The annual train wreck that is the Texas Board of Education’s curriculum standards debate continues to fun down the track. A few years ago they absurdly and falsely added Moses to the standards as an influence on the writing of the Constitution, now they’ve reaffirmed that decision.
For years, social studies standards in Texas have insisted on portraying Moses as a kind of honorary Founding Father. No one seriously argues that his ghost was in the room, but conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education continue to assert that the biblical law-giver was an important influence on the development of the U.S. Constitution…
The Texas board had an opportunity to clear this matter up recently but declined to do so. Members were examining social studies standards for high school students and did make some improvements. For example, the standards will now make the connection between the Civil War and slavery more explicit, and some inflammatory language unjustly linking Islam to terrorism has been toned down.
But Moses is staying in the standards.
And their ridiculous argument to justify it:
“In the United States, the most common book in any household in this time period was, in fact, the Bible, and people who didn’t necessarily believe in religion as such … still had a great knowledge of the Bible,” said GOP board member Pat Hardy of Fort Worth. “In referencing Moses in the time period, they would have known who Moses was and that Moses was the law-giver.”
Epic logic fail. This is called a non sequitur. It simply does not follow that because the Bible was the most common book in homes at the time that therefore the Founding Fathers were influenced by Moses when writing the Constitution. There are potential pieces of evidence that could justify such a claim, but this certainly isn’t one of them. What would support that claim? Well the founders themselves could have said so. Clue: They didn’t. Nowhere in the Federalist Papers, for example, which cited many Greek, Roman and European philosophers to justify the provisions of the Constitution, is Moses or the Bible ever mentioned.
One could point to specific things that Moses is supposed to have said, all of which are found exclusively in the Bible, and then to analogs to those things in the Constitution. Good luck with that. There is no a single such analog. Kind of amazing that Moses “influenced” the Constitution without saying anything that was the least bit relevant to the Constitution. Indeed, the law that Moses laid down was for a theocracy, not a democratic republic. It could hardly be more different.
Why must we continue to allow the most ignorant among us control the education of our children?