Glenn Beck is not an historian. Not even close (though he plays one on TV, and has even started his own "university"). Michelle Goldberg has a must-read article posted at The Tablet (a Jewish news magazine) on Beck's go-to "historian" David Barton. Barton does not have a degree in History, he studied religion at Oral Roberts University. He has associations with both white supremacists and Holocaust deniers, and is a well known member of the "Christian Identity" movement -- CI is considered vehemently racist and anti-Semitic. This is the man who Glenn Beck said is "the most important man in America right now."
This is, at least, the third time in the last year that Glenn Beck has attempted to pass off the paranoid fantasies of racists and anti-Semites as "history" and when called out on it, Beck has refused to apologize. You would think that a man who held a rally to "restore honor" would at least say he was sorry about promoting (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) white supremacy and Antisemitism in his history "lessons." But, who are we kidding? Beck, Barton, and the rest of the folks promoting this nonsense have no honor.
A key tenet of the Beck/Barton school of "history" is its tired insistence that the US is a "Christian nation" and that the Founding Fathers used the Christian Bible as the primary foundation for the Constitution (demonstrably false). It also erroneously teaches that there is no separation of church and state, and that 52 of the 55 Founders were "orthodox, evangelical Christians." This is not true, and is easily verifiable. In 1994, the Anti Defamation League (ADL) wrote the following about David Barton, "This ostensible scholarship functions in fact as an assault on scholarship: in the manner of other recent phony revisionisms, the history it supports is little more than a compendium of anecdotes divorced from their original context, linked harum-scarum and laced with factual errors and distorted innuendo.”
People are allowed to be wrong. Beck and Barton usually are. But these two have been hurling accusations of racism and religious bigotry at their critics without citing a single incident of it. I think they might be projecting their own attitudes onto their critics. From the Tablet piece:
"Barton found an eager audience for his Christian nationalist history on the right-wing fringe. In 1991, as the ADL has reported, he spoke at a summer gathering of Scriptures for America, a group founded by Pete Peters, a pastor in the Christian Identity movement. Christian Identity holds that Anglo-Saxons are the true children of Israel, while Jews are the Satanic offspring of Eve’s liaison with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Black people, according to Christian Identity theology, are a separate species of 'mud people.' Other speakers at the meeting were Holocaust denier Malcolm Ross and white supremacist Richard Kelly Hoskins. Barton was advertised as 'a new and special speaker' who would ask, 'Was it the plan of our forefathers that America be the melting pot home of various religions and philosophies?' (One can assume that the answer was no.) On November 24 of that year, Barton spoke at another Christianity Identity gathering, this one in Oregon. According to the ADL, his self-published books were advertised in 'The Watchman,' a Christian Identity publication."
Now, before any Beck defenders freak out and cry (Beck is known to do that), keep in mind, that at this point, it is hard to determine if Mr. Beck is really a racist and anti-Semite or that he merely is being influenced and (perhaps) manipulated by them. He sure does like to cite their "work" on his shows. But, seriously, no one can legitimately refer to either Glenn Beck or David Barton as historians. They just aren't.