Lowe’s Bogus Explanation on Jefferson Deletion

The Texas Freedom Network sent out the following press release today:

SBOE Chair Lowe’s Explanation for Dropping Jefferson from Standard Doesn’t Hold Water

TFN President Kathy Miller Points Out the Distorted History Promoted by Board Extremists

March 19, 2010

Texas State Board of Education chairwoman Gail Lowe’s explanation for the board’s deletion of Thomas Jefferson from world history curriculum standards is deeply disingenuous, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

TFN President Kathy Miller was responding to a statement from Lowe released today by the Texas Education Agency. Lowe criticized media coverage of the board’s vote last week to strip Jefferson from a standard requiring students to study great political thinkers who influenced political revolutions from 1750 to the present. Lowe notes that Jefferson remains in American history and government standards. But that misses the point, Miller said.

“This isn’t a contest to see how many times someone is included in the standards,” Miller said. “The issue here is why the board would not want students to learn that people struggling for freedom around the world have looked for more than two centuries to Thomas Jefferson and his ideals for inspiration. This is yet another example of board members making decisions about things they clearly don’t know anything about instead of listening to teachers and scholars who do.”

Scholars have long noted Jefferson’s influence on political revolutionaries fighting for freedom in Europe and the Americas. The Library of Congress says this about Jefferson:

“Recognized in Europe as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson quickly became a focal point or lightning rod for revolutionaries in Europe and the Americas. . . . Until his death Jefferson was convinced that ‘this ball of liberty . . . will roll round the world’ aided by the beacon of the Declaration of Independence. . . . Thomas Jefferson often consulted with Lafayette during the drafting of this French declaration of rights in July 1789. Jefferson’s immersion in the French Revolution and his influence on the Republican leaders can be seen in the surviving documents.”

Miller noted that the board’s religious conservatives replaced Jefferson, who spoke of the “wall of separation” between church and state as critical to freedom, with references to theologians Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin.

28 thoughts on “Lowe’s Bogus Explanation on Jefferson Deletion

  1. It is now clear about the Righteous Right’s problem with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was a revolutionary, an inspiration to the commie pinkos that followed, and obviously influenced Karl Marx. Worst of all, Jefferson was one of those other radicals in England that had rebelled against King Charles I and his divine right of kings. Against God Himself.

    Now this conclusion requires the assumption that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock were proto-commie as well, having left England when King James I took over and who had reestablished the Anglican Church as paramount. Oliver Cromwell, Super-Round Head whose Axed King Charles I must also be assumed to be a proto-commie.

    I find it hard to connect current theocratic thinking of the Christian Right to the forebearers of Christian Rightness who were revolutionary to the core. In Cromwell’s days, there were Separatists who wanted to split from the Church of England, Levelers who wanted to abolish nobility, and Diggers who wanted to banish private property. How Marxist can you get?

    Purging Jefferson from the pages of Texas history books leaves us with only one choice: Abolish the Texas Bored of Education forthwith and postehaste! As in yesterday.

  2. Jefferson’s writing in the Declaration was used verbatim by the Vietnamese (Ho Chi Minh, et al.) declaration of their independence from France.

  3. What’s hilarious about this is that these same knuckleheads want to champion “American Exceptionalism” !!!
    As in, who is more exceptional than Thomas Jefferson?
    What a bunch of dumba$$e$.

  4. Okay, this press release makes the significance pretty clear, but I feel like I’m missing something.

    Why did the far right remove Jefferson here but not elsewhere?

    Is this merely an example of an uneducated decision? Or is there ill intent?

  5. They knew how outrageous it would be to remove him totally, so they wanted to start incrementally removing him. That is because he was a Deist and held a dim view of would-be theocratic knuckleheads like them.

    You see, the educated world moved beyond the ignorant formulations of the superstitious opponents of knowledge several centuries ago.
    These people will never catch up. They’re way too far behind.

  6. Why did the far right remove Jefferson here but not elsewhere?

    Joe: My guess is that they will let Jefferson remain where they want him to remain, perhaps as the original writer of the Declaration of Independence and as a slave-holder. (Remember, slavery was good for slaves since it brought them to America and introduced them to Christianity).

