When Christian Evangelist David Barton used King Philip’s War to demonstrate his take on just-war theory during an airing of WallBuilders Live on March 21 he gave an incorrect accounting of how the war began as well as saying “we had to destroy Indian tribes.” (Related story: “Christian Evangelist David Barton: 'We Had to Destroy Indian Tribes'”)
On March 28, staff at WallBuilders, a religiously slanted history podcast Barton founded, posted a clarification on Facebook:
“David was not justifying, but merely explaining the historical context of what happened, in the same way that he explained the British march to the sea. He made a parallel between the two as to tactics and strategy that were used during war at that time. David was explaining the historical events regarding King Philip's War, not the atrocities that were in general committed against the Indian tribes and nations, which we in no way condone. There is a big difference between justifying and merely explaining or reporting.”
But many Facebook commenters and Warren Throckmorton, an associate professor of psychology who has been following this debacle on his blog since the beginning, weren’t buying it.
One Facebook commenter, Jessica Diemer-Eaton said the clarification simply was “not good enough” and that Barton’s “’reporting’ is bias. You seem to believe there are only atrocities against the settlers when in fact, it was the English who executed large numbers of captive Natives, and sold others into slavery,” she says. “For example, the ‘civilized’ English cut off the head of Weetamoo, a female chief, and displayed it in front of her captured warriors… The English are as brutal if not worse than the Native Americans they are engaged in war with, period.”
Throckmorton says Barton got his history wrong. He points out the fact that Indians at the time had already entered into agreements with the British before the start of King Philip’s War. Barton said the British had to “destroy Indian tribes” to get them to sit at the treaty table. The professor also points out that the cause of King Philip’s war had to do with British intrusion on land and not as Barton had said Indians declaring “war on all the white guys” for trying to get them to stop torturing each other. (Related story: “New England’s Second Colonial Armed Conflict: King Philip’s War Remembered”)