History Wars

by Larry Tate on January 13, 2010

The Texas State Board of Education will begin hearing testimony on the new social studies curriculum for the state today. The “conservative-led” board has some revisin’ they want to do:

Early quibbles over how much prominence to give civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall, and the inclusion of Christmas seem to have been smoothed over in the draft now being considered. But board members are crafting dozens of amendments to be raised for consideration before the tentative vote, expected Thursday. The 15-member board won’t adopt final standards until March.

Thank God they left a few of those liberal minorities in the history books, just to make things even. However, I’m sure this will be compensated for by the pop-up chapter on Strom Thurmond’s valiant struggle to preserve Southern values and Bible-based traditions during the Civil Rights era.

Speaking of the Bible, it seems that the good book is yet another front in Texas’ War on History:

Much of the conversation ahead of the hearing has turned to how much emphasis will be given to the religious beliefs of the nation’s founding fathers, with some activists lobbying to promote and highlight their Christianity. Others who promote the separation of church and state are prepared for battle.

“Some board members and the non-expert ideologues they appointed to a review panel have made it clear that they want students to learn that the founding fathers intended America to be an explicitly Christian nation with laws based on their own narrow interpretations of the Bible,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which opposes initiatives pushed by Christian conservatives.

I hope they at least consider footnoting Thomas Paine’s views on the War on Christmas and Thomas Jefferson’s own version of the Bible that he edited himself, with a razor blade. (A forthcoming post on that subject anon).

But some Texans feel like the conservative board’s efforts have been “misconstrued.” Take this guy, Don McLeroy, a Republican hailing from College Station:

“I don’t see anyone wanting to say that this is a Christian nation or anything like that,” McLeroy said. “The argument is that the principles on which (the nation) has been founded are biblically based.”

You see, it isn’t that this is a Christian nation, it’s just that the fundamental principles upon which we based our nation were from the Christian Bible. See the difference?

Best of luck to you, armchair historians. I’m looking forward to our brand new fair-and-balanced version of History!


I really hope professor Larry Schweikart will be testifying.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Bell-Metereau January 13, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Or a nation founded on religious freedom? We need to keep personal politics out of education and bring the focus of the board back to the educating the children of Texas in a fair and balanced way. This is why I am running for State Board of Education, District 5.


Larry Tate January 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Good Luck, Rebecca from us here at IHWYJS!


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