    Is this merely an example of an uneducated decision? Or is there ill intent?
    Joe: Knowing how ignorant and devious this group is, the answer is probably Either or Both.

    Tony Whitson’s reference to Ho Chi Minh (which I now remember as being very historically correct) just condemns Jefferson all the more to the far right. If Jefferson was “Religiously Right,” Ho would have wanted nothing to do with him. That’s probably what the Right will tell you.

  7. We have the proof we need from the Right! Jefferson was a Viet Cong agitator! The facts fit! Vietnam conquered Saigon in 1775 with the aid of the Surrender Monkey Cheese eating Socialist French. And those same French supported the American Revolution, and after that they removed the head of state.

    “How does that coincide with your hard core Commie Conspiracy” General Ripper to Group Captain Mandrake in “Dr Strangelove.

    OPE, POE, something like that.

  8. Jefferson, along with Paine helped write the French Constitution after their revolution. Oh, that must be it, we hate the french. Sorry.

  9. Methinks that not only are these folks uneducated knuckle draggers but that they are incapable of reading. If they could read, they might pursue the First Amendment of our Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    That sounds pretty much sounds like a very clear separation of church (no law respecting an establishment of religion) and state (Congress shall make no law).

    Also, they have no comprehension of the FACT that many of the founders of this nation WERE NOT CHRISTIANS AND DID NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A CHRISTIAN STATE! They were, in fact, DEISTS who deny the Trinitarian views. The United States were established by people of various religions, not all of whom were Christians.

    It is highly odd that the Pilgrims were attempting to escape the exact type of religion persecution that the TBOE is attempting to foist on us! Are they totally unaware that the majority of people on this planet are not Christian and here in the United States, although the majority of the population define themselves as being Christian, fifteen percent have NO religion at all! In 2000, the number of Christians in the world came to 33% meaning that the majority of the world are NOT Christian as a quick look at Google will show. Doesn’t it make sense that if the founders meant for this to be a Christian country they would have SAID SO? Would they have written the first amendment?

    I adhere to a religion that is only two tenths of one percent of the world’s population, thus one of the most persecuted in the world. If the TBOE had their way, my co-religionists would probably be banned; they have zero tolerance for those who do not call themselves Christians. But my question is what KIND of Christians are THEIR kind of Christians? Do they accept only ONE form of Christianity or all of them? How about those who speak in tongues, are they okay? How about Methodists or Presbyterians, would they pass their tests for being Christian enough? WHAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN IS ACCEPTABLE TO THAT GROUP?

    There are over 400 groups who call themselves Christian; which are acceptable enough? The problem seems to be that they are not aware that there so many groups believe not only that they are Christians, but claim that they are the only TRUE Christians.

    This is not meant to be a swipe against any group, Christian or not. I do not “tolerate” any group of people, I ACCEPT them. I renounce any kind of discrimination. My life’s philosophy is expressed in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:4. But I find it very difficult to like, let alone love, that group that will foist their ignorance on a decade’s worth of children. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Get rid of them and let’s start with a group of intelligent experts in their fields. We have enough bigotry in the world.

  10. Cytocop says:

    Tony Whitson’s reference to Ho Chi Minh (which I now remember as being very historically correct) just condemns Jefferson all the more to the far right. If Jefferson was “Religiously Right,” Ho would have wanted nothing to do with him. That’s probably what the Right will tell you.

    Yes, but even then, how does that justify removing him from a standard on intellectual influences on historical revolutions?

    For the sake of consistency, they should have eliminated any reference to non-Lockean, or “bad” revolutions (France, Russia, etc.). Why do Texas students even need to know about them, anyway?

    It’s enough for them to know that Obama = Stalin, Obama = Neville Chamberlain, etc.

    Knowing anything about Stalin or Chamberlain would only make it difficult for them to understand these equations.

  11. Unfortunately, TFN needs to Quit Thinking of an Elephant:

    When you distort history and the Constitution, you weaken your argument. Thomas Jefferson was not a “Founding Father,” and the Declaration of Independence has no legal standing in any court of law. It was a declaration of independence and is not the Constitution of which James Madison is a “Founding Father,” as well as the “Father of the Constitution.”

