So says Peter Marshall, a supposed social studies “expert” helping revise curriculum standards for Texas public schools. The far-right evangelical minister from Massachusetts, appointed to an “expert” panel by social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal in a story this week about the ongoing curriculum revision:
“We’re in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it.”
Of course, the enemy in that war is anyone — even fellow Christians — who don’t share Marshall’s personal religious and political beliefs. Marshall has made that very clear.
The mix of intolerance and violent imagery employed by Marshall and others of the religious right is as extreme today as when the movement’s shock troops declared a “culture war” in America nearly two decades ago. That kind of hyperbolic nonsense is something Texans will hear more and more over the coming months. That’s because the state board also put another far-right political activist, David Barton, on the “expert” social studies panel.
Never mind that Marshall and Barton are absurdly unqualified to be considered experts by any objective standards. Barton, who founded an organization that opposes separation of church and state, has a bachelor’s degree in religious education. Marshall also has no advanced degree in the social sciences. In truth, their “expertise” is in promoting political agendas, not social studies education.
But don’t bother suggesting that state board members choose only “experts” who actually have relevant academic qualifications that make them experts. Too many of those board members think real scholarship is suspect — another example of the anti-intellectualism rampant among the religious right.
Don McLeroy, ousted from his post as board chair by the state Senate in May, tells the Austin American-Statesman that he likes things the way things are now — the only requirement for being an “expert” is that two board members say so:
“If two (board) members think they’re qualified, they’re qualified.”
Golly, such high standards for Texas. But hey, we’re in a “war for the soul of America,” right?