Historian David Barton elicited copious applause during a speech at Glenn Beck's Man in the Moon's Independence Speaker Series this morning. And while the talk covered traditional Barton-like topics, the segment that received some of the wildest applause dealt with a subject some might not regularly attribute to the historian: abortion.
The nearly hour-long lecture about the Declaration of Independence and America's Judeo-Christian roots covered everything from natural law to contentious issues like gay marriage -- and abortion.
In discussing these issues, Barton related natural rights back to the "right for life." The unborn, too, the historian argued, have constitutional protections, although contemporary laws in the wake of Roe vs. Wade have not necessarily corroborated this reality.
"By the law ... life is protected," Barton said, to rousing applause.
The historian went on to systematically explain how important politicians' views on life are. Regardless of where people stand on abortion, he said that, at the end of the day, the indicator can be used as a predictive measure for a plethora of other issues as well.
"If I can find out their position on life ... I can tell you where they stand on almost any issue," Barton said, noting that the wrong view on the abortion front generally leads people to take an in correct stance on the Second Amendment, traditional marriage and other related issues -- even in the economic realm.
"If you get the life stuff right, you get the economic stuff right," he continued.
Barton spent a great deal of time noting the importance of faith in the nation's founding. He highlighted President George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving proclamation, which read, in part, “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."
That quotation, Barton noted, showed the role that Christianity played in the president's world-view -- one that Washington clearly felt was essential for the nation, as a whole, to embrace. Unpacking these important comments, Barton highlighted its four, key elements.
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In addition to claiming that nations much acknowledge God's power, Washington also said they must obey Him, be grateful for what He has given and seek His protection and favor. Barton used this as a launchpad to dive deeper into related issues.
Inalienable rights (those that are "unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor"), the conservative historian noted, come from God. This sentiment is something that Barton believes the founders -- Washington included -- embraced wholeheartedly.
But in today's world, some differing worldviews have created divergent structures. While some would disagree, Barton believes that the government is an inferior institution. Considering this standing, one doesn't have the right to take inalienable rights away from its citizens. The increasing size of government, though, creates a conundrum -- one in which the state's views sometimes trump God's.
Later, he added that, as the nation has secularized, the government has certainly expanded. He explained: "The more secular you become, the more limited you become." These natural rights, at some point, become more attributed to government than they do God. Thus, limiting government in its truest form requires exploring what does and does not belong to it.
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And he wasn't done there. In addition to inalienable rights, Barton also touted moral laws that he believes are "fixed." On issues like murder and slavery, he argued that there are definitive rights and wrongs. And Homosexuality, he noted, is "not part of the laws of nature."
Barton's speech, which was heavily rooted in Christian values, was greeted with intense applause and a standing ovation, as he connected Biblical values to the nation's founding.