Tuesday, July 21, 2009

U. S. History, Texas-Style

I've noted (most recently here) the never-ending battles that have to be fought down in Texas to keep creationism out of the science classroom. Not only are we not winning those; now, I find out, it doesn't end there. Apparently, the fundies are none too happy at the idea that when it comes to our nation's history, we ought to teach something besides "Jesus wrote the Constitution so that white men could do good works."

Stephanie Simon reports in the WSJ on "a brewing debate over how much faith belongs in American history classrooms." Here are some excerpts.

Three reviewers [out of a total of six --bjk], 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.

"We're in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it," said Rev. Peter Marshall, a Christian minister and one of the reviewers appointed by the conservative camp.


The reviewers appointed by conservatives include two who run conservative Christian organizations: David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a group that promotes America's Christian heritage; and Rev. Marshall, who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God's judgments on the nation's sexual immorality. [...]

The conservative reviewers say they believe that children must learn that America's founding principles are biblical. [...]

The curriculum, they say, should clearly present Christianity as an overall force for good -- and a key reason for American exceptionalism, the notion that the country stands above and apart.

A reminder: As Texas education standards go, so go Texas schoolbooks. And as Texas schoolbooks go, so, often, do the textbooks for the rest of the country's kids.

(h/t: eric/Edge of the American West)

[Added] See the blog of the Texas Freedom Network for more; e.g., here, here, here, and here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Man, our nation is swirling down the drain at breath-taking speed. I tend not to think the problem is inherent to humanity, but rather some seriously screwed up aspect of American culture. I really don.t know. But whatever it is, someone needs to figure it out and find a cure for it.