Texas Creationists Battle Over Teaching History

ORDINARILY, we wouldn’t be interested in writing about the deranged gyrations of the Texas Board of Education (BOE) as they struggle with non-scientific subjects like American history; but we already know their record on creationism, so watching them deal with history is a further peek into the “thoughts” of a gang of creationists.

Back when we reported on the appointment of Gail Lowe to replace Don McLeroy as chairman of the BOE, we noted her claim that “This country was founded on Judeo Christian principles and to say otherwise is to deny what is very unique about our country,” and we commented:

Let’s think about this: (1) rebelling against the king; (2) establishing a federal republic; (3) dis-establishing the church in Virginia; (4) prohibiting all religious qualifications for holding office; (5) allowing secular oaths; (6) providing that a man-made Constitution was the supreme law of the land — those actions were based on biblical motives?

It’s intriguing to watch the BOE deal with these things. Bear in mind that to a creationist, history is simple — it all happened in just a few thousand years. There’s the six days of creation, Noah’s Flood, and then the events described in the New Testament. Nothing else is terribly important. The founding of America was entirely a scriptural affair. Anyway, we’re probably in the Final Days, so the whole purpose of education is merely to get ready for the end.

That’s pretty much how things have been going in Texas, at least until now. In the Dallas Morning News we read Texas board revises history books. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Meeting with several writing teams for social studies in all grade levels, the board asked for several revisions in the first drafts laying out the new standards for history, government and other social studies courses in Texas schools.

Many of the requested changes were for historical figures who were deleted from the standards by the writing teams because they were no longer considered as relevant or to make room for individuals who were added.

We reported on some of that a couple of months ago. See: Texas Education War: Phase Two. The BOE’s “experts” had 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. We told you about some of those “experts” — especially David Barton.

Let’s read on in today’s Dallas Morning News:

State board Chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, asked another writing team why elementary school students were not being required to learn state capitals in geography classes. Team members agreed to consider the request after other board members voiced support for the idea.

We always thought learning stuff like that made no sense. One’s own state capitol, sure — but all of them? The kids only need to learn how to look them up. But that’s a quibble. Let’s continue:

Earlier, board members heard reports from a panel of six experts appointed to review the curriculum standards.

Two of those experts, evangelical minister Peter Marshall of Massachusetts and Wallbuilders president David Barton of Aledo, were asked about their earlier recommendations to drop labor leader César Chávez and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black member of the court, from the standards.

We commented on that issue before. We don’t think those two people should get the same attention as George Washington — but nobody else does either. Still, there should be a place in history texts for leaders of social issues. The proposed omission of César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall sparked a lot of controversy, as you can see:

Both backed away from their original recommendations, which minority groups decried. They said their intent was to get more historical figures into the standards.

There’s a lot being written in the press every day about the education circus in Texas. We’re not going to follow the news very closely; nevertheless, we’ll be commenting from time to time. We’re always fascinated by the creationist mindset.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Texas Creationists Battle Over Teaching History

  1. “Earlier, board members heard reports from a panel of six experts appointed to review the curriculum standards.

    Two of those experts, evangelical minister Peter Marshall of Massachusetts and Wallbuilders president David Barton of Aledo…”

    Nothing like inserting a radical Christian slant into public education. These guys are “experts”? In religious indoctrination maybe. Who are the other four “experts” and why doesn’t the Dallas News article mention them?

  2. About Peter Marshall
    ( http://petermarshallministries.com/about/rev_peter_marshall.cfm )

    The Rev. Peter Marshall is a Presbyterian minister who for over forty years has gained national recognition as a preacher on Christian growth and discipleship, and as a teacher and writer on America’s Christian heritage. Because he believes that our nation is in moral and spiritual crisis and that the only hope for restoration is revival, his increasingly prophetic ministry focuses on two major themes.

    First, there is the urgent necessity of recovering the original American vision, and the truth about our Christian heritage. How can we restore America if we don’t know who we are?

    Second, he strongly emphasizes the importance of putting 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into practice: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

  3. Wallbuilders – About Us
    ( http://www.wallbuilders.com/ABTOverview.asp )

    WallBuilders’ goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.

  4. *sigh* I love my Texas, even when kooks are messing with it. I sincerely hope that Kay Bailey Huchison wins the Republican primary. I just can’t take anymore of Perry with his nutjob appointees.

  5. You’re incorrect when you said, “prohibiting all religious qualifications for holding office”. In Texas, and I think 12 other states, the state Constitution says you must hold a belief in a supreme being to hold office within the government.

  6. Ke – sources I googled say 7 states including Texas. However, a U.S. Supreme Court case, Torcaso v Watkins, in 1961 ruled that all such provisions were unconstitutional. These religious test are historical relics and not enforceable. So the Curmudgeon IS correct.