    The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution, so stop promoting an ineffective useless argument in response to the history revisionists in Texas. It is “religion” which shall not be established by law or government at any level. It is James Madison’s words which should be broadcast throughout Texas: “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history,” W&MQ 3:555, c. 1817.

    Read the book, The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A primer and educate the Texas State Board of Education.

  12. One does not have a church unless there is a religion being practiced therein. The arbitrary and specious division of a distinction between a church and religion with establishment of churchy prognostications is the kind of weasle wording that convinces only the weasles.

    The concepts Gene proposes as the nature of the law in the United States is a unitary system emanating from a Supreme Court with all encompasing powers is exactly Conservative writers raised Holy Hell about during hte Bushes Administrations. Neither Far Right or Far Left condone such a concentration of power, largely because it is obviously too dangerous. The spectre of a Chief Justice of the United States usurping all legislative and executive power by wielding broad and sweeping powers is a common nightmare of the full spectrum of American politics.

    Not even the totalitarians amongst us would go for that particular combination. The usual totalitarian structure is to take over the Presidency by way of the military, or with the assistance of a party controlled para-military.

    The supremacy of the Supreme Court was not as obvious to those who ratified the original Constitution. It took a couple of court cases to set the precedent, chief amongst them was Marbury vs Madison 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803). President Andrew Jackson, 7th President, didn’t accept the notion that the Supreme Court could over rule his order. The Seminole Indians sued the US over infringement of their rights and won. Jackson said that the Court could enforce it without him and proceded to invade Florida to trounce the Seminole.

  13. Gene Garman, Baylor ’62 Says:

    Thomas Jefferson was not a “Founding Father,” and the Declaration of Independence has no legal standing in any court of law.

    TFN understands Constitutional Law, and our founding principles, much better than the SBOE members do. Nobody at TFN makes the mistake of thinking that the Declaration has the force of law (to ask about its “legal standing” bespeaks profound confusion about law).

    On the other hand, in her Constitutional Law classes at LooneyTunes University, Cynthia Noland Dunbar does teach that

    [The Declaration and the Constitution] “can’t be viewed as separate and distinct … So you cannot read the Constitution distinct from the Declaration.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html )

    Although Paine usually is not recognized as one of the Founding Fathers, some would argue that Paine is actually one of the most important of the FFs. There’s not an official list carved into some stone tablets; but Jefferson is regarded as a central figure among the Founding Fathers (See, e.g., see the sources cited at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United_States )

    It’s just plain silly to deny TJ’s place among the FFs; but how is that relevant, anyway? The TEKS standard they removed him from is about influential thinkers, not about FFs. In fact, Dunbar (on Hardball) has defended his removal on the grounds that TJ is one of the FFs, and they did not want to include any of the FFs b/c then they’d need justification for not including others.

    — J.A. Whitson, J.D., Ph.D.

  14. Thanks to TFN for allowing this discussion. It is at the heart of presenting the constitutional issue to the public and the courts in a persuasive, effective, and authoritative argument. It is why I do challenge the typical brief submitted to the courts regarding every issue of separation between religion and government, especially when the news media prints the historical misrepresentations of our opponents on the Texas State Board of Education or when Michael Newdow loses cases before federal courts which do not specifically relate “God” to “religion.”

    A basic explanation for understanding the problem as to why this issue has not been settled long ago in the public square and in the courts is because statements and legal briefs have not focused unwaveringly upon what the Constitution actually says. When Justice Rehnquist, Wallace v. Jaffree, asserted the establishment clause refers to “a national” religion, or when legal briefs refer to words which are not in the Constitution, rather than to the actual words of the Constitution, then the legal argument is reframed into a concept promoted erroneously to the detriment of the cause of religion and government–the result of too many badly framed legal arguments. If you have not read Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” you should.

    Therefore, the first step toward a reversal of continued losses in the news media and in court is to properly use and define terms in order to allow no deviation from the exact words of the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution, not the Declaration, rather than to continue in misrepresentations: Webster’s simply distinguishes between “founding fathers” and “Founding Fathers.” The Founding Fathers are the men, fifty-five of them, who participated in drafting and approving the words of the Constitution. It is the words of the Constitution which defeat the argument which says “there is nothing in the Constitution about ‘church and state.'” It is using such wording, wording not in the Constitution, which is inaccurate, ineffective, and objectionable. The court room is not a game. Words mean things, in the minds of citizens on the street and of judges in court. The Constitution’s words defend themselves if emphatically presented and used.

