No surprise, of course, that religious-right pressure groups and websites are engaged in an orgy of praise for the politicized curriculum standards the State Board of Education has approved for Texas public schools. And just as predictable is their common, deliberately insulting line of argument: anyone who disagrees with them must be a radical leftist who hates Christians (or is even “demented”).
WorldNetDaily, a far-right website apparently unencumbered with the desire to inform readers with facts rather than half-truths and propaganda, posted an essay this weekend about the new social studies standards. The piece focuses on criticism of state board member Cynthia Dunbar‘s use of prayer to make to make a political argument opening the board’s May 21 meeting:
Critics of a recent successful move to restore some of America’s traditional historical references to textbooks in Texas launched a long list of criticisms against a conservative education board member who dared to mention Jesus and the Christian faith in a meeting invocation.
Then the critics discovered the words were penned by the late Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, whose tenure on the court was marked by the removal of prayer from public schools and other similar moves.
“Those who wish to revise American history are often ignorant of history,” said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “Some secularists wish to revise history in order to bury America’s rich religious heritage.
“It was the Great Awakening that preceded the American Revolution. Without a religious revival, there would have been no lasting civil liberty, and without the American Revolution, there would be no America,” he said.
“Those who wish to exclude God from our history either suffer from dementia or are dishonest,” said Staver.
We have already noted the selective history evident in Dunbar’s defense of her prayer at the board’s May 21 meeting. And we continue to marvel that the right excuses such a blasphemous use of prayer to score political points even while attacking critics for allegedly being anti-religion.
But “restore some of America’s traditional historical references to textbooks”? Really? Phyllis Schlafly? The Moral Majority? Downplaying the significance of the Enlightenment on political change and the central importance of slavery in causing the Civil War? Whitewashing the abuses of Joseph McCarthy and his supporters during the political witch hunts of the 1950s? None of that is about restoring “America’s traditional historical references.” It’s about promoting personal and political biases — instead of sound scholarship supported by classroom teachers and academic experts — in our children’s classrooms.
OneNewsNow (“the day’s stories from a biblical perspective”) has an article critical of efforts by California lawmakers to bar politicized changes in Texas textbooks from making it into that state’s classrooms. The article quotes Randy Thomasson, president of the far-right group Save California:
“History classes need a makeover so that students are accurately taught about the history, values, and persons that made America great. Who can be against this but those who despise the moral values that founded this country?”
Let’s be clear (yet again): students should learn about the influence of faith in American history. That influence has been evident in many positive ways, including in opposition to slavery and in support of the later civil rights movement. Tragically, our nation has also seen religion misused, such as in defending both slavery and segregation. Why don’t we hear the right suggest students learn about that misuse of religion as well?
Even more important, however, is what the Founders did to protect religious freedom in our nation: barring government from picking and choosing which religion or religions to favor or disfavor. The Founders knew that a government with that kind of power would also be able to limit religious liberty for all Americans. But the State Board of Education refused to require students to learn about that. Separation of church and state is a “myth,” far-right board members insisted, not a key principle of our Constitution.
And don’t expect their far-right supporters across the country to disagree. They’re too busy attacking the personal faith and motivations of everyone else.
41 thoughts on “Religious Right Gushes over Texas Standards”
Politicized curriculum and classes is hardly new. The existing bias is to the Far Left and has been so for fifty years as I have seen it. While the Righteous Right Bias is about as objective as the existing Left Bias, the two together do not cancel each other out nor does it lead to objectivity.
The so-called experts in Academia are those who ascribe to the extant bend to the Left and such expertise can only be accepted as to the accuracy of the bias, not to the refutation of the Righteous Right.
The Bi-Biased curriculum is likely to cause havoc in assigning grades to papers in social studies unless the curriculum stresses working from original soruces, sources made accessible by the internet. The criterion for grades should then shift to how well a student research and supported his or her work. This normally has been reserved foo grad school, long after bias has been imprinted, which therefore reinforces the call for objectivity in lieu of reguargiation.
i am sure that they are also excited with the oil spill in the gulf. this could be the beginning of their armageddon on a world wide basis.
where are john wayne, red adair and bruce willis when we need them?
