We already know conservative Christians are attacking Science curriculums across the country. Now they’re trying to revise History classes?
Oh. It’s Texas. I get it now.
Two of the three reviewers proposing pro-Christian revisionist history are:
- David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a group that promotes America’s Christian heritage
- Rev. Peter Marshall, who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God’s judgments on the nation’s sexual immorality
In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history…
Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.
De-emphasize Thurgood Marshall? The first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court? The person who argued for the winning side in Brown v. Board of Education? A person who presided over some of the most important civil rights cases in U.S. history? We don’t do him enough justice in our schools as is!
I look forward to hearing how these people want to praise Joseph McCarthy.
The Christians also want to include Billy Graham on the list of “transformational leaders of the 20th century.”
How should social studies teachers explain the system of checks and balances?
The conservative reviewers say… the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution stems from a scriptural understanding of man’s fall and inherent sinfulness, or “radical depravity,” which means he can be governed only by an intricate system of checks and balances.
And then, there’s my favorite change:
Replace references to America’s “democratic” values with “republican” values
Reviewer David Barton suggests swapping out “republican” for “democratic” in teaching materials. As he explains: “We don’t pledge allegiance to the flag and the democracy for which it stands.”
So why does all this matter when each state has its own standards?
Texas is such a large market that textbook-makers would cater their books to adapt to Texas’ (soon-to-be-lower?) standards, books which can also then be used in other states. Not only that, some publishers “[adopt] the majority’s editing suggestions nearly verbatim.”
It’s not an isolated incident.
None of this has been adopted yet, of course. It’s just a possibility. But so was unnecessary criticism of evolution at one time… now, that criticism is part of Texas’ new science standards.
Are we allowed to make suggestions for the Texas Board of Education?
If the Christians get their way, I suggest making Susan Jacoby‘s Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism required reading.
(Thanks to Alan and Charlie for the link!)