On his Fox News show today, Glenn Beck hosted members of his bigoted "Black Robe Regiment" to hype his upcoming "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel. Of particular note, one of his guests was David Barton, who twice spoke to the anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement and whose claim that the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian Nation has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League.
Here's a sampling from tonight's show, in which one of Beck's guests says that "the church has really captured the true heart of the covenant with Abraham." Moments later, Barton says "the more Biblical groups" will stand with Israel, but "those that have denied Biblical tradition, Biblical Christianity, Biblical anything" will not stand with Israel:
Beck has called Barton "the most important man in America today" and claimed that Barton inspired him to form the Black Robe Regiment. Barton also has a history of Republican Party activism and virulently anti-gay rhetoric. Additionally, Barton has also hosted a member of MassResistance, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an anti-gay "hate group" on his radio-show.
But that's not all. In the context of the Israel rally, which Beck has said could help show Israel that "the gas chambers won't happen again," it is important to recall what the ADL uncovered about Barton.
In its 1994 book, The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance & Pluralism in America, the ADL wrote that Barton "purveys a slick, cut-and-paste revisionist history of the United States and the Constitution." ADL further stated that Barton spoke at events hosted by the Christian Identity movement, which "asserts that Jews are 'the synagogue of Satan'; that Blacks and other people of color are subhuman; and that northern European whites and their American descendants are the 'chosen people' of scriptural prophesy."
Barton later said he was not aware that the events were hosted by groups with a racist ideology and "that with as many as 400 speaking engagements a year, he cannot do background checks on each of the invitations he receives," according to an April 10, 1996, article in The Seattle Times (retrieved via Nexis).
In Religious Right, the ADL also said that "Barton's 'scholarship,' like that of Holocaust denial and Atlantic slave trade conspiracy-mongering is rigged to arrive at predetermined conclusions, not history." From The Religious Right:
[Barton's] ostensible scholarship functions in fact as an assault on scholarship: in the manner of other recent phony revisionisms, the history it supports is little more than a compendium of anecdotes divorced from their original context, linked harum-scarum and laced with factual errors and distorted innuendo. Barton's "scholarship," like that of Holocaust denial and Atlantic slave trade conspiracy-mongering is rigged to arrive at predetermined conclusions, not history.
Barton has also said questionable things about Islam. In a report purporting to give the "historical perspective" on Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) decision to be sworn in with a Quran, Barton said:
Ellison may not have the same beliefs as the Muslims who openly decry and even attack America; nevertheless, their behavior reflects on him. It is therefore understandable that citizens outside his district are highly concerned. This concern was heightened by the fact that Ellison himself publicly flaunted his abrogation of American precedent by making his swearing-in on the Koran a national issue. After all, the ceremonial swearing-in is always a private ceremony, and what he did there would not have been an issue; however, he chose to make that private ceremony a public demonstration in the face of all Americans. Did any of the other 434 Members make a national issue of what they would do in their private swearing-in? No, only Ellison; he therefore should not decry the national controversy that he created.
Furthermore, the religion of Islam, both past and present, has yet to demonstrate that it is friendly to a free government and a free people.
Barton later added: "From a societal standpoint, there should be more concern over elected officials who are secularists and will swear an oath on no religious book, than for Muslims who swear on the Koran."