I get a kick out of the idea that prayer “was removed from public schools.” It WASN’T removed, it was a violation of the Constitution from the first time a prayer was uttered in a public school. Nobody can or ever will be able to show that prayer in PUBLIC schools was legal.
For the person whose posting was dripping with (righteous) sarcasm, you’re not seeing anger, you are seeing frustration that a handful of radical right wing people who are attempting (and succeeding) to twist our children’s minds to THEIR way of non-thinking.
I’ve attempted to voice my respect for Christianity, simultaneously bitch slapping the hypocritical branches who feel that all of us are wrong and that they and they alone are right. They’re the ones who DEMAND prayer be returned to school when it was never permitted in the first place.
My angst is a hangover from my childhood when I had to leave the classroom when they prayed. Never was one of MY prayers permitted, not even ones that Jesus said. My Hebrew books were torn to shreds as I attended Hebrew school after pubic school was over. I can’t recall the number of times cowardly people who called themselves “Christians” beat the hell out of me. They might have beat up a boy, but I was the only Jew in school, so I had the target on my back.
Teachers? Don’t make me laugh. “I” was the one who was ALWAYS at fault; after all, I took on a dozen boys so deserved whatever happened to me. It only stopped when my uncle, fresh out of the Marines, taught me Jujitsu. My first day back at school I went down the hall laying out my tormentors left and right. I called it JEWjitsu.
One Easter I was stoned. The priest had told the that the Jews had killed Jesus and whipped up their hate so when I was walking home stones started flying. One of them hit an artery and I did the best I could to make certain that each and every one of them got some of my blood on them. I woke up in the hospital and was out of school for close to a month. When I had passed out they kicked me all over my body. I had broken ribs, a concussion, several teeth knocked out and my long hair pulled out by the hands full. For what? The crime of supposedly killing their god? THE ROMANS DID THE JOB, NOT THE JEWS.
How I have managed to overcome the burning hatred I felt for years afterwards was the realization that it was the adults that egged them on. But when I see what is going on with the SBOE now, the bile rises in my throat and the white hot hate I feel for them has to be choked down because all it does is hurt me, not them.
I have been denied employment and placed to live because, “I’m sorry, but we don’t hire/rent to Jews.” I moved from Connecticut to California where they didn’t have cranial rectal inversion. Eventually, I wound up in Texas where I finally thought I’d found some intelligent folks. Then the SBOE came into the picture and I’m both frustrated and angry that nobody is able to stop those Luddites. I just hope that the courts overturn the damage they have wrought.
In any case, let us pause for a moment and remember those who fought and died to give us all the freedoms we cherish today; including the right we have to disagree with each other amicably but not to FORCE one’s will upon each other.
The idea that prayer is subject to repression or prohibition in any context is an Orwellian contradiction: Repression is Freedom(?).
The concept that freedom from hearing as a justification for repression of speaking is likewise Orwellian.
How does freedom of speech differ from freedom to preach?
And does preaching against preaching religion any different from preaching for religion? What does Freedom of Speech mean if it doesn’t cover religion?
What differs preaching from teaching? How is history, biology, physics or sociology any different from biblical study?
Isn’t the freedom to listen include the freedom not to listen? Isn’t the freedom not to listen inherent in the right to free speech?
Two things. First, do you know that there are other punctuation marks other than the question mark? Srsly? Rly?
Second, please tell me because I’m DYING to know, what is the Far Left. Who are in the Far Left? What do they advocate? And don’t gloss over it by saying “Far Left are damned pinko socialists.” No, I want you to define your terms, name names and specify programs and agendas.
Thanks. Hugs and Kisses.
The Far Left define themselves, as do the Far Right. Sometimes the Far Left call themselves Progressives, the Far Right Christian Conservatives. While both absolutists, the Far Right specialize in nagging, the Far Right by bragging. That equates to the Bad Mommy/Bad Daddy dichtomy found in propaganda. Often, as cited by Eric Hoffer (UC Professor/Longshoreman of the Sixties), the Right and Left switch sides as did the Red Front in Berlin switch to Brown Shirts in the Thirties and back to VolksPolizei in the Fifties. Source: Eric Hoffer’s “True Believer” and “the Passionate State of Mind”
Subjectively, the Far Left and Far Right blame the ills of the world on Evil Plots, the one Corporate/Capitalist/Imperialist ad the other on Commie Pinko Socialists who have sapped and indemnified the precious bodily fluids of the truly Faithful causing a collape in moral values, et al. Sometimes the Evil Plots overlap as populists abound on both ends of the spectrum blaming rich cartels for all sorts of evils.
