David Barton & the 'Myth' of Church-State Separation

The Bush campaign has hired a controversial activist who calls the U.S. a 'Christian nation'

The Republican National Committee is employing the services of a Texas-based activist who believes the United States is a "Christian nation" and the separation of church and state is "a myth."



David Barton, the founder of an organization called

Wallbuilders

, was hired by the RNC as a political consultant and has been traveling the country for a year--speaking at about 300 RNC-sponsored lunches for local evangelical pastors. During the lunches, he presents a slide show of American monuments, discusses his view of America's Christian heritage -- and tells pastors that they are allowed to endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

Barton, who is also the vice-chairman of the Texas GOP, told Beliefnet this week that the pastors' meetings have been kept "below the radar.... We work our tails off to stay out of the news." But at this point, he says, with voter registration ended in most states and early voting already under way, staying quiet about the activity "doesn't matter."

Barton's main contention is that the separation of church and state was never intended by the nation's founders; he says it was created by the Supreme Court in the 20th Century. The back cover of his 1989 book, "The Myth of Separation," proclaims: "This book proves that separation of church and state is a myth." Barton is also on the board of advisers of the

Providence Foundation

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, a Christian Reconstructionist group that advocates America as a Christian nation. (Click

here

for an explanation of Reconstructionism.)

In an appearance on D. James Kennedy's

radio show

, "Truths That Transform," Barton says: "Was America ever a Christian nation? Well, according to the eyewitnesses--yes." And he adds: "I would say if 88% call themselves Christians, I would say, yeah, you probably have a fairly good basis to call it a Christian nation."

In a

July 2002 interview

on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, Barton had the following exchange:



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Deborah Caldwell
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