SOME of you are watching live video transmissions of the proceedings at the Texas State Board of Education (the SBOE), or else you’re keeping up via websites that are live-blogging the event — for example, the Texas Freedom Network. For us, it’s too horrible to keep up with it on a moment-by-moment basis.
Fortunately, for those with limited tolerance for concentrated foolishness, the newspapers are doing a fairly decent job of summarizing the high points (an ironic term) of the SBOE’s stupidity. In the Dallas Morning News we read State Board of Education schedules vote today on curriculum standards. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Social conservatives on the State Board of Education were poised late Thursday night to push for a curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation – a sore point for social conservative groups across the country.
Of all the maneuvering and amending that’s been going on in Texas, this is by far the one that bothers us most. The “social” conservatives are flat-out bonkers on this subject. Let’s read on:
The Republican-dominated board rejected an attempt by Democrats in March to have high school students study the reasons the Founding Fathers barred the government from promoting any religion. The GOP opposition reflected the hostility of many social conservatives …
Have you ever noticed, dear reader, that when the word “social” is attached to a word, it literally negates that word’s meaning? Think about social justice, social security, social studies, social work, and here … social conservative. [Afterthought: there’s also social science and social democracy.] Using this linguistic technique, Don McLeroy is a social genius. We continue:
Under his [McLeroy’s] proposal, students would “contrast the Founders’ intent relative to the wording of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the popular term ‘Separation of church and state.’ ”
McLeroy and other board members contend that separation of church and state was established in the law only by activist judges and not by the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
We’ve previously described the historical absurdity of McLeroy’s position, so there’s no need to repeat ourselves. See: Is America a “Christian Nation”?, and see also: Creationism & Theocracy Too, which specifically quotes Jefferson and Madison on this subject. McLeroy is hopelessly wrong. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
What can we say about the SBOE? The conclusion most favorable to McLeroy and his creationist-theocratic comrades is that they are totally ignorant of the matters with which they’re dealing. But it’s difficult to imagine that their ignorance could persist for months. Therefore, one suspects that their condition goes beyond mere ignorance. It certainly looks like willful ignorance, and — assuming they have encountered correct information — then at least some these people are deliberately lying.
Yes, dear reader, although it pains your Curmudgeon to consider that possibility, it’s got to be on the table. There may be more than mere lying going on — it’s also possible that insanity is involved. Lots of it — Texas-sized insanity.
Here’s another tidbit:
One potential division was averted when a Republican board member, David Bradley of Beaumont, withdrew an amendment to list President Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, in the standard calling on high school history students to examine the historical significance of the 2008 presidential election – the election of the country’s first black president.
Board members then voted to add Obama’s name to the standards, using his middle initial.
Hey — what is McLeroy’s middle initial? We could run through the alphabet with interesting possibilities, starting with “A.” There’s a good one that comes immediately to mind. Anyway, let’s see one more excerpt from the Dallas Morning News:
Some of the most prolonged debate early Thursday night came over whether to include Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address with a lesson on Abraham Lincoln’s philosophical views; the board decided to include Davis.
Why not? As with evolution, teach the controversy. Let the children decide.
Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.