Discredited historian and Christian extremist David Barton claims atheism is a religion and should be banned from public schools because it violates the separation of church and state guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don’t we say ‘hey, we can’t teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave. I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.’
Or why don’t we say ‘hey, I don’t see any prayers going at graduation; that’s atheism! I demand separation of church and state. Atheism has chaplains, they’re a religion. Get atheism out of the schools.’
For many, the claim that scientific theories such as Darwinism and evolution constitute a religion is simply nonsensical, as is the rather tortured claim that not offering formal prayers in public schools is somehow an explicit endorsement of atheism, and thus a violation of the separation of church and state. Such claims flirt with absurdity, and it is hard to imagine how conservative Christians embrace such nonsense, yet many do.
Hemant Mehta, at the Friendly Atheist blog, offered the following response to Barton’s confused and convoluted claims:
Using David Barton’s logic, unemployment is a job and abstinence is a sex position.
Look: If we wanted to push atheism in school, students would have to pledge that we’re a nation under “no God.” No one is suggesting that. Not praying isn’t an homage to atheism and neither is teaching proper science.
Barton has a BA in religious education from Oral Roberts University but otherwise has no formal education in History or the US Constitution. However, Barton poses as a historian in order to promote his discredited brand of Christian revisionism to gullible Christians willing to sacrifice historical truth for a false history that promotes Christianity at the expense of historical reality.
Christian publisher Thomas Nelson ended the publication and distribution of Barton’s book, “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson,” because of gross historical inaccuracies and outright fabrications.
According to the New York Times, Barton’s book,”The Jefferson Lies”, was voted “the least credible history book in print” by readers of the History News Network. Even conservative Christian scholars challenged the “facts” presented in Barton’s book. Indeed, it is common knowledge that Barton’s books and videos contain ”embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”