The purpose of evilization of massive plots provides the protagonist with the power to scarify, as in the fable of the boy who called wolf. One gains power by preaching powerlessness, and the powerless gain power by the adherence to whatever life preserver presented.
One can conduct single point regression analysis on receipt of several code words for the whole Evil Plot in question:
Right: Rapture Ready, Armageddon, Salvation, Evil, the Rich
Left: Profit, Corporate America, Imperialism, the Rich
Clearly not an extensive list but a sample of the bells and whistles one hears (or reads) in the majic world of propaganda.
Often the ? is used to present a statement rather than pose a real question. For a more definitive explanation of the laws of inversality see blog at:
And read down the next few postings.
Gordon totally confuses me? One day he is in one corner and another day he is in some other corner. I have ceased hope of figuring it out.
Love you though Gordon. Hang in there and thanks for your past military service. I am not sure if that service was for the United States or Australia. However, we have been allies so long that it probably does not matter. Thank you anyway for your many sacrifices to keep us all free enough to be able to spout the blather we do here on TFN Insider. Salute. An officer is on the deck.
You said absolutely nothing. Not that I expected much from you.
Seriously, the Left is for profit and corporate America? You never heard of the Military Industrial Complex? Do you know NOTHING about history? Sorry, I answer my own questions with your question marks.
How about you settle for Ann Coulter’s method of argument: don’t interrupt my narrative with rational arguments, just accept my premise.
You are laughable, Gordon!!
Thanks, Charles for your comments regarding my service (US Army – thirty three years).
To be perfectly clear, I am absolutely against absolutivity, and committed to relativity insofar as certainty is relevant, or not. I find that Cervantes was a hard eyed realist, Don Quixote a pragmatist, given the certainties of an uncertain age.
I have seen both the horrors and honors of war, and the depths of deceit, depravity and immorality ( I was a building inspector in the City of Housto).
Ah yes, the Military Industrial Complex, an unfortunate aside by Eisenhower, which is a widely used term by the Left to castigate and deride those of us who have been in harms way for God and.or country. This castigation, however is (was) rarely if ever applied to the former Soviet or Chinese Communist military even by activist of a Rightward direction.
An objective application of the term “military-industrial complex” is apolitical. As there can be no military without the weapons, vehicles, saddles, arrows, swords, shields, and cluster bomb units that are provided by industrial complexes going back to the days of Ancient warfare. War production has been the inspiration and funding of many perhaps most of the course of modernization or industrialization. The Roman roads and water works were highly organized with interchangeable parts, something that disappeared until an American developed a water driven lathe for gun stocks.
The accumulation of materials and skills for a common aim is not exclusively for the military, as major allocations for irrigation, flood control, rivers and harbors, as well as fortifications, temples, and castles. The skill sets for thse often overlap. Da Vinci was not only a serious artist but a military engineer of considerable talent.
From a practical point of view, the innovation of the scientist, designer, and manufacturer is best done without too much military nagging. The mllitary is best at tweaking more performance out of a given system, but desgn per se has some bumps in the get along. The best example of industrial support is exemplified by Lockheed’s “Skunk Works” lead by Kelly Johnson who produced the best aircraft the Army never ask for, but which won the air war over Eurooe and Asia (P-55) in WW2. He went on to make the U2 and the SR-71, still the fastest airplane built.
Many of those of a Socialist bent before WW 2, used the term “Moral equivalent of war” to describe massing men, money and talent to accomplish social gooods. In that older usage, the term military had not been stigmatized. This term slipped under the waves after WW 2.
While there are few that find me laughable, there are more who still laugh with me. Such is the fate of those who get out in front of the problem, but often find daggers and arrows in the backside.
Hi, I’m positively absolutely convinced of uncertainty, I think.
“The Far Left define themselves, as do the Far Right. Sometimes the Far Left call themselves Progressives, the Far Right Christian Conservatives.”
