Has Peter Marshall Come Unhinged?

by Dan Quinn

Reading his increasingly vitriolic commentaries, one begins to question the Rev. Peter Marshall‘s grasp of reality. Yet the State Board of Education put him in a prominent position to influence what millions of public school children in Texas will learn in their social studies classrooms. The mind still reels at the thought.

In any case, consider two recent commentaries posted on his website. Marshall’s July 22 commentary about Islam included this stunning and vicious attack on Muslim Americans:

“When it comes to the reality of Islam in America, can a good or devout Muslim be a good American? No. The answer, my friends, is a flat ‘no!’ The only Muslim that could possibly be a good American is a Muslim that is non-practicing, or one that is in the process of repudiating Islam. Why? Because Islam is completely incompatible with either Christianity or patriotic Americanism.”

Marshall then offered a bizarre rant about President Obama in his July 29 commentary:

(I)rony abounds when one realizes that our current President, who claimed in his election campaign to really be ‘one of the people,’ and that he could ‘hear’ the plights and needs of the poor, the less fortunate, etc., etc., is in fact the most elitist President in our entire history. He is the product of an elite Hawaiian prep school, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School. That’s about as elitist as it gets in America. Further, he was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School. When you listen to the velvet sounds of his mellifluous baritone you are hearing the carefully modulated expressions of one who has been groomed for his present position for a very long time. He is an elitist of the elite.

Wow. The president was raised mostly by a single mother and his middle-class grandparents. During part of his childhood, his family was forced to live on food stamps. Whether or not one agrees with President Obama’s political positions, it’s hard to see his background as anything like “elitist.” (And that’s certainly true when one considers the background of the president who preceded him in the White House.)

Yet does Marshall, who portrays himself as a conservative, see anything positive about a young man coming from such a modest background who gets accepted to and succeeds in some of the nation’s most respected academic institutions? No, Marshall bizarrely sees the president as an “elitist.” Seriously.

The hatred and contempt in his toxic words make Marshall sound increasingly unhinged. Yet radicals on the Texas State Board of Education somehow thought he was qualified to advise educators and scholars about what students should learn in their social studies classrooms. Why? Because they were more interested in promoting a political agenda than ensuring that students get a sound education that prepares them to succeed in college and their careers.

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