Home / News / One of the foremost Barton debunkers accepts challenge to prove the fallacies in "The Jefferson Lies"
One of the foremost Barton debunkers accepts challenge to prove the fallacies in "The Jefferson Lies"

One of the foremost Barton debunkers accepts challenge to prove the fallacies in "The Jefferson Lies"

News of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company's decision to pull David Barton's best-selling but controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, because it has “lost confidence in the book’s details" exploded throughout the Internet and national media last Thursday.

Someone has steadfastly been documenting Barton's inaccuracies for almost a decade:  a woman named Chris Rodda.  She's accepted a challenge by Barton's colleague, Rick Green, to prove that historical claims in The Jefferson Lies are distorted or flat out wrong.

Green, who co-hosts the WallBuilders radio show with Barton, says that "Barton has about 100,000 original documents and backs up everything he says with original sources" and that his The Jefferson Lies book contains 756 footnotes.

The problem with all those footnotes is that it takes a Herculean effort to track down the source documents and fact check — something that few people have the time or ambition to do.

But that's what Rodda, who is now the senior researcher at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has been doing for a long time.  After three years of exhaustive study and fact checking of various written and oral presentations by Barton, she published her book, Liars For Jesus in 2006.  She has been working on a rebuttal document to The Jefferson Lies for the past few months, again reviewing source documents and footnoted material.

Liars For Jesus includes an extensive forward from Rev. William N. Esborn, who had enjoyed conversing with Rodda over the years about things that Barton was saying.

"So why would any Christian pastor write a foreword to a book entitled 'Liars for Jesus?'" the pastor asks.  "As I said … I debated the title with Chris and argued against it. Nonetheless, I understand and support her efforts to establish strong arguments from the historical record and primary source documents concerning the political and religious truths about the Founding Fathers. That some people have tried to obscure and manipulate these events and writings to their own end will I believe become clear as you read her work."

According to Green, Barton's critics are liberals and elitist professors who, "like Hitler and Alinsky," are masters of the tools of deception and hiding public access to the truth. "Hitler said:  'All propaganda has to … accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach,'" Green wrote on his blog today and issued a challenge:

I’m still waiting for someone to show me a specific inaccuracy or false claim by Barton. Every author, including these elitists, makes mistakes and we could do several more blogs about the hilarious publishing mistakes by some of the most respected authors in history […] That’s not what I’m talking about and that’s not what these critics are claiming. They are claiming that Barton is purposefully presenting a false picture of history and using inaccuracies and distortions to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is these critics who are using inaccuracies, innuendo, and distortions to attack Barton in the first place.

If you can show me specifics that back up the image created by the critics innuendo, I’ll post it right here for the world to see.

Waiting, waiting.

Rodda was quick to accept the challenge, writing in the comments to Green's article:

I can absolutely show you specifics that back up the 'image created by the critics.'

Many of the claims in Mr. Barton's book are debunked in a book I released in 2006.  My book is not only thoroughly footnoted with original sources (many of them the exact same documents cited by Mr. Barton), but there is a footnote archive on my website containing images of all the documents cited in my footnotes so that anyone reading my book can instantly view the original sources for themselves to verify them.

My book debunks many of the lies found in Mr. Barton's "The Jefferson Lies," including, but not limited to, just about everything that Mr. Barton claims about religion at the University of Virginia and Jefferson's other educational endeavors (chapter 5 of my book) and Mr. Barton's claims in his chapter on the "Jefferson bible" about Jefferson promoting Christianity to the Indians (chapters 3 and 4 in my book).  There are many more examples I could give, but I think these two should suffice as proof that Mr. Barton's critics are absolutely correct.

A free PDF version of my book can be found at:  http://www.liarsforjesus.com/downloads/LFJ_FINAL.pdf

My footnotes archive where people can verify all of my footnotes for themselves can be found at:  http://www.liarsforjesus.com/footnotes.htm

Using screenshots, Rodda explains at Freethought Blogs that her comment was held in moderation and that a comment submitted after hers has already been published.  Rodda has stepped up to Green's challenge — but as of this writing, a review of Green's blog shows that it has not been accepted yet.

Will Rodda's challenge be accepted?  Time will tell.  In the meantime, check out Liars For Jesus.


A few hours have passed and a number of other comments have been approved at Mr. Green's website, but not Rodda's direct acceptance of the challenge.  However, Green's Facebook page notes, "For all you Rodda "minions" (her words, not mine), I have been traveling all evening and will gladly respond to Ms. Rodda when I arrive at my destination!"  The "minions" reference is an ongoing joke at Rodda's Facebook page.