I’m not far left, I call myself progressive. You stated your opinion, that’s all.
When the peer-pressure/bullying of Christian conservatives becomes strong enough to alienate an individual from feeling as if they’re an equal member of society as any other member, and people are incited to feel persecuted because they’re not being allowed to coerce others into accepting their “faith” (political doctrine disquised as “faith”), then it becomes Orwellian.
Yes, there are nimcompoops on the left who want to counter propaganda with ,well, “counterpropaganda” instead of reason and convincing argument and documentable facts.
They annoy me too.
Lets be more specific Gordon.
Take a topic like evolution and demonstrate how you think the Left has corrupted young minds from infants school to university.
Pick a subject, any subject and give it all you’ve got. Give it a go, have a lash.
As this is just a blog, I usually don’t take personal requests from those who have already made up their mind particularly over such vague concepts of infantile corruption. Particularly over unreseached presumptive assumptions of ideological didacticism.
The assertion that one who has served in combat is inherently against evolution is single point regression analysis when present data is indicative of multiple points of relative allocution is a prime example of narrow mental bandwidth. It is the narrowness of mental bandwidth that is inherently inimical to the broadband mental capacity needed in a very eclectic and multi-culural and global view of the world.
The central issue in education, IMHO, is learning how to learn and less about what to learn as the latter is usually forgotten or outmoded as time goes by.
As Scoobey Doo would say,… “Huh!?”
That follows quite logically it seems to link with Frank Sinatra’s “Stramgers in the night”
I can see I am a single conservative Christian that is not going to have much luck finding a like minded girl, especially since I actually think for myself and come up with my own ideas.
Just to clarify, the Supreme ourt never banned prayer in public schools. It banned the school district mandating a prayer. Students can and do pray quitely whenever they wish. There are Bible study and prayer clubs before and after school. There is a difference between the state, in the form of the school, imposing a prayer on students and students praying as they wish. The so-called religious right keeps repeating prayer was banned, it wasn’t and isn’t. I’d bet more authentic prayer goes on today than in the good-old days.
I would like to note that the brutal dictator Charles Taylor of Liberia, who was defended to the bitter end by his close friend, business partner and, (I assume), spiritual advisor Pat Robertson, is currently on trial for war crimes.
I wonder how “The 700 Club” is reporting this news. The 700 Club pioneered the idea of right wing propaganda masquerading as news from a “Christian” perspective.
Lying is lying, and these liars will be damned.
Gordon , you are being disingenuous. You make the assertion that there has been extreme Left wing bias in education for 50 years and then refuse to offer any evidence to support your case.
Normally I wouldn’t pay a nickel for the 700 Club, but the term propaganda originally derived from the verb (to) propagate and was first used by the Papacy to designate the efforts to “propagate” the Catholic faith. Since WW 2, the term propaganda has a negative connotation, although the tactics, techniques, and procedure (TTP) of propaganda are common to advertising, teaching, leading, and public relations regardless of message.
Right wing propaganda uses essentially the same TTP as anyone else’s propaganda. The current Tea Party propaganda is in large part based on the Anti-Establishment movements of the Sixties with a few modifications. The use of non-standard hand drawn and misspelled signs is a gimmick to emulate a populist base. The Left used to use pre-printed signs, a practice deliberately pointed out in Tea Party circles.
As a former cause oriented (unpaid) lobbyist on Capitol Hill many decades past, I found that letters hand written on lined tablet paper, complete with misspeliing sand cross-outs and stuffed into a wrong sized envelope had a higher chance of being read by a congressional staffer. The preprinted letters were simply weighed and not read. The hand written varieties would come to attention by the staffer who sorts mail, on the third letter.
Effective propaganda relies on messages that have Permission, Power, and Action as in “Drink Pepsi, it’s good for you”. Permission comes from the values, beliefs, behaviors, and norms of the target cuture as illustrated by issues relative to face, fate, fame, and fortune. Fate issues are those that determine cause and conseqence (sources of authority). Face pertain to the individual’s self image, and Fame the society’s recognition.
The battles in and over SBOE can be analyzed in terms of these four factors of social status. The Right quotes the Bible, many on the Left object to the Bible as a source of authority, both sides speak of the Constitution, both appeal to protecting children which is a basic requirement of social survival.
