Bradley: Education Is a ‘Religious Conflict’

So says Texas State Board of Education member David Bradley. Speaking on the Internet radio program WallBuilders Live! today, the Republican from Beaumont Buna in Southeast Texas told hosts David Barton and Rick Green that “conservatives” hold only a slim majority on the state board:

“The pendulum in politics swings both ways and for the first time in many many decades we have been able to carry the debate. And it’s a value system, and it goes down to the core. It is a cultural war, and it is a religious conflict.”

Well, at least he admits it.

Today’s program with Bradley is part of the show’s planned three-part series this week on the state board’s revision of social studies curriculum standards. Tomorrow board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, will be a guest on the show. So far the Wednesday show appears to be just Barton and Green talking some more about the standards.

Of course, Barton said plenty about the social studies process today, too. He charged that “elitest groups” — especially “secular elitest groups” — are trying to influence the Texas curriculum to keep children from learning the truth: that American government is and should be controlled by the people:

“It’s we the people that run the government, not vice versa. Well, we’ve kind of lost that in the last 30 to 40 years, and now we the government is running everything for the people. We’ll tell you about your health care, we’ll tell you about how you can exhale because that’s a dangerous gas you’re releasing into the environment and you’re jeopardizing the entire planet by breaking out carbon dioxide so we’re going to regulate your breathing. It’s just wacky.”

“Regulate your breathing”? Really, David? Well, maybe government will get around to that once it’s done executing sick old folks and disabled children, right?

Barton also praised the state board for making what he considers the right decisions about curriculum standards since the far right finally took control of the board a few years ago:

“We walked in 15 years ago and said let’s get the right people get elected to office.”

Well, at least that’s partly true. The far right, backed by generous funding from donors like San Antonio businessman James Leininger, began its takeover of the state board with the election of one member in 1992. The faction of board extremists finally took control of the board after the 2006 elections. Gov. Rick Perry has since appointed two of the faction’s members as board chairs since then.

But is it too much to expect that Barton not blatantly lie even to his far-right listeners? Could he at least show them a little respect? Toward the end of the show, Barton claimed that the Texas Freedom Network (a “wacky left group”) and the “liberal media” were not telling the truth about social studies debate. In particular, he distorted the controversy over the removal of Thomas Jefferson from the world history standards, blaming teachers for the problem. (Of course he blamed teachers. The far right has shown little but contempt for classroom teachers and their expertise as the board overhauls curriculum standards for all public school classes.)

Barton claimed (inaccurately) that teachers on the curriculum teams had mistakenly listed Jefferson as one of a number of European philosophers who influenced America. He said board members had simply corrected the error:

“You correct some of the wacky things that the teachers said, and these groups put out press releases saying ‘oh they removed Jefferson out of the standards.'”

Well, no, that’s not what happened, David, and you know it. (Or you should know it. After all, the board absurdly appointed you as one of its “expert” advisers for the standards revision.) The world history standard identified Jefferson (who believed that a “wall of separation between church and state” is essential to freedom) as one of the Enlightenment thinkers who influenced political revolutions around the world from 1750 to the present. The board removed both Jefferson and the reference to the Enlightenment from the standard, inserting in Jefferson’s place John Calvin and Thomas Aquinas.

Do you think Barton will inform his listeners that he didn’t tell them the truth? Well, you know the answer to that — don’t you?

12 thoughts on “Bradley: Education Is a ‘Religious Conflict’

  1. Those danged leftist commie liberal Republicans voted Little Lord McLeroy out. I wonder if they will do the same for David “Critical thinking is gobbledegook” Bradley the next time around.

    Barton probably can’t even spell veracity.

  2. “Elitist groups”? That’s no way to talk about his colleagues on the SBOE, some of whom were alienated enough to walk out after the Religious Right (if they’re not elitists, who are?) bloc ran roughshod over everyone and chose to make the revisions about their narrow view of the world rather than broaden the educational standards. Oh yeah, and rather than make those revisions based on what experts in the relevant fields recommended, they decided to do what they wanted.

    In related news, I just got robocalls on behalf of both candidates for the SBOE-10 GOP run-off and posted them to youtube (embedded in my blog; TFN: feel free to remove the blog link and this paragraph if you want to embed the video on your site even though only the Russell call is of interest, and not all that much, because it’s again from Texas Alliance for Life PAC — the Farney call was from Bill Ratliff). As I wrote while ago, “The interesting thing is the amount of difference between these two calls. One has a former state senator and former Lt Gov, the other has a pro-life activist calling under the auspices of the pro-life PAC. One talks about the importance of experience and qualifications, the other is about pro-life endorsement and a decade-long personal relationship. One talks about dedication to the system by participating in it, the other is silent about that.”

