For reasons unknown, both The New York Times and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" this week decided to showcase David Barton, an ignorant self-appointed Christian revisionist "historian" and ideologue whose claims have been freely used by the religious right since the late 1980s to rewrite our secular history. Barton has a group called "Wallbuilders" which ironically exists to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state.
In the May 4 interview on "The Daily Show," Barton mentions the Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuit against the National Day of Prayer. He inaccurately portrays the litigation as trying to stop private prayer. Barton repeats the lie that there has been a "national day of prayer" for 200 years. He also says FFRF "has lost" the case (in fact the national case is not settled yet and two other lawsuits are ongoing). Stewart responds by saying something to the fact that well, FFRF lost and there are "asinine" people out there who will sue over anything. This segment of the interview appeared in the online full version of the interview, but was not televised.
You can chime in by commenting at "The Daily Show" website about Barton's deliberate mischaracterization of FFRF's lawsuit. You may also want to say how you feel about being called "asinine" for defending the constitutional principle of separation between church and state. Why does Stewart interview only one side (Barton) and not give the other (FFRF) a chance to defend itself?
Background on FFRF Challenge of the National Day of Prayer
FFRF is challenging not a privately-called "day of prayer" but an act of Congress in 1952, adopted at the demand of Rev. Billy Graham, to establish an annual National Day of Prayer in which our government exhorts citizens to "turn to God in prayer in meditation at churches, as individuals and in groups." This federal law requires the President of the United States to issue an annual National Day of Prayer proclamation. In 1988, the religious right amended the law so the National Day of Prayer would become more prominent by going from a floating date to the first Thursday in May. The National Day of Prayer Taskforce, housed at Focus on the Family, now bullies the President, every governor, mayors, etc., to proclaim its annual bible theme and scriptural verse and even writes the proclamations that are often issued by public officials. It requires participants to sign a religious-litmus test that they are evangelical Christians and their 30,000 to 40,000 events at city halls and state capitols have excluded non-evangelical Christians and caused divisiveness.
Read more about FFRF's National Day of Prayer challenge. Read last year's federal court decision in FFRF's favor which succinctly shows why the religious right claims of an "unbroken line of days of prayer" is so very wrong.
To watch the episode and comment, click the following link. Comments may be registered below the video section:
PART 2 WITH EXTENDED BARTON INTERVIEW: http://www.thedailyshow.com/extended-interviews/385378/playlist_tds_extended_david_barton/383673
Thanks for speaking up for the truth about our nation's secular heritage and educating people who ought to know better!