Cargill Comment Troubles SBOE Members

by Dan Quinn

It looks like Texas State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, has some serious fence-mending to do after implicitly questioning the faith of some of her board colleagues last week. After telling Texas Eagle Forum activists that she was one of only “six true conservative Christians on the board,” Cargill heard from a Republican colleague who apparently didn’t make her list. According to the Houston Press, board member and fellow Republican board member Bob Craig of Lubbock called Cargill to give her a piece of his mind:

“I was offended that her comments seemed to indicate that only six people on the board were Christians. I am a Christian and very active in First United Methodist Church here in Lubbock. I have very strong religious beliefs, so that kind of comment did not sit well with me.”

Another Republican board member, Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, released a statement:

“It’s an unfortunate start to her tenure as chairwoman. These kind of comments only further divide the board rather than bring us together for the benefit of our students and our schools. I look forward to better days ahead for our new chair.”

Don’t hold your breath, Thomas. Cargill — appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as board chair less than two weeks ago — is just following in the footsteps of other far-right board colleagues who question the faith of people (here and here, for example) who think the board should stop dragging our public schools into the culture wars.