Rick Green Response

Editorial Update – Here is Green's response – We will report more in the morning:


About D.

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  • Tracy

    Deborah…..you are awesome!!!

    • Deborah_B

      Not I, but Chris. Her work is amazing.

  • AdmC

    Still no answer from Green–Chris does her due diligence and homework–Barton is like Ann Coulter who writes and footnotes to appear legitimate yet if one goes to that source, it says nothing of the sort–just like when Barton was holding up a document he would not anyone examine claiming that Jefferson routinely signed "in the year of our Lord Christ" when that was a preprinted line on shipping receipts required by the Netherlands under treaty when we were just an upstart nation

    • Deborah_B

      The "in the year of our Lord Christ" was, in my opinion, one of the most bizarre of the "historical facts." Thank you so much for reminding us.

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  • Chris does excellent work debunking Barton and others who distort the historic record for ostensibly religious reasons. One of the more interesting aspects of the recent Barton debunking, however, is the extent to which it has been led by Christian historians/theologians who are offended by such abuse of the facts by Barton, e.g. Throckmorton, Coulter, Fea. Many religious people are deeply offended by the idea that they should support mixing church and state when it was their evangelical predecessors who insisted upon a strict separation (see my own Wellspring of Liberty).

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  • Go Chris!

  • Pingback: "Clanking cymbals and blathering nonsense?" Challenge for evidence of false claims in Barton's controversial 'The Jefferson Lies' riles critics and researchers | God Discussion()

  • Bert Rexrode

    This will be intresting for sure, seeing Barton last night, fight these accusations, with the actual news clippings written by Jefferons. The Bible Jefferson actually cut the clippings from for his bible. Being able to see Jefferson's documents endorsing the appropriations of federal money to fund catholic priest ministering to native American's, and many more artifacts will be quiet a challenge to debunk. May the truth win and good luck in your endevors.
    He's continueing his series of debunking the debunkers, so I look forward to seeing the rest of what he has to say, and what factual original documents Rodda will be able to produce to defend her claims.
    Where can we find all of Rodda work in details on this debunking? Does she or will she post them all somewhere?

    • Jefferson cut news clippings from his Bible? News clippings from the Bible. Are you serious? I hope that was a typo. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume misstated that. Catholic priests ministering to the American Indians? It was more like an attempted hatchet job on an entire culture, trying to destroying it. Next you are going to say that those blankets given to them didn't carry small pox, in an effort to commit genocide. The history of American Europeans (Whites) with the American Indians was horrible one, not a grand and glorious one. Carlisle schools would even beat the Indian out of children, who were kidnapped from their parents. Please don't even try to tell me that Xian ministry to the American Indians was wonderful. It was not. It, along with other horrors, nearly destroyed a whole culture, civilization, and human beings. Barton has an agenda and that is to infuse his Xian beliefs into history in order to distort the facts, just so he can push his version of Xianity and history on others, but it is not historical facts. I bet he left out many of the abuses and horrors, including the imposing of Xianity on American Indians, that nearly wiped the actual First Americans off the U. S. map.

      If you believe Barton, it's only because you want to swallow lies in favour of your delusion. You're going to let a WASP, with an agenda, tell you about the history of American Indians? You truly believe Jefferson clipped news articles from the Bible? Jefferson didn't clip news from the Bible, he clipped verses that he liked from the Bible to make his own Bible, but it was not news clippings.

      Try starting with her footnotes in her book. Barton debunked nothing. It's more like Rodda debunked his lies and distortions. Priests imposing Xianity on American Indians was not grand and glorious. It was a complete tragedy, along with a slew of other atrocities committed Whites.

      • Bert Rexrode

        The clippings from the bible and the news clippings were stated separatly if you read what i wrote previously. I know many tend to skim over forum post without actually reading them as they are written.
        I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you didnt actually read what I wrote rather then that you are intentionally trying to distort my words above, by coming up with "news clippings from the bible" somewhere.
        I wasn't speaking on the good or bad of Jefferson's actions, only what can be determined they were based on the physical evidence that exist.
        Why distort history be it good or bad? we'll never learn from it, let's just go with the truth.
        Also it was Andrew Jackson who was mainly responsible for the genocide of the Native Americans. Still a white guy, but you may develope a greater understanding of American history, its villians and Heroes.
        Most of the books that exist today about Jefferson are compiled on other books that have been written about Jefferson.
        Also by your citing of Ward Churchill's version of history in you comment, you yourself are already teaching what is considered by most, "fringe history".

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