Texas textbooks teach America is ‘Christian nation’

Texas textbooks teach America is ‘Christian nation’ November 8, 2014

Liars for Jesus: Christian conservatives in Texas force false historical narratives into public school textbooks, claim the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.

The Texas State Board of Education will vote Nov. 21 on new social studies textbooks for public schools. An analysis of the new history, geography and civics textbooks up for review reveals dozens of biased, misleading and inaccurate lessons meant to create and perpetuate the false impression that America is a “Christian nation” while denying or minimizing the Founding Father’s support for separation of church and state.

The textbooks were written to align with instructional standards that the Board of Education approved back in 2010 with the explicit intention of forcing social studies teaching to adhere to a conservative Christian agenda. The standards require teachers to emphasize America’s Christian heritage.

The following, taken from a McGraw-Hill government textbook, is but one problematic example:

“[The] biblical idea of a covenant, an ancient Jewish term meaning a special kind of agreement between the people and God, influenced the formation of colonial governments and contributed to our constitutional structure.”

Emile Lester, a professor of history in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington, claimed the textbooks contained “inventions and exaggerations” about Christianity’s influence on the Founding Fathers and, by extension, the formation of American democracy.

Credible historians warn the misguided attempt to suggest biblical origins for the Constitution would lead students to believe that “Moses was the first American.”

Scholars claim the decision to include the biblical figure of Moses in social studies education is part of a concerted effort by Christian extremists to promote the idea that the United States is a “redeemer nation” – giving a divine justification for supposed American exceptionalism.

The proposed textbooks are deeply flawed, and have no place in a public school classroom. It is wrong and factually incorrect to teach Texas public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible.

Besides claiming the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses, and that the U.S. is a “Christian nation,” the social studies textbooks also suggest that segregated schools weren’t all that bad and taxes imposed for programs like Social Security haven’t measurably improved society.

Concerned readers can sign a petition sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State: Let textbook publishers know that you care about accurate social studies education; tell the publishers Moses was not the first American, and that America is not a Christian nation.

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