Texas Theocracy: Gail Lowe Interviewed

SBOE Chairman Gail Lowe

YOU know who Gail Lowe is. She was selected by Texas Governor Rick Perry to be chairman of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), as successor to Don McLeroy, whose appointment had been rejected by the state Senate. We wrote about it here: Lowe Named Chairman of BOE, and then here: Gail Lowe is McLeroy’s Clone.

Lowe was recently interviewed by the the Southern Baptist TEXAN, and the results are published in the Baptist Press. This is their About Us page. Here are some excerpts from Q&A: Texas board of education chairman. The bold font was added by us:

Board chairman Gail Lowe (R-Lampasas) agreed to answer questions about the new social studies standards, which face a final vote by the 15-member elected board in May. The Texas board’s decisions have a significant influence on textbook content nationally because of the volume of textbooks the state purchases.

Yes, we know all that. Here it comes:

TEXAN: Will the new standards or textbooks include language stating America is a Christian nation founded upon and governed by Christian beliefs, as the Interfaith Alliance alleged in a letter to textbook publishers?

How does the chairman answer? Let’s read on:

LOWE: Nowhere in our social studies curriculum standards is America referred to as a Christian nation, but historians have widely acknowledged that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles that promote the worth of the individual yet acknowledge man’s sinful nature.

Historians have “widely acknowledged” that? Lowe is probably thinking of David Barton, the “expert” she appointed for his peculiar insights. When your Curmudgeon was in school, the American history textbooks didn’t have a chapter on sin. Perhaps that’s our problem.

We’ll skip the rest of Lowe’s long answer to that question, because it seems to be all fluff. You can click over there to read it if you like. Instead, let’s move on to the next question:

TEXAN: How do you respond to the Interfaith Alliance’s allegation that the conservatives on the board believe “the Founders did not intend for the nation to have separation of church and state”?

Here’s Loew’s answer:

LOWE: A critical priority of the State Board of Education in our revision of the curriculum standards has been to emphasize the founding documents, such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution. We believe students need a stronger grasp of the freedoms guaranteed in these documents. The First Amendment very clearly prevents Congress from establishing a national church, but it also promotes the free exercise of religion. Students need to understand that this is what the founders intended. It is inaccurate to say the founding fathers were neutral about religion; most were strong proponents of religious faith but did not believe in a national church controlled by the federal government.

Ah — we never saw the First Amendment spun that way before. It promotes free exercise. Promotes! Yes, that’s the key. You can read it for yourself:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Our eyes have been opened. We see the mandate — the commandment! — to get out there and promote. Okay, moving along to the next question:

TEXAN: Why was Thomas Jefferson removed from the Enlightenment period and where does he appear in the new standards?

And the answer:

LOWE: A proposal had been made to list Jefferson in the world history course with European Enlightenment figures John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu and Jean Jacques Rousseau, who influenced political revolutions from 1750 to the present. Since Thomas Jefferson and his political philosophies are so heavily emphasized in the study of American history and U.S. government courses, members voted not to add this reference in world history so students could devote more time to learning about these additional philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson is taught in Grade 5 as a founding father and patriot hero. … As author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson also will be studied in reference to that pivotal document. The only historical figure mentioned more times than Thomas Jefferson in our curriculum standards is George Washington. There is no way students in Texas will avoid learning of his contributions to our country.

The news was reported differently after the decision was made. See: Embracing the Dark Ages. What shall we believe — the news or the spin?

It’s a long interview, so we’ll just give you one more question and answer:

TEXAN: Is the conservative bloc of the board allowing its religious beliefs to cause it to push an “inaccurate history of our country” and indoctrinate students in right-wing political ideology?

LOWE: The social studies framework is not about religious dogma, church traditions or specific denominational beliefs. To the secular, radical left thinker, however, any mention of religious belief is anathema. It is those voices who are screaming most loudly because they do not want to admit the extent to which religious liberties and religious faith have influenced our country.

Yeah, well, let ‘em scream. Right, Gail?

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Texas Theocracy: Gail Lowe Interviewed

  1. Curmy – you are evil. After all, she is probably someone’s grandma.

  2. The Gadfly says: “Curmy – you are evil.”

    Hey, don’t blame me. That’s the picture from the article.

  3. TEXAN: Is the conservative bloc of the board allowing its religious beliefs to cause it to push an “inaccurate history of our country” and indoctrinate students in right-wing political ideology?

    Gee, how do you suppose she would answer this one?

    Also, consulting David Barton as an expert in history is like consulting Ken Ham as an expert in science.

  4. James F asks:

    Gee, how do you suppose she would answer this one?

    It certainly was a hard-hitting interview.

  5. waldteufel

    She looks like the Joker in the Batman movies.

  6. Come on you guys! She is a rock-solid conservative from the middle of Texas, and a self-made intellectual giant!