David Barton Blames Slavery in the U.S. on ‘Progressives’

One of the problems encountered by Christian nationalist pseudo-historians like David Barton is how to address the issue of slavery. After all, the core of Barton’s message is that the Founders of this nation were good Christian men who intended to create a good Christian country but this narrative conflicts with the simple fact that many of those same Founders owned slaves.

While modern Christians like Barton no longer believe that the Bible condones slavery, many of the American Christians who owned slaves certainly believed that it did. As such, Barton has traditionally had difficulty addressing the issue.

But recently, Barton appears to have hit upon a novel new argument that he seems to believe finally allows him to continue to deliver his core Christian nationalist message by blaming the existence of slavery in the United States on “progressives.”

Last month, Barton unveiled a new presentation at the Truth & Liberty Coalition’s conference in Colorado, where he compared and contrasted the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, by “professing Christians” in 1607 to the founding of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts by “biblical Christians” in 1620.

Using an antislavery map created in 1888, Barton claimed that Jamestown was “founded on money” and therefore become the source of all of this nation’s evils.

“Look what came out of that colony: avarice and lust and ignorance and superstition and rebellion and secession,” Barton said. “And you got things like the Dred Scott decision, Kansas-Nebraska Act, all these negative things. That’s what swept across the South. That’s where the biggest slavery thing was, and that impact of Jamestown spread all throughout that area, and it was not a biblical impact, it was a money impact. That’s what motivated them do what they did.”

“Recall that these were professing Christians, all the bad things they did, they were still professing Christianity,” Barton added, contrasting the “profession Christians” of Jamestown to the “biblical Christians” of the Plymouth Colony.

“This is the one founded on the Bible and look at all the good things there: intelligence, obedience, law, equal rights, love of country, philanthropy, benevolence, happiness, patience, charity, faith, hope, peace, honor, truth, virtue, all that good,” Barton declared. “That’s what swept across the nation. That’s what characterized America was what came out of the Pilgrims, not what came out of Jamestown.”

“What came out of Jamestown is what characterized the 11 states in the South that became the Confederacy,” Barton proclaimed. “What came out of the Bible is what characterized the rest of the nation that stopped that stuff.”

In an effort to drive home the point, Barton declared that the “professing Christians” of Jamestown were anything but and were, in fact, the equivalent of modern-day “progressives.”

“As you look at Jamestown, there’s not a whole lot to be said positively about them,” Barton said. “They were very elitist. They were very socialistic. They were pro-slavery. They were definitely big government, and they were very group conscious. That’s the way progressives are.”

Barton’s attempt to claim that the founders of Jamestown were a bunch of phony Christians is interesting considering that Christian nationalists routinely cite the erection of the Cape Henry Memorial Cross as proof that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

In fact, just this year, a group of Christian nationalists held a “re-covenanting” ceremony on the anniversary of the founding of Jamestown at which “essentially America remarries God via the original ‘1607 First Landing Covenant of Dedication.’”

One of the speakers at that event? David Barton.

This is further evidence that Barton has no interest in presenting accurate history to his right-wing Christian audiences but is rather primarily interested in feeding them a false narrative regarding the founding of this nation that serves primarily to promote his own modern-day right-wing political agenda.

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