The Fifty years of bias is from first hand exposure as a student in such worthy institutions as the University of California (Berkeley), UCLA, UofHouston, Rice University and the University of Kentucky plus some small college in North Adams, Ma for my masters. My father was Chairman of the Chemistry Department at Lehigh, and my youngest son is now entrolled in graduate school in the Universtiy of St Thomas. One of my sisters is a professor of English at Arzzona State University and a retired professor of Engllsh from the University of Hawai’i at Honolulu.
My masters thesis was on propaganda, and I was trained as a Psychological Operations Officer at the John F Kennedy Institute at Ft Bragg, and a winner of the Army Wide Kieth Ware Journalism contest for advertising, as well as several other wards related to intelligence and information operations.
The bias personnally experienced by me at Berkeley is virtually the same verbiage I hear from my youngest son (retired ballet dancer) at our weekly lunch. As a professional in information operations (including management information management (IRM)), I look for themes and symbols that denote the substance I refer to in my blog above.
If one is serious in assessing the methodology and substance of propaganda analysis, please visit my blog site at
And read down a few.
On this website (other thread) I have been accused of being a “cog” in Corporate America which only benefits those at the top. The theme that corporate America is an organized entity with unified goals of deprivation of the worker to the benefit of the top brass is popular, but implies the Labor Theory of Value which holds that ecomonics is a zero sum game with the surplus value of labor aggregated at the top. From a practical point of view, the brass at the top are more concerned with executive bathrooms, executive parking place, the corner office, a sexy secretry, and the right array of automotive bling and have little or no idea what the corporation does, who does it or why.
If the corporate brass was so omniscient as to manipulate the world behind closed doors, how come their machinations unravel so often? Enron? Lehman Bros? What few realize is that functioning organizations depend on those in the middle, both on the factory floor, and in the cubicle maze.
The Merchants of Death theme is trumpeted as has been the case since John Reed’s book “Ten Days that Shook the World” and shown in such movies as “Idiot’s Delight” (1939) with Clark Gable and Norma Shearer, “This Gun for Hire” (1942) with Alan Ladd, and a number of more recent movies in which all wars are caused by weapons manufacturers to stir up a demand for weapons.
Over the last fifty years I have been hearing (from the campii) that America created the global economy to steal raw materials and secure markets. Well, the US economy is the biggest and as such has not been sensitive to economc opportunities abroad until maybe the last twenty years. We only sold overseas that which was in excess to domestic consumption and repeatedly shutting down our operations overseas and forfeiting the markets to the Dutch, Japanese, Italians, and (lately) the Chinese. Japanese corporate planning is a view many decades ahead, some say centuries. Our plans are quarterly.
As for the global corporate conspiracy, those who go overseas to manage overseas operations tend to lose their stroke at corporate headquarters and are considered dangerous rivals to those kissing up the flag pole. The Anti-globalization movement which likes to trash things, has been on the wane now with the global market on a plane.
The Ecological crisis story (before the well blew up) serves essentially the same tole as missionary for the faith in that self importance can be gained by doom saying. Never mind the doom, be it global warming or the Rapture. I recall former Governaor Brown aka “Governor Moonbeam” running for democratic presidential nomination on the basis of an “ecologically sound foreign policy”. Nice bag of words. He didn’t win.
You are just looking for her in the wrong place. She’s out there.
About this time every year, I play the true story video clip below from the movie “The Longest Day” just to remind myself that all the bad guys, genocidalists, and nit wits eventually get everything that is coming to them. I noticed that we got the No. 3 Al Qaeda leader on the planet just the other day. Enjoy the clip as the D-Day anniversary approaches:
Just in case you were wondering, Major Pluskat survived World War II and lived to tell his true story to the makers of the movie. Notice that the dogs sense when trouble is on the brew and quietly exit stage left—and the hand that feeds them.
You did not give us much to chew on Gordon. Just a few crumbs on your experience at Berkeley. No evidence to support an argument on Leftwing bias in schools. The cupboard is bare.
The optimum place to avoid seeing a Leftward bias in any population, however defined, is from a position so far to the Left so as not to see anything else.
The same applies to those of a Rightward bent.
