On Welfare? You’re Probably Not Reading The Bible Enough June 11, 2012

On Welfare? You’re Probably Not Reading The Bible Enough

We’ve talked about David Barton before.  He’s a revisionist “historian” who doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state.

I knew you couldn't forget this winning smile!

Let’s gather ’round and hear what insanity he is rambling about this week!

Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read the Bible. You know, if Booker T. Washington is right that Christianity and reading the Bible increases your desires and therefore your ability for hard work; if we take that as an axiom, does that mean that the people who are getting government assistance spend nearly no time in the Bible, therefore have no desire, and therefore no ability for hard work? I could go a lot of places with this. I would love to see this proven out in some kind of sociological study, but it makes perfect sense.

Of course it does.  Perfect sense!  Being on welfare has nothing to do with being down on your luck… or under-educated… or a victim of a tough economy… or mental illness or instability… or a physical malady that does not allow you to work. It’s ’cause you ain’t gettin’ to church!  You all would know that, too, if you went to Liberty University, which Barton recently praised as one of the “top schools in the nation” (MP3):

(HINT HINT: It’s not)

Addictinginfo.org refutes his nonsense cleanly by citing a Gallup poll showing that the more religious states tend to use more money for welfare costs:

On average, for every $1.00 that blue states receive, red states take $1.16. That may not sound like a lot but that adds up to millions more in federal aid going to conservative states.

So studying the Scriptures actually has a negative correlation with — as Barton puts it — “your desire and therefore your ability for hard work.”

But we all know correlation isn’t causation.  I don’t think that how much someone reads the Bible has any impact on their ability to get out there and pound the pavement.

What I do think is that Barton is a self-impressed nitwit who wouldn’t understand a sociological study if it booped him on his nose.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Skjaere

    A friend of mine told me about a family that lived in his hometown who had about a million kids, and they never did *anything* because they figured all they had to do was trust in God and he would provide for their needs.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    I haven’t cracked a Bible open in my life, and yet here I am working toward getting my B.A. in Education. 

    My ex-girlfriend’s father, by contrast, read the Bible every day, and all I ever saw him do was eat food that his wife had prepared and play solitaire on the computer.

    Just saying, reading it or not has nothing to do with anything this guy is attempting to talk about.

  • Gwydion Frost

    I’m thinking that those unable to use birth control might have larger families, and ergo, larger needs for things like… FOOD. Thus, even God-Fearing Folk might want assistance to EAT.

  • PJB863

    Take your pills Gladys, er, I mean David, the Stevens’s house did not disappear….

  • A look at the poverty map pretty much disproves that twaddle.  The “Bible Belt”, of course, is steeped in poverty.


  • TheAnalogKid

    Yeah, but your ex’s father is going to Heaven. You’re gonna burn in Hell.

  • 0xabad1dea

    I can tell you first-hand that welfare neighborhoods are crowded with people with a deep, sincere belief in Christianity. No matter how much I dislike the religion, I feel offended on their behalf that someone would say they’re NOT serious Christians because they are on welfare.

    Of course, I also think that Christianity offers a false hope that placates those who could do better, but that is only halfway here or there.

    Also, I can never pass up an opportunity to remind everyone that “Liberty” “University” is not deserving of either word. >:|

  • Annie

    Well then I think he should do the study!  I would love to see his results too.  Of course, we all know he won’t, he’ll just yammer on and on about how it would be proven, if, of course a study was done. 

  • Neil

    There could be a small effect in individuals, if they are “inspired” by the bible…if reading scripture is what they think they need to refresh their attitudes, it could help them keep trying, sure.  Of course, many people use other sources of inspiration beside the bible.  Any “uplifting” or “inspiring” text would do(or art, or inspirational talk, etc), if the person gets any kind of emotional lift out of it.  Music is commonly used this way…most of my friends use metal, I prefer classical or prog rock.  Some prefer hymns.  So what?

    Also, if such a study were done, there would be a lot of variables to take into account.  Much like when studies that show church-goers are happier or live longer, and then are used as “evidence” that religion is a force for good.  Off the top of my head, I have noticed that relgious communities are often very nepotistic, and tend to keep jobs/perks/social rewards for their own people…if someone reads a lot of scripture, most likely most of their friends and social contacts do as well, and most likely they go to a church and are part of that community…and I’m sure it’s easier for ANYONE to persevere in a difficult enterprise(looking for a job in a bad economy, making do with few resources, etc) if they have the help (or even just FEEL that they have the help) of a like-minded community base.
    Again, nothing new, and so what? 

  • Pinko


  • Miko

    His claim is that individuals who don’t read the Bible lack the desire to work hard.  Even if we accept his extremely dubious premise that only people who lack the desire to work hard receive welfare, pointing out that communities in which many individuals read the Bible are also communities in which many individuals receive welfare does not show that the two are correlated at the level of individuals.

  • Drew M.

    Considering how much the fundies like quoting Leviticus when it comes to teh gays, they sure turn a blind eye to 19:9-10:

    “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. “

  • Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read the Bible.

    This> guy calls for a scientific study? This dangerous, lying clown is interested in actually putting his hypothesis up to a test? Yeah, right. 

    If such a study showed no correlation between reading the Bible and being on welfare, he’d crow that it proves Bible reading causes personal industriousness and/or financial prosperity.