  3. If any of you guysand gals—like maybe David or Cytocop—would like to have some real fun, there is a far right conservative blog called “Forgotten Liberty.” He has some interesting ideas on just about everything. Y’all oughta go over and have a chat with him—get some personal insight into the depths of how these folks really think. Here is the URL:

    You think the Barton broadcast was bad? You should have seen the letters to the editor in my local newspaper today. The op-ed page was covered with them. They were all hate letters about Barack Obama, every last one of them, including a birther letter. The chief question in the minds of these people is not: “How can we Improve our country?” The question seems to be, “How? Oh!! How? Can we please find a way to get rid of the…” You know the word. It starts with an “n” and it’s not Neptune. I feel sure the Texas SBOE must feel the same way because the people who write these letters appear to be the types who would agree with them on everything else. Well, that is the report for today from my neck of the woods.

  4. Hey Charles, thanks for the link. Call me a coward but I’m not sure I could stand going there. I get enough craziness here and at work. Because of work stress, I am ALREADY on anti-anxiety meds. Visiting Forgotten Liberty (or Looney-Tunes Unlimited) will just cause me more. It’s not the fact that Forgotten Liberty exists; it’s the fact that so many people read it and believe in it. That’s the scary part.

    There goes Barton, lying again. Is there anything else to be expected from him but lies and misrepresentations?

    Oh, and remember conservative columnist, Jonathan Gurwitz – the gentleman I said I am acquainted with and who is a member of my synagogue? He had written something that was mentioned here and was actually based on rational thought. However, before we start singing “Kumbaya” with him, check out his editorial from this Sunday’s (4/11) San Antonio Express-News: he writes in defense of the Tea Partiers. Gurwitz is so far off Reality and to the Right, I don’t know where to begin to rebut him. But I am inspired to make an attempt.

  5. Cytocop, you and me both, brother. Meds don’t seem to help me, so instead I just play computer games when the disappointment of seeing so many people who are authoritarians hits me. And some days, I gotta run from the internet faster than others. ( I’m also retired, so the stress is all in my head. hehe )

    I like coming here because I can see people doing something instead of just pointing out the nonsense. Not that the pointing out isn’t also important, but that’s something that’s becoming ubiquitous, and seeing so much hostile factions from so many corners of this planet can really overwhelm me, sometimes.

  6. I guess Barton and Bradley are some of the American Exceptionalism we keep reading about. Exceptionally ignorant.

  7. “Texas Freedom Network (a “wacky left group”) ”

    I still love ya!

    Wacky can be good, especially when it’s a code word for “rational.”

  8. good article, but pls gramer check

    Gov. Rick Perry appointed has since appointed two of the faction’s members as board chairs since then.

    is 1st grade & you loose crediblity

  9. charles, pls quote exactly your local paper which says get rid of the…” You know the word

    your bait and leave hanging is weak

    1. ib,
      Thanks for the catch. Fixed.

      Oh, and it’s “grammar,” not “gramer,” “lose,” not “loose,” and “credibility,” not “crediblity.” Just FYI.

  10. Hum…. since it is apparently a “war” does this mean I can capture right-wing religious nuts as prisoners and hold them indefinitely as enemy combatants?

    Where the hell is my .22……

  11. Hi Trog. Charles seems to have a more balanced and mature attitude toward right-wing nuttiness as evidenced by his “having fun” at places like Forgotten Liberty. To me, it isn’t fun. It’s scary: I can’t forget knowing what the level of American ignorance is now and how many millions of Americans have bought into fruity propaganda.

    Case in point: Have any Texans here (and maybe others) noticed the explosion of hysterical and paranoid bumper stickers in the past two weeks? The Repugniks – lacking any substantive argument – are waxing eloquent on fear, their usual modus operandi.

    Trog, a shame your meds aren’t working for you. Mine are for me and, luckily, with no apparent negative side effects. I happen to be off work today to get my taxes and other errands and chores done. Even considering the taxes, I feel SO relaxed and stress-free today just by not working. (I am SO ready for retirement. But, at 59, alas I have another 10 years of my crappy job. That’s IF I survive the next 10 years).

    Forkboy, you may also waterboard them since, when the U.S. waterboards, it’s not torture. Only when someone else waterboards is it torture.

    I’m quitting my newspaper. I’m sick and tired of reading nothing but right-wing nutty editorials, like that of Jonathan Gurwitz and the other Obama-haters and those against worker’s rights and the Constitution. I don’t wish to support such with my dollars.