In 2007 I gave a talk that aired on C-SPAN about the need for scientifically literate people to run for school boards to counter the influence of the religious right, which has focused on dominating local elected bodies for the last couple decades. I could have specified constitutionally literate as well. Americans United tells the story of what is going on in Springboro, Ohio:
In the wake of elections last year, a three-member Tea Party faction now controls the school board. They’re up to no good.
In May, the board majority, all of whom ran on a fiscal conservative platform, suddenly began talking about finding a way to work creationism into the science curriculum. One of the board members, Jim Rigano, told the Dayton Daily News that he believes introducing creationism would help the district “ensure we’re not indoctrinating one point of view or another.”…
On the heels of that controversy, the board struck again. This time, members proposed offering a special course this summer on the Constitution – well, the far right’s interpretation of the Constitution.
The plan was to offer the courses to adults in the community this summer and then consider integrating the material into the school curriculum this fall.The classes were offered by two groups called the Institute on the Constitution and the National Center for Constitutional Studies. The names sound innocuous, but they cloak an extreme agenda.
Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, pointed out on his blog that the Institute on the Constitution was founded and is directed by Michael Peroutka, the 2004 presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. The Institute leans heavily on material produced by “Christian nation” advocates John Eidsmoe and David Barton.
Worse yet, Throckmorton noted that the Institute has ties to the League of the South, a radical outfit that seeks to preserve the “Anglo-Celtic culture” of the South. The League, which can’t seem to accept that the Civil War is over, is actually working toward secession. It has been labeled a racist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Wrote Throckmorton, “As it stands, the Springboro School District is offering to the public a course in the Constitution developed by members of an organization who desire to promote the dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people, the secession of Southern states from the nation, and align themselves with the pro-slavery fire-eaters of the Confederate South.”
Peroutka is an unabashed theocrat with close ties to Christian Reconstructionism as well. This is a good example of why we can’t let the far right control school boards, city councils, county commissions and other local governing bodies.