About David Barton’s bullshit ‘Christian oppression’ story on TDS.
If you watched The Daily Show last night, you saw wingnut “historian” David Barton tell the story of a child picked up by the scruff of the neck and disciplined for praying over his lunch at school. Jon Stewart thought this sounded a little ridiculous and wondered if it had actually happened. Not surprisingly, it didn’t.
Right Wing Watch sets the record straight:
The St. Louis case concerned 10-year-old Raymond Raines who, his mother said, was given detention because he sought to pray over his lunch. When lawyers for the Rutherford Institute heard about the case, they filed a lawsuit against the principal and issued a press release denouncing the school system.
“I know it sounds bizarre, but we have substantial evidence to believe it happened,” said Timothy Belz, the St. Louis lawyer working with the Rutherford Institute.
On NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press,” Gingrich described the situation as “a real case about a real child. Should it be possible for the government to punish you if you say grace over your lunch? That’s what we used to think of Russian behavior when they were the Soviet Union.”
But school officials said the incident never happened. Rather, they said, Raymond was disciplined for fighting in the cafeteria.
“I can tell you he was not reprimanded for praying,” said Kenneth Brostron, the school’s lawyer. “Do you think it makes sense that the teachers would look around the cafeteria and target the one student who was praying quietly at his seat?”
The kid’s confronted by his parents about being disciplined in school and he comes up with what he believes is the least offensive thing in the world — “I wasn’t fighting, I was praying!” It doesn’t occur to him that this is a ridiculous lie, because he’s a child.
What Barton — and the rest of the religious right — are doing is falling for a child’s absurd lie, because it fits their BS narrative about Christianity under siege. That is, if we cut them a lot of slack and assume they’re stupid enough to fall for it at all. More likely, they’re taking the lie and running with it, because incidents of Christian oppression are so rare that a bullshit story from going on fifteen years ago is the best example of this terrible oppression available.