Monday, March 17, 2014

Dishonest Michael Hyatt's Thomas Nelson published a book of lies.


I have frequently criticized "Christian publisher" Thomas Nelson, its Westbow Press pay-to-publish operation and paranoid/hypocritical/lying boss Michael Hyatt.

I am not alone in my scorn for Hyatt.

A reader of this blog wrote: "
I can't stand Hyatt and I'm in the Christian publishing world. . . . He . . . focuses more on himself than Jesus Christ and I think he's a disgrace. Even his Twitter following is a joke.  . . .  20% fake, 35% inactive and 45% active followers . . . . Some of us know the truth.

Another wrote: "
Hyatt deserves the same fate as St. Ignatius of Antioch -- to be ripped apart and eaten by hungry lions. However, I doubt that Hyatt will qualify for sainthood. It's more likely that he will roast in hell."

NPR has broadcast and published an extensive analysis of The Jefferson Lies, written by David Barton, "The Most Influential Evangelist You've Never Heard Of."

Barton's book has a foreword written by right-wing nutso Glenn Beck and aims to change public opinion about President Thomas Jefferson. Barton tries to 'correct' commonly believed 'lies' about Jefferson being anti-religion and pro-slavery.

However, the book has been condemned by both historians and religious leaders as full of lies -- which makes it perfect for Hyatt and Nelson.


From NPR: "For example, you've been taught the Constitution is a secular document. Not so, says Barton: The Constitution is laced with biblical quotations.
'You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause,' he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. 'Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, it drives the secularists nuts because the Bible's all over it! Now we as Christians don't tend to recognize that. We think it's a secular document; we've bought into their lies. It's not.'
We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out. Moreover, the Constitution as written in 1787 has no mention of God or religion except to prohibit a religious test for office. The First Amendment does address religion.
What about the idea that the founders did not want government entangled in religion? Wrong again, says Barton. On his tours of the U.S. Capitol, for example, he claims that Congress not only published the first American Bible in 1782, but it also intended the Bible to be used in public schools.
'And we're going to be told they don't want any kind of religion in education, they don't want voluntary prayer?' Barton asks his audience rhetorically? 'No, it doesn't make sense.'
But historians say Barton is flat-out wrong in his facts and conclusion. Congress never published or paid a dime for the 1782 Bible. It was printed and paid for by Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken. At Aitken's request, Congress agreed to have its chaplains check the Bible for accuracy. It was not, historians say, a government promotion of religion.
David Barton is not a historian. He has a bachelor's degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University and runs a company called WallBuilders in Aledo, Texas. But his vision of a religion-infused America is wildly popular with churches, schools and the GOP, and that makes him a power. He was named one of Time magazine's most influential evangelicals. He was a long-time vice chairman for the Texas Republican Party. He says that he consults for the federal government and state school boards, that he testifies in court as an expert witness, that he gives a breathtaking 400 speeches a year.
Seeking his endorsement are politicians including Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich is a fan. So is Mike Huckabee."
"The idea that Jefferson was a civil rights visionary appalls the Rev. Ray McMillian, pastor of Oasis Church in Cincinnati. 'Thomas Jefferson hated African-Americans," McMillian says. "He hated the color of our skin. He talked about how inferior we are, in both mind and body.' McMillian is president of Cincinnati Area Pastors, which is boycotting the publisher of Barton's book, Thomas Nelson Publishers. He says by 'whitewashing' Jefferson — and all the other slaveholding founders, for that matter — Barton is rewriting history to make it palatable for Christians today. All in their hearts they're saying, 'If we could just go back there, America would be right. Right for who? Not for blacks, not for women, not for Native Americans, he says — only for white men."
I don't like the idea of boycotting publishers, even sleazy publishers like Nelson, but it's important for people to know that a book Nelson published about 'lies' is rampantly dishonest.
More from NPR: "In 2010, the Texas Board of Education voted to rewrite the history textbooks to make them more conservative and Christian-friendly. One of the advisers was David Barton.
Barton later said on the cable talk show Chapter and Verse that it would take another 16 or 18 years before kids go through the entire curriculum, 'then another 10 years after that before those kids get elected to office and start doing things. So we're talking 30 years from now. But, it's in the pipe coming down.'
Asked about this 30-year plan, Barton says of course he wants to shape future leaders, any educator does. But he says he doesn't see himself as a particularly influential person.
'I'm going to be an active citizen and be involved and do everything I can to help move these principles forward,' he says.
Barton's next stop: the Republican National Convention, where as a Texas representative to the GOP Platform Committee, he will lay out his vision of America."

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If anyone at Nelson would like to defend the book, I'll be glad to publish the defense here.


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