuss something, then feel free to not say anything. But chiming in simply to attack me is just bizarre.

            But have a nice day anyway. Hope it gets better for you and hope you find someone who wants to discuss what you want to discuss.

        2. On Tim Keller:

          Keller disavows the “social gospel” that has characterized Mainline Protestant churches, which advocates liberal political causes and de-emphasizes the doctrines of sin and substitutionary sacrifice. However he has argued for giving to charitable causes and caring for the needs of the poor based on biblical texts such as the Torah and the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He has critiqued both conservative and liberal politics for having a reductionistic view of the poor.

          I can’t imagine a weaker example of a “liberal theocrat.” David Barton, et al, argue that this country was founded as a Christian nation and that our government should be run under the authority of those scriptures. This is far more pervasive and revisionist than using one’s faith to suggest that charity is a good thing – “not quite theocrats” indeed. If you are saying that there are Americans whose principles (and therefore votes) are influenced by their faith, well that’s fine. It’s just not a theocracy.

  5. I seriously doubt my representatives attended or would believe him if they did. Anna Eshoo, my representative, is descended from recent immigrants from the Middle East, a Chaldean Catholic, pro-choice, and a close ally of Nancy Pelosi. Marc Berman is my state assemblymember and is Jewish and a Democrat. Jerry Hill is my state senator also a Democrat (though he does have an issue with a dodgy doctorate he use to claim). US Senators are Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. Harris is a US born daughter of immigrant parents from India and Jamaica (both with advanced degrees) and lived some of her childhood in Montreal, Canada, before going to Howard University; she is a baptist. Neither Feinstein or Harris seem likely to be taken in by Barton. I expect them more to be targets.

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