While most eyes were on the Conservative Principles Political Action Committee conference in Iowa on Saturday, many of us who follow the religious right were more interested in another conference, also held in Iowa, on Thursday and Friday. This other conference was the Rediscover God in America conference, where all the same potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls that appeared at the Saturday's Conservative Principles PAC conference told us what they really think -- that America should be governed by biblical law.
Sure, there was a lot of talk about important issues like the economy at the Conservative Principles PAC conference, but it was at the Rediscover God in America conference that we learned that all of our economic policies should be based on the Bible. And who did we learn this from? None other than Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton, who kicked off the conference with a lengthy presentation of his usual historical hogwash. Then, one by one, as the potential Republican presidential candidates took the podium to let the audience full of pastors know just how Christian they are, each began by gushing about what a great historian and good friend David Barton is.
I'm not going to go into all the lies that were included in Barton's presentation because Barton has been giving essentially the same presentation for years with almost no changes, which is why it was kind of comical for Newt Gingrich to begin his glowing praise of Barton by saying that every time he hears Barton speak he learns something new. (For anyone who isn't already familiar with Barton's lies, there are plenty of videos and other stuff on my website debunking the most popular ones that he typically includes in his presentation).
Michele Bachmann, who has been a big fan of Barton since her days in the Minnesota legislature, when she tapped him as a history education "expert" to help pass her bill allowing the Declaration of Independence to be taught in Minnesota's public schools (she had apparently believed the ridiculous Fox News story about the Declaration being banned in California's schools), gave her usual spiel about never missing one of Barton's highly enlightening tours of the Capitol.
But the most outrageous statement by far came from Mike Huckabee, who expressed his admiration for Barton by saying that he wished that "all Americans would be forced -- forced at gunpoint no less -- to listen to every David Barton message."
Now, I wasn't watching the Rediscover God in America conference live on Thursday when Huckabee said this. I had planned on watching and recording the whole conference when it was webcast again on Saturday, so that's when I saw Huckabee's speech. I was quite surprised a few days later to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline "Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton." I had watched Huckabee's speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn't. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.
Kyle Mantyla over at PFAW's Right Wing Watch had recorded Huckabee's speech when it was streamed live on Thursday, and posted the 'forced at gunpoint' clip on Friday. By Saturday, when I watched the webcast on the United in Purpose website, that part of Huckabee's speech had been edited out.
The webcast that I saw showed Barton leaving the stage as he ended his presentation, then the screen going black for a moment, and then what appeared to be the beginning of Huckabee's speech. What was edited out was Barton returning to the stage to introduce Huckabee, and the first two minutes and forty-five seconds of Huckabee's speech, during which Huckabee made his 'gunpoint' comment and praised David Lane, the man behind all of the American "Renewal" and "Restoration" projects that have popped up across the country during the past few elections. Editing out Huckabee's praising of Lane was a clever trick to make it appear that when the camera was panning over the audience giving a round of applause to Lane, the applause was for Huckabee as he was taking the stage, making it look like this was the beginning of Huckabee's speech.