    Jefferson was in France from 1784 to 1789 and did not participate or have personal input in the 1787 Convention. Madison is the “Father of the Constitution” and accurately worded the constitutional principle “separation between Religion and Government,” W&MQ 3:555. Better then to quote Madison and never Jefferson’s misstated terminology. Why? Because “religion” covers every issue “thereof,” and the word “church” does not. In other words, official government use of Christian crosses, monuments to the Ten Commandments, “God” in our national pledge, establishment of “prayers” in public schools, offices of “faith-based” anything anywhere are all covered by the constitutional word “religion.” There I stand and is where TFN should also.

  15. Thanks, TFN, for the opportunity to view so many INTELLIGENT comments. It is so refreshing to read what level-headed people have to say. And thanks to all who have contributed to the discussions, I appreciate each of you.

  16. Thank you, Beverly Kurtin.

    As a member of The Interfaith Alliance, I routinely promote the proposition that America is a nation in which citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate fully and freely in all of America’s social and political functions, within the laws of the land. The free exercise of religion is not a license for anarchy, Reynolds v. United States, 1879.

    Gene Garman,
    Baylor ’62
    Sic’em Bears!

  17. The radical right is always denying their racism, but it appears that the Tea Party types were out in force today at the U.S. Capitol Building and tossing around the “N-Word” at members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they walked from their office building to the Capitol Building. This hate speech was apparentlyrelated to anger over the impending passage of the Obama health care bill in the House of Representatives. Personally, I am not ashamed to play the so-called “race card” because there is no such card. It’s nothing but plain, old-fashioned, overt Ku Klux Klan racism, and it has a warm and cozy home on the radical right and in the Republican Party. Check it out here:


    I wonder if anyone in the radical right bloc at the Texas SBOE would like to comment on how the racist incident on Capitol Hill relates to the recent revision of the social studies TEKS. How about a comment Donna Garner? You can make it right here.

  18. Don’t look now, Tea Partiers and GOP, but your true colors are showing. And, by “colors,” pun intended.

    And did you all see the video of young, healthy tea partiers harassing the poor old man suffering from Parkinson’s Disease?*

    Truly ugly stuff. And notice how little criticism such acts are getting from their like-minded team.

    *Psst: Hint to Tea Partiers: What goes around comes around.

    I happened to watch Mike Huckabee on Faux News last night. He, an alleged clergyman, only expressed concern over cost. He spoke not a word of concern for people. So, there you have it from the horse’s mouth.

  19. The current amalgum of Nay Sayers in the Hardcore Right is classic Orwell. Cognitive dissonance is short circuited between opposing views held as one. This Orwellian process is not unique to any given political philosophy (buzziology) and found by Orwell concerning Stalinism. The Nazi concept that both Capitalism and Communism are part of the Jewish conspiracy. Likewise, Jews were inferior races that got too many of the jobs that took smarts.

    The true True Believer cares not about logic, only the Buzz that comes from exercising the emotions. Ideologies are short ideas, but not buzzes.

    The Vulcans who created Neo-Conservatism included, it is said, former Marxists. They just switched their fervor. And fervor is addictive.

    The current anti-Obama crusade is enfused with fervor, and contradictory logic. Thier antics remind me of similar antics of the Flower Children, Peoples Park, turning on, and droppiing out. The techniques are the same. There is likely some former Flower Children, grey haired and still angry at the misadventurres of parental authority figures. Anger at vast conspiracies is the typically the view of an angry child, angry at failed daddy and mommy figures. The anger is acted out as in opposition to and/or emulation of parental misfires.

    It is said that the world is run by crazy six year olds. Would it be nice if we could get some teen agers around.

  20. You’d think that the progressives would be the ones all “feeling” and “emotions” . It’s funny that all the right wing can do is spout emotion-tweaking rhetoric. No solutions to problems at all.

