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Defendant in Most Ironic Lawsuit Ever (David Barton v. Some People Who Said Stuff About Him) Responds

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As I wrote in a previous post on my blog at freethoughtblogs.com, "I Want David Barton To Sue ME!," conservative activist and pseudo-historian David Barton has filed a defamation lawsuit against Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau, two former candidates for the Texas State Board of Education back in 2010, and a writer named W.S. Smith, who wrote an article on examiner.com titled "Exposing David Barton," also back in 2010.

Barton is going after Jennings and Bell-Metereau over a YouTube campaign ad that said he has spoken to white supremacist groups (which is true), and Smith for calling him an admitted liar, referring to that list of "Unconfirmed Quotations" he put out after being called on his use of spurious quotes. What nobody can figure out is why Barton is suing these particular people, who haven't said anything that hasn't been said many times before over the years by other, much more well known Barton critics.

In his lawsuit, Barton attempts to raise suspicions that there's something fishy about this Smith guy, including his identity, saying: "Smith, likely hiding behind a pseudonym 'W.S. Smith' publishes his ideas and version of events through a third-party website owner and/or internet service provider." But Barton is going to get to the bottom of this suspicious use of the name Smith by the defendant, assuring the court that, "His identity is reasonably expected to become known shortly after filing this petition and an appropriate amended petition, if required, shall be filed."

Last week, Mr. Smith, who is just as baffled as everyone else as to why Barton is coming after him, contacted me to discuss the lawsuit, and sent me the following statement to publish. If Barton intended to scare this guy, he definitely picked the wrong guy!

My name is W.S. Smith (yes, that's my real name; not a pseudonym) and I am being sued for libel by David Barton. Mr. Barton's lawsuit against me (and the other defendants) is as factually baseless as his historical statements.

When I was a kid, my father used to tell me what he thought were the rules that guided what made a good man stand apart from a bad man. His rules for being a good man were simple:

1) Be honest.

2) Treat others with courtesy and, if earned, respect.

3) Don't take crap from anyone.

4) Avoid a fight, if possible, but defend yourself if need be.

I've never in my life cowtowed to bullies and I'm not about to start now. Just because someone is bigger (more prominent), stronger (wealthier) or better trained (lots of political connections and power-lawyers at their disposal) doesn't make them right.  In fact, the one or two times bullies tried to pick on me as a kid, they walked away with bruised testicles and bloody noses. I intend to do the same with this bully (Mr. Barton) only, rather than using my hands and feet, I plan to use the law.

I will not back down from what I know (and can prove in court) is the truth and I will not be threatened to do so by a self-appointed mouthpiece for a deity. If Mr. Barton insists on taking this case all the way to court, I'll be happy to meet him there. Why? Because the truth in on my side.

I find the whole affair quite amusing and am reveling in the irony of it all. How is it ironic? The only reason Mr. Barton hasn't been sued for libel or slander himself is because the people he has libeled and slandered have been dead for a couple of hundred years. It's easy to be brave when putting words in the mouths of dead men. It's also easy to be brave when confronted with a frivolous lawsuit, regardless of how big the bully threatening you is.

If this is what you want, Mr. Barton, then let's do it. Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on. The path you've chosen will lead only to your embarrassment and ruin.

 

http://www.liarsforjesus.com

Chris Rodda is the Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and the author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History.
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