I know many of a fundamentalist flair that consider Cath0licism as pagan. There is a sharp division between those of the Identity Christian faith who see Jews as the spawn of Satan, and others who view Israel as the cockpit of history in which the final battle between Satan and Christ is imminent. Communists, Socialists, Liberals, and Islam are all equally satanic or actually under the operational control of the Anti-Christ.
The net effect of extremism is often measured by assaults on the middle. CNN is known by many of my Leftish friends as the Corporate News Network, and the Communist News Network by friends on the Right. I am informed by the Left that Obama is losing his support from the Left for his support of bailouts, which same evidence is taken by those I know on the Right is proof positive that Obama is a Socialist bound on setting up a Muslim dictatorship complete with child brides and the terroris tune known as Shariah.
As one who trolls the full spectrum of opinion in order to continue research on the breadth and depth of the arcane field of Blshtology aka propaganda, persuasion, and behavior modification.
Once again, for those who seek more definitive analysis of propaganda, visit my blogs in 2006 on propaganda.
and read down.
Today the State of California Senate, in a bi-partisan vote of 25-4, put the whammy on Texas textbooks featuring the recently approved curriculum changes. In part the California bill says the Texas changes are “a sharp departure from widely accepted historical teachings that are driven by an inappropriate ideological desire to influence academic content standards for children in public schools” and calls them “a serious threat to…the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.”
Huh. So how do you really feel about it California?
And the Dallas Morning News says there’s no time like the present. “We strongly urge the six or so moderates on the current board, plus the likely moderates joining them in January, to start thinking now about rewriting the mind-warping sections once the new board takes office. By then, they should form a majority and could bring more balance to these standards.”
In somewhat off topic news Glenn Beck, who has seen a considerable decline in his viewership this year, is tailoring his program more and more toward the bread and butter Fox viewers – conservative Christians. As his go-to historian Beck has brought on board the chief historian of the religious right and consultant to the Texas School Board David Barton. I think he’s with Barton Historical, Auto Detailing, Party Planning & Dog Washing Services.
Oh Mike, I’m way too old for you, but I too think for myself which has scared the hell out of both of my ex-husbands. You know the old thing about women should be seen and not heard and Gd forbid they should THINK for themselves!!!!!!
Some former friends of mine clashed over the ’08 election over what I do or do not read. Before I decide one way or another I do what you probably do; I study the issue(s) at hand before allowing someone to sway my thinking.” I was accused of reading the Huffington Post before I’d even heard of it; worshiping at the altar of Faux and/or MSNBC and when I told them that I make up my own mind I was called a liar. The next thing they knew they could not reach me; I had filtered the out.
Last thing: What did the snail who was hitchhiking on the back of a turtle say? Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Gordon, I know you don’t believe in the bs about the antichrist, etc. , but I do have to fault you for speaking about it as if the believers have any standing in rational discourse.
There is NO reason to give any credence to these whacky views. I don’t want to support the discursive value of these ideas even in opposition to them. They’re not even worth arguing about.
There’s only one thing of importance we all have that we cannot get more of later. Time. Time’s the only thing. Don’t waste it on creationism or “my left behind” or whatever.
Anyway, appreciate your input, Gordon, even when I completely disagree.
Something that goes unsaid, unnoticed sometimes:
We’re human beings. We have lives. We have finite lives. We are mortal. We are noble and we are disgraceful. Etc. World history, Shakespeare, Homer, William Faulkner.
These people we’re fighting have such a tight… ed, constipated, hung-up, guiltridden view of who THEY are that they feel like they have to bottle the human spirit and blessed gift of god that we have to understand and be awestruck and set it on a back shelf in the pantry, never to be sampled by “the righteous” .
What a bunch of **** heads.
Wackiness of viewpoint, however odd or offensive, does not make it any less dangerous. Germans in 1927 thought Hitler was an embarrassing joke. Some joke. Germany back then was, by comparison with the rest of the world, was well educated, cultured, and refined … or so we thought. They had a well developed liberal tradition and of law. See “M” with Peter Lorre back when he and Fritz Lang were making movies in Germany before Hitler.
It is easy to dismiss the kooky for being nuts, but nuts have a way in gathering in bushels which attracts a lot of squirrels, some of whom we elect to office. Political polemic by it’s very nature appeals to emotions more than reason. Reason is too boring, and it doesn’t always make sense, like fiction which does.