  21. It has taken most of 24 hours for me to calm myself so that I could attempt to be lucid about yesterday’s KKK attacks. By KKK, of course, I mean the unmasked bunch who masquerades as Tea drinkers. Perhaps I am guilty of being a wide-eyed optimist, but I had such great hopes for the 21st century, that the kind of terrorism that we are seeing from the Republican Party would be a thing of the past and hate and bigotry would be fading into history. Who would have thought that we’d be seeing what we saw yesterday? Then again, name calling is the first and last resort of unrestrained ignorant and violent people. Who, 48 hours ago, would have thought that members of Congress would be spit on and called nigger? The only thing that was missing was the nooses!
    The Republicans, today, are once again latching onto a keyword: flawed. They refused to have anything to do with the most important piece of legislation in decades; now they are calling it “flawed.” Hypicrites!

    Ever since President Obama was elected with the largest majority in recent (all?) history, the hate and fear mongers have slithered out of their hiding places and have adopted the language and actions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Our Republic is facing one of the biggest threats in its life. Benjamin Franklin, when asked what Congress had created said, “A Republic, gentlemen, if we can keep it.” President Roosevelt said “We have only one thing to fear and that is fear itself.”

    Those on the far right think if they scream louder than us that they will bring our wonderful Republic to an end and replace it with the tyranny our forefathers escaped.
    Fear breeds Bigotry which breeds Hate. The modern KKK (the Tea Party) ignores facts so they can cause fear in the hearts and minds of otherwise intelligent people. It is up to you, me and the rest of our country who sees what is happening and BRING IT TO A HALT.

    The Tea Party is a domestic terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of these United States. The question is: What are we going to DO about it? Terrorists are criminals. The Nazis were criminals who were ignored and dismissed as a bunch of loonies until it was too late. Are we about to do the same?

    I refuse to be threatened by the likes of the knuckle draggers who would destroy us. Are any others ready to take action? One name we might use is The Freedom Net Party? It’s just a suggestion. But we cannot risk doing nothing. Today is March 21, 2010; shall we begin to take our country back TODAY or just ignore the evil that is attempting to steamroll our Republic out of existence?

  22. An excellent catch on that execrable hypocrite, Cytocop. This should be brought up more often concerning the religious right and their blindness to the plight of the powerless in today’s world. They cannot hide the truth; they are now becoming some kind of Bizarro-Christians, cheering on the powerful for their own enrichment.

  23. They’re exactly the kind of people Christ preached against.
    You had this little proto-organization, the Tea partiers. They have a compelling name: Taxed enough already. Catchy.

    Then, when Pres. Obama was elected, the gun worshippers, the religious right, and the racists got excited and scared. This whole thing picked up steam after the Sotomayor confirmation, and the abortion rights groups went nuts.
    The astroturf financers Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, et al, co-opted all these groups in a timely fashion in a desperate effort to kill health care reform. The hapless Republicans started pandering to the worst instincts of these folks.
    These folks are also over-represented by the misogynists and homophobes.
    They need to be monitored closely. Hopefully any imagined electoral clout they may think they wield will evaporate in the next few months.
    We’ve had this problem before in this country when times were hard, and there weren’t enough jobs to go around. It’s turned into a racial issue as a diversion from the real problem. The teabagger fools are making enemies with the very people they ought to be allied with, and are brainwashed into supporting the very interests that are screwing up their lives.

  24. I do agree that our system of government is broken, something Teabaggers would probably call a no-brainer, which is kinda ironic, because I think that, for a too-large portion of them, they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I admit to basing this belief on mostly left-wing videos and commentary, but a sizable amount of their own proudly shouted worldviews as well.

    Since they were already believers in the authoritarian, right-wing political ideology, it didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting for FreedomWorks, etc. to rope them in with lizard-brained come ons.

  25. I now lump the whole tea party movement (whether they call themselves that or not) with the wacko right-wing militias we saw in the 90’s (which are back bigger and better than ever, wouldn’t you know it). Basically, both movements are cut from the same cloth. That cloth happens to be a big white bedsheet with additional patches attached (such as fascism and no-holds-barred Corporatism).