They have been at this for a very long time. What is ‘this’? Revising our public school text books to reflect a skewed view of America’s history beginning with the claim that we were founded as a “Christian Nation”. This is serious and threatening. Hearings were held in Austin, Texas last month, January 2010, to the 15 members of the Texas State Board of Education.
You may be thinking, “I’m not Texan, why does this matter to me?” Let me share an excellent article with you about how and why this is seriously significant to ALL of us. Russell Shorto of the NY Times published an article on February 11, 2010 that you really must take time to read in its entirety and you can click here to do just that.
In the meantime I will paste a few excerpts here so that we can spark a discussion around this insinuation of the Khristian Dominionists into our public education through the revision of history – and ultimately through the minds of our children.
First, we must talk about why Texas has so much influence in determining (and undermining) what ends up in our public education textbooks.
“Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. Texas uses some of that money to buy or distribute a staggering 48 million textbooks annually — which rather strongly inclines educational publishers to tailor their products to fit the standards dictated by the Lone Star State.”
“Not surprisingly, money”…and organization…
“Texas was one of the first states to adopt statewide curriculum guidelines, back in 1998, and the guidelines it came up with (which are referred to as TEKS — pronounced “teaks” — for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) were clear, broad and inclusive enough that many other states used them as a model in devising their own. And while technology is changing things, textbooks — printed or online —are still the backbone of education.”
AH! And the always well-funded Christian Dominionist sect…the infestation begins…
“The cultural roots of the Texas showdown may be said to date to the late 1980s, when, in the wake of his failed presidential effort, the Rev. Pat Robertsonfounded the Christian Coalition partly on the logic that conservative Christians should focus their energies at the grass-roots level. One strategy was to put candidates forward for state and local school-board elections[...]“
And now enter the ReBiblicanized republicans…
“Since the election of two Christian conservatives in 2006, there are now seven on the Texas state board who are quite open about the fact that they vote in concert to advance a Christian agenda. “They do vote as a bloc,” Pat Hardy, a board member who considers herself a conservative Republican but who stands apart from the Christian faction, told me. “They work consciously to pull one more vote in with them on an issue so they’ll have a majority.”
Steeplejacked! It is truly that obvious…the Texas State Board was intentionally targeted and successfully turned into an arm of the Christian Dominionist agenda to re-write our history. And what is the story they want our children to be sold?
“The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn’t merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a “Christian nation,” they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country’s roots and the intent of the founders.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth….
“Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
No subtlety there! This is how brazen they are…they know they can come right out with it and not face any push back. It flies right past our radar! And they carry on…and on…and on.
One of the current board members up for re-election and former Chairman of the state board, Don McLeroy, describes himself this way,
“I consider myself a Christian fundamentalist,” He also identifies himself as a young-earth creationist who believes that the earth was created in six days, as the book of Genesis has it, less than 10,000 years ago. He went on to explain how his Christian perspective [guides] him in the current effort to adjust American-history textbooks to highlight the role of Christianity. “Textbooks are mostly the product of the liberal establishment, and they’re written with the idea that our religion and our liberty are in conflict,” he said.
Here is where we begin to pull in the language of the Dominionists and stir it up into a muddy Tea (as it were) – a concoction of two kool aids – like mixing red & green together – you end up with a glass that looks something akin to swamp water. And let us not overlook that our favorite Poster Gal for Christian Dominionism, Sarah Palin, holds these very same views…I mean really holds them! As unbelievable as this may be to some of us, they truly believe that humans co-existed with the dinosaurs.
“Merely weaving important religious trends and events into the narrative of American history is not what the Christian bloc on the Texas board has pushed for in revising its guidelines. Many of the points that have been incorporated into the guidelines or that have been advanced by board members and their expert advisers slant toward portraying America as having a divinely preordained mission.”
The article takes you on an in depth journey into the rationalization behind the Dominionist claim that we ARE a Christian nation and how they are in a relentless pursuit to incorporate this into our schools. The absence, to date, of their version of America in our public school textbooks is what leads the zealots to claim that our schools are “Institutions of Satan”. Literally.
It introduces you to players like David Barton, Jay Sekulow and Cynthia Dunbar who is quoted as saying…
[...]“We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world.” But the true picture of America’s Christian founding has been whitewashed by “the liberal agenda” — in order for liberals to succeed “they must first rewrite our nation’s history” and obscure the Christian intentions of the founders. Therefore, she wrote, “this battle for our nation’s children and who will control their education and training is crucial to our success for reclaiming our nation.”
And there we go…it’s the Dominionists’ perceived mandate from God’s lips to their ears to “Reclaim the 7 Mountains”, and education is a huge target for them. (refer to the 7 Mountains video in my side bar)
Where in recent history have we heard the recitation of “a light/beacon on a hill? Well, Reagan in the 80s and it has rolled right on down that hill to Palin as recently as her speech at the Tea Nation Party gathering this month in Nashville, Tennessee.
I know my post is lengthy and Shorto’s NY Times article is even longer, but it is worth reading even if you need to come back to it. This IS representative of what I (and others) have been writing about in our efforts to warn about Christian Dominionism in America and their very real goal to change our democratic republic into a theocracy.
**A fellow colleague and friend, Chris Rodda, is one of the foremost experts in this discussion and specifically David Barton. I have her book linked on my sidebar, “Liars for Jesus” and highly recommend it to be added to your MUST READ list. **