    But if the same study showed a strong correlation between reading the Bible and being on welfare, he wouldn’t just say that correlation does not mean causation, no, he’d denounce the whole thing as bogus science, the propaganda of lib’ral elitist eggheads who are never to be trusted. After all, they went to them godless, false universities like Harvard, Princeton Yale, Stanford, ect.

  • Nicole Youngman

     It also just has a lot to do with being in a tight-knit community–that’s generally good for one’s mental and physical health (assuming they are good and supportive folks, that is).

    This word “sociological”…I do not think it means what Barton thinks it means. 😉

  • If you typed “ect” on purpose to further the parody of a conservative hick, then you, sir, are a genius.

  • Waltz707


    “You keep saying that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

  • Sadly, no. I’m not a genius, just an honest dyslexic. 

  • eskomo

    Well, according to usgovernmentspending dot com, about 2% of federal and state spending goes toward welfare. Almost in the noise.

  • Techs

    For every federal dollar going to blue states the blue states pay $1.08 in taxes VS the red states paying their buck.

  • JD929

    It would seem to me that reading the Bible is procrastination from doing actual work.

  • Ron

    “revisionist historian” is too generous. “make shit up prevaricator” has the benefit of being accurate.

  • Stev84

    Christianity actively preys on these people. They seek out poor and desperate people because they’re easier convinced to pray and swear allegiance to a church in order to receive some help

  • Stev84

     Putting “historian” in scare quotes helps

  • Rickray1949

    Haven’t you heard the new word from FSM?   “Any god who creates a hell for his/her/its children should be the first to be skinned and roasted in it.”   Try putting your child’s hand on a hot stove element as punishment for not listening to you and see what happens.  

  • Lucilius

    The biggest fundie nutjob in my family (uncle by marriage) is also the second-laziest (laziest is a druggie cousin who also claims to be a devout Christian). Uncle Fundie has resisted getting any job training or seeking a decent job all his life because “The Lord will provide,” and he was sure the Rapture was always just a couple weeks away anyhow. He’s pulled this shit for 70 years. Most of that time was spent sponging off his (now deceased) less-devout brother. The regular failure of Jesus to return and hand him a wad of cash has never made any impression on him either.

  • The Captain

    It just never ceases to amaze me, how those most against Darwinistic evolution, are the biggest proponents of Social darwinistic economics.

  • What if you read it as “Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read books.”? No literature = uneducated. Once you know that the Bible is fiction, you still realize it is a good piece of literature. If you can understand a KJV and know the difference between the fiction and the reality, you may have a higher IQ, thus, a job.

  • David Barton would be hilarious if he weren’t so frigging dangerous.

  • mikespeir

    Let’s take a survey of the million wealthiest persons in America.  How many of them, do you suppose, read their Bibles–ever?  Go ahead, throw in the megachurch pastors and televangelists who have to chop their way through cash to get through the front door.  The percentage would still be almost infinitesimal.

  • Heidi

    IMO, a good piece of literature shouldn’t be so full of plot holes and inconsistencies.

  • Heidi

     Many of the red states don’t even pay their whole buck. Mississippi gets over $2 back for every $1 they pay. New Jersey gets back $.61 of their $1. In Massachusetts, we get $.82 back for our $1.


  • EXACTLY what I was thinking. This moron wants science? But only when he thinks it’ll benefit his malformed ideas.

  • Memory6530

    I am a historian, which David Barton is clearly NOT.  David Barton caters to the fundamentalist crowd who want to believe his revisionist history. Barton’s agenda is purely political. It feds into the crowd who believe in creationism vs evolution, the idea that our nation was founded as a born again society and should be a theocracy and that there is no such thing as global warming. The denial of global warning affirms what big business wants, which is to strip the earth of all of it’s resources for their bottom line. Barton basically works for the RNC and forwards their agenda. 

    His theory that those that spend no time is the bible are people getting government assistance and therefore have no desire or ability to work is exactly what conservatives want to hear to justify cutting social programs for the needy. It is interesting that the bible belt, who supposedly read the bible and attend church are the states that have more poverty, teenage marriage, abortion, more children living below the poverty level and read below their grade level. What this actually proves is we need more funding for schools and more community colleges in these areas. These facts totally debunk his theory. The fact that these very same people vote Republican, which is against their interests would be another conversation that would be interesting to delve into. 

  • houndies

    the time you waste reading that bible is time you coulda spent looking for a job!

  • houndies

    so in other words god says, “you take the good stuff for your greedy self, and leave the crap for the less fortunate.” but i guess, according to this barton moron, if the poor spent more time readin their bibles they would have first pickins for themselves!

  • cneajna

    Hmm…. well… I never read the bible and while I’m not in the 1% I’m doing ok.  I wonder what that says about his idiotic beliefs/ideas? 🙂 

  • Lucilius

    Not really a contradiction, since “Social Darwinism” has no basis in actual evolutionary theory, but is closely related to the Calvinistic belief that worldly success is an indicator of righteousness.

  • Greg_Peterson

    By analogous reasoning, I think we can assume that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are talmudic rabbis with doctorates of divinity who read the entire Bible every week and can quote it chapter and verse.  Except of course that neither man is a Christian and both hint at being, at most, agnostics.

  • Someone should send him copies of those sociology studies Coyne mentioned at the end of his presentation.

  • Tom

    Unfortunately, time spent looking for something that doesn’t exist is also time wasted.

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