Update May 4, 2017: Two of East County's four mayors have pulled out of the East County Mayors Prayer Lunch, after the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the mayors asking them to cancel their planned attendance. The First Amendment watchdog group, which learned of the prayer lunch from our report, contends that the event violates the Constitional requirement for separation of church and state. The foundation's letter hints at legal action. View part II of our investigation here.
By Miriam Raftery
May 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – Multiple East County leaders are speaking out to voice opposition to David Barton, a debunked “Christian Nation” advocate, speaking May 4th at an East County Mayors Prayer Lunch at the Crystal Palace in El Cajon. Barton has long claimed that the Founding Fathers did not support a separation of church and state. His book, The Jefferson Lies, was pulled off the market by its publisher after conservative Christian scholars exposed many falsehoods.
Barton is listed as an extremist on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watch list for his virulent anti-gay views. He has also drawn fire for anti-Muslim remarks and some stances views as racist. He has advocated to remove civil rights leader Martin Luther King and farmworkers organizer Cesar Chavez from school text books.
In a recent interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, he urged Christian Evangelicals that they have a Biblical “duty” to vote for candidates who will support anti-abortion judges and who oppose equal rights for LGTBQ individuals. “It’s not your vote. It’s God’s vote,” he stated. On his Wallbuilders Live radio show, he claimed that the same “evil” responsible for the Holocaust is today responsible for the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Just who is behind inviting Barton to speak at a function with local governmental leaders is unclear. But his appearance has prompted a backlash.