If one doesn’t study the face of tyranny, one won’t see it coming.
I agree with that, Gordon.
Speaking of Hitler…..Gordon as you’re probably aware Hitler spewed forth great quantities of Christian nationalism rhetoric during his time, certainly not all of it directed at Jewish people. Some of it sounds oh-so familiar:
“Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.”
To Beverly: My God, that’s horrible. You know, I’m really tired of the continuous claims that the Supreme Court took prayer out of the schools or that you can’t pray in school anymore. People who make those claims are not understanding what the court really did. The Supreme Court only outlawed COMPULSORY prayer, that is, prayer that everyone must recite, regardless of their own personal beliefs. The court wisely recognized that students, as well as adults, practice different religions and even recognized that some don’t practice religion at all. They never said that students couldn’t pray in school; they can. They can pray any time they want: at breakfast, between classes, at their lockers, during lunch, before a test or quiz, or after school. But the school can’t force them all to practice one religion; like their ethnicities, their religious practices and beliefs are diverse. The Supreme Court also ruled against mandatory prayer in order to eliminate the intolerance that would surely erupt if it was allowed. It was that intolerance that made your life miserable because of creeps who couldn’t STAND anyone not thinking like them. Once again, intolerance rears its ugly head.
I can’t stand prejudiced people, they all have such stereotypical thinking.
Veronica is correct. Prayer is not barred from school. Only compulsory prayer is prohibited. As a former public school teacher, I frequently observed students saying grace over their meals. Also, before giving major exams, I typically gave my students about five minutes to organize their notes before beginning. Some students spent this time in silent prayer. (I personally thought the time would have been better used reviewing the material.)
A similar right-wing canard is the claim that the Bible and religion has been banished from the classroom. In teaching history, I often spoke of the role religion had to play in world affairs, be it the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam, the Crusades, and so on. Similarly, in American history, my students learned of the Great Awakenings and the religious motivations of many abolitionists.
Of course, religion has played a negative role in many historical happenings, and my students were taught those as well.
As a teacher, I participated in a program we called “Drop Everything and Read.” Students would clear their desks for ten minutes save for one age-appropriate book which they would read for ten minutes without interruption. Some students selected the Bible as the book they wished to read, and no one discouraged them from doing so.
I’ve also seen religious students proselytize during in their free time.
I am not a Christian. I am a committed atheist. Some of my students were aware of my lack of religiosity. They inferred it from questions asked between classes, at lunch, and the like. But religious indoctrination — unlike the role of religion in history or society — had no place in my classroom. Public schools should remain secular institutions, and it is the duty of teachers and administrators to ensure religious objectivity.
Christian conservatives are increasingly coming to see public schools as a means to promoting a theocracy, not as institutions of learning.
When I was in high school I was harassed by the “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” students for not being a member. It didn’t influence me one way or the other about the Christian faith, but it definitely helped turn me away from organized Christian groups. No regrets there.
The “Drop everything and read…” idea is great. It would also be great if all the Bible thumpers out there actually READ THE BIBLE from beginning to end. They don’t, of course. Which is why they’re Bible thumpers.
Sorry, Dan, but after all of the above commentary, “separation of church and state” as a stated constitutional principle is a myth. Those words are not in the Constitution. Unfortunately, neither TFN or anyone else refuted the inaccurate propositions set forth by the majority on the Board of Education. As James Madison wrote, the constitutional principle is “separation between Religion and Government,” James Madison, W&MQ 3:555. The word in the Constitution is no “religious” test, not a church test, and no law respecting an establishment of “religion,” not of a church. It was a poorly framed argument by TFN and the supporters of separation which lost the argument. Don’t Think of an Elephant!
Unfortunately, there is more than one lie being spread by the opponents of truth, as comments on another TFN discussion may illustrate: http://tfn.org/2010/06/17/the-lie-that-wont-die/#comments .
Separation of Church and State is not a myth, it is a theory of Constitutional law that has tipped the scale against freedom of religion and expression. It’s the old camel’s nose thingie. It is a way to say that a double edged sword can only cut in one direction.
