David Barton, a self-described historian and online radio host, took aim at welfare recipients on his radio show this week. Barton told his listeners that he believed people are on welfare because they don’t read the Bible. Barton’s theory is that Christianity increases one’s work ethic; therefore, he believes it is safe to assume that people who are getting government assistance are not spending much time pursuing their faith.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read the Bible. You know, if Booker T. Washington is right that Christianity and reading the Bible increases your desires and therefore your ability for hard work; if we take that as an axiom, does that mean that the people who are getting government assistance spend nearly no time in the Bible, therefore have no desire, and therefore no ability for hard work? I could go a lot of places with this. I would love to see this proven out in some kind of sociological study, but it makes perfect sense.
Mr. Barton has been a figure on the conservative scene since 1988. Barton drew a lot of criticism when he published a study that blamed a decline in SAT scores, and an increase in violent crime and unwed births, on the Supreme Court decisions that banned prayer in public schools.
He is also a prominent figure in conservative politics, serving as vice-chairman of the Texas Republican Party for ten years. In 2004, he was hired by the Republican National Committee to rally Christians for George W. Bush. Many past Republican presidential candidates have sought his counsel during the campaign season, including Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
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