That seems a reasonable conclusion after reading David Barton’s review of the first draft of new social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. He clearly hopes that Texans are gullible enough to buy the “war on Christmas” nonsense he and other far-right fanatics have been screaming about the last few years.
Barton’s review attacks curriculum writers for replacing Christmas with the Hindu and Buddhist festival of Diwali in a standard on significant holidays and religious observances in cultures around the world. We told you that a far-right pressure group on Friday was making the same cynical criticism. Barton writes in his review:
“To mention five religions and then mention five holidays ignores the Free-Market nature of America, even among religions. American is not evenly divided among these five religions. . . . The culture of America is not accurately reflected by pretending that all five religions have equal adherents.”
Barton assumes anyone who reads his criticism won’t know that he’s talking about curriculum standards for a course on world geography and cultures, not the United States. The list of religions and holidays isn’t supposed to “accurately reflect” American culture. It’s supposed to reflect the variety of cultures from around the world. He also hopes they won’t learn that the curriculum writers included Easter as the Christian holiday or that teachers are free to include any other holidays as they discuss the world’s major religions.
Barton is determined to stir people up with some notion that they and their faith are somehow under attack. But under attack by whom? The Christians who make up the curriculum writing teams? He thinks most people are too stupid or lazy to ask that question. He’s hoping they will simply gather their torches and pitchforks and march on the Texas Education Agency. Well, that and send him and the advocacy group he leads a generous donation for “protecting” Christianity.
All of which brings us again to this question: why in the world is Barton, a professional political activist who has no real academic qualifications in the social sciences, playing such a leading role in revising our state’s public school curriculum?