Mike Huckabee, “historian” 3

OK, class. Time for a discussion question. What, if anything, is wrong with this picture?

Huckabee history site

The graphic comes from a website — Learn Our History — touted by potential Fox News commentator and no-longer-a-GOP- presidential-wannabe Mike Huckabee for the edumacation of the youngsters in This Great (Christian) Nation™.

Huckabee’s been palling around with revisionist “historian” David Barton, whose whole shtick is to convince people that the Founding Fathers (like Franklin, Reagan and Washington, above) really and truly intended the USA to be a Christian Nation run under Biblical Principles. All that stuff about separation of Church and State is a just a lot of hooey, Barton says.

Since the sample videos on Huck’s site are hosted on Youtube, I can’t watch them from here in China. Thankfully. I heard they’re awful. Maybe you can check them out for me, and report back. (500 words, double-spaced, MLA style, due next class)

Here’s another critique of the vids, with the cartoons embedded.

Just in case you’ve been taken in by Barton and Huck’s sideshow history lessons, Chris Rodda has written a book, Liars for Jesus, that meticulously takes apart every one of Barton’s claims.

What scares me is that a lot of Christian homeschoolers will buy these third-rate videos from Huckabee’s company, and we’ll have another generation of ill-informed citizens to deal with.

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3 thoughts on “Mike Huckabee, “historian”

  1. Reply Ellen Holland May 17,2011 7:05 am

    I happened upon your website quite by accident. However, I continued to read on. I totally disagree with your take on Mike Huckabee and that’s ok. That is why I love this country. Down I read. Then I saw the comment on homeschooler’s. Obviously, you really don’t know what you are talking about. Homeschoolers happened to be the smartest kids that enter college.
    Your off-hand attack and judgement of Christian homeschoolers (and it is an attack on Christianity) shows your own innate prejudice. “Ill informed homeschoolers” is a contridiction in terms since they have proven over and over again to score higher and achieve more than those publicly educated who are indoctrinated in your narrow minded point of view. We actually study history and read the US Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. And for your own knowledge, the Constitution was written with intention of leaving the government out of the church, not to keep God out of the government. Read it for yourself, maybe you can become educated too.

  2. Reply eljefe May 17,2011 5:49 pm

    Ellen,

    Perhaps you were not home-schooled then, because your reading comprehension skills are not so good. I did not say homeschooled children are ill-informed. Nor did I say “ill-informed homeschoolers.” You are both misrepresenting and misquoting me. What I said was, people who buy and use these videos produced by Huckabee’s companies would be ill informed. From the viewpoint of a science teacher (which I was for many years), they are over simplistic and just plain wrong about science, and history

    In addition, I have in fact taught homeschooled teenagers when they re-enter regular schools. Most, but not all, have been very intelligent, hardworking and well informed — with the possible exceptions of their math and science skills. However, I disagree with your implication that all homeschooled kids are automatically better prepared or smarter than those of us educated in the public schools. (FYI, I went to a very good, highly selective university with that public school education.) And, as a private school teacher for more than 20 years, I would hold my former students up against any homeschooled kid anytime. You are showing some of your innate prejudice with your slurs against public education.

    Am I attacking Christian homeschoolers, specifically? Only if they ignore modern science and historical scholarship and teach their kids that creationism is valid, evolution is not, and that the Founding Fathers intended the USA to have a Christian (that is, church-affiliated) government, as David Barton contends. That would create an ill informed group of students, who (if I may dare say it) are being indoctrinated in a narrow minded point of view.

    Am I attacking Christianity? No. Perhaps your skin is a bit too thin to accept criticism. One may have religious belief and faith, but that does not entitle one to raise up a child ignorant of modern science or the secular underpinnings of the US government. Despite what you (and Barton may claim), the Constitution does in fact separate Church from State and State from Church. The Founders, having come from countries in which State Churches persecuted “dissenters” and Non-Conformists, fully intended to create a secular government with no ties to any church or religion. They of course did not intend to keep Christians (or Jews or Muslims or whatever) from serving in that government. They wanted to prevent religion from being a tool of government to oppress the public, and government from being a tool of a church to oppress the un-churched.

    David Barton is not a historian. In fact, his scholarship is sloppy and mendacious. He fabricates quotes, misinterprets documents, misquotes the Founding Fathers, and draws conclusions from scanty (or non-supporting) evidence. If you are using his books to teach American history, then you are teaching lies, plain and simple. This is a not “narrow minded viewpoint,” or prejudice. It’s just the truth. As a historian, he sucks.

    If you are homeschooler yourself, then you owe it to your kids, and your own sense of responsibility, to teach science and history thoroughly. It’s within your right to tell your kids that God created the universe in a week, but you also need to teach them modern science, so that they will in fact be well informed. It’s within your right to tell your kids that the Founders intended to create a Christian Nation, but you also need to have them read the entire set of Federalist Papers and the complete (not quotemined) writings of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hamilton and their peers. In short, homeschooled kids would benefit from a broad assortment of learning materials from a variety of viewpoints, both religious and secular.

  3. Reply eljefe May 17,2011 6:00 pm

    Via Facebook:

    Mary Ellen: “Here’s a good article from The Atlantic about Barton’s appeal. Argues that Barton is successful because he reads history the way evangelicals are taught to read the Bible: out-of-context prooftexting with an assumption that the material is fundamentally simple and easy to understand if you have the right attitude.”

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