Here’s a new one for the “why it’s a bad idea to allow ideologues to write history standards” file — a file that is growing by the day, thanks to the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE).
Today’s example comes from the Rev. Peter Marshall, appointed earlier this year by far-right SBOE members Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, to the “expert” panel advising the board on new social studies curriculum standards. (Read about Marshall’s appalling lack of qualifications here.) Marshall writes a weekly commentary on his “Peter Marshall Ministries” Web site, which typically consists of boiler-plate attacks on liberals, communists and moderate Republicans, all of whom supposedly pose an imminent threat to America’s very existence (in Marshall’s bizarre theology, at any rate). In this week’s commentary — entitled “Alien Invasion” — Marshall proposes an alarming solution to the tragic shooting in Fort Hood:
Apparently, there are about 4000 Muslims in the United States Military. They should be immediately examined — all of them.
Now before you go and jump to the conclusion that Marshall is suggesting the government round up American Muslims and force them into detention camps (à la the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II), let’s hear him out.
But I promise you that it [the examination of Muslims in the military] won’t happen. Too politically risky, it will be said. Obviously discriminatory.
Yep. And so was the treatment of Japanese-Americans in the early months of World War II. To have rounded up thousands of Americans of Japanese descent on the West Coast and imprisoned them in detention camps seems to us today to be a grevious [sic] violation of civil rights. But what was President Roosevelt to do? There had been reports that Japanese-Americans were engaging in spying for Japan in Hawaii and on the West Coast. There was no telling how many spies existed among us, and how much damage they could do to the war effort. Only by quick and drastic action to isolate the whole group could enough time be bought to interrogate them and try to root out the dangerous ones. Hence, the detention camps.
Were mistakes made with the Japanese-Americans? Yes. Were they detained too long? Yes. Could the problem have been handled better? Without question. But at least they tried to handle the potential danger. Which is more than we are doing now, with what amounts to a dangerous fifth-column invasion of potential Muslim terrorists in our midst, and even within our military. Will anything be done about it soon?
Didn’t think he would go there, did you? You thought justifying the forced detention of an entire ethnic group — and what’s more, actually calling for it! — was going too far, even for someone like Marshall.
And remember, this guy is helping create the American history standards that will guide what Texas schoolchildren study for a decade or more.