There cannot be speech which is separate but equal. Brown v Board of Education.
Likewise, the efforts to categorize speech as “protected speech” vs “unprotected speech”. Unprotected speech is consiered as dangerous as unprotected sex, only worse when it appears to upset the listener, intended or not.
Offensive speech has become a mantra for censorship, regardless of intent or harm. See hate crimes.
The laws of libel and slander require proof of harm directly and solely as a result of an utterance.
MYTH: “an unfounded or false notion … having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence,” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. The words “church and state” or “Separation of Church and State” are not in the Constitution, and it is asserting a myth to make any claim to the contrary, in fact it is a falsehood and is a ridiculous argument to raise in any constitutional debate, whether in court or on the street. TFN and those recently debating the constitutional concept failed to properly frame their argument to the state school board, just as it has failed, after fifteen years, to convince the political and/or religion right wing element in American society. As a religion and history major who did complete seminary and spend one year in law school, as well as cut my separationist teeth on Leo Pfeffer’s “Church, State, and Freedom,” Leonard W. Levy’s “The Establishment Clause,” and Martin A. Larson’s “Praise the Lord for Tax Exemption,” as well graduate studies in history at Pittsburg State University, where I documented the foundation for my own “The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM), I dare anyone to deny the Founding Fathers used the word “religious,” not church, in Art. 6., and the First Congress used “religion,” not church, in the First Amendment, or deny that James Madison personally helped draft the wording for all three religion commandments in the Constitution! Therefore, this is what the Father of the Constitution wrote about the constitutional principle after his public service was complete, “strongly guarded … is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States,” c.1817, W&MQ 3:555. It is dishonest to assert the words “church” or “church and state” are in the Constitution. In fact, it is simply not too smart to make such an assertion in a debate about the constitutional principle, which is why our opponents on the Texas State School Board were not convinced and why the entire “religious wrong” element is still being given credibility on the public street, all due to incorrect understanding and debate wording as to what the Constitution actually says. Read Professor Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” if you still do not comprehend what you just read. Constitutional principles are determined by the actual words which exist in the Constitution! Hello? The constitutional principle is separation between “religion” and Congress or government at any level. The Constitution’s terminology is about “religion,” the whole subject “thereof,” not just of a “church.” The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. By the way, I have been formally speaking on this subject ever since my days on the staff of Americans United for Separation, and I have never once been rebutted by any opponent, because the exact wording of the Constitution cannot be effectively denied or repudiated. I win every time, which is why I put my argument into writing and into blogs such as this. No one can document the words “church and state” in the Constitution. TFN needs to stop using such bogus constitutional terminology, as does Americans United, the ACLU, the FFRF, and TIA.
Gene: Show me a religion without a church and I’ll show you a bunch of folks wandering around in a field.
The reason “church” wasn’t said because some folks’ religion don’t have a “church.” I go to a synagogue and Muslims a Mosque.
Church I grew up in, in Orinda CA, was in a butcher shop, then a clothing store, before we got enough money to rent a lease space.
We didn’t need a field, but if that’s all we had, we wouldn’t have been wandering around. Too hot in the summer, and too rainy in the rainy season. We might have tried a tent or alot of umbrellas.
St Stephen’s in Orinda, CA
The essence of this TFN discussion is spelled out above, in the opening remarks by Dan: “‘Separation of church and state is a “myth,” far-right board members insisted, not a key principle of our Constitution.'” The reason for use of the word “church” is because too many separationist organizations, such as TFN, routinely do utilize the words “church” and “separation of church and state,” as defining what the Constitution says. Of course, the “religious” wrong faction of the Texas State Board of Education simply responded to the TFN mistake by replying that the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. The debate was meaningless after that because the “religious” wrong was and is correct–the words “church and state” are NOT in the Constitution. The constitutional word is “religion,” not church. The First Amendment wording includes the whole, entire subject of “religion,” and TFN should properly correct its debate terminology. If I had been advising separationists on the Board of Education, the word “church”or the words “church and state” would not have been used, because those words are not in the Constitution. The Constitution clearly establishes a principle of separation between religion and government.
Therefore, the only word which counts constitutionally is “religion,” not church, synagogue, mosque, brush arbor, or tent. If “religion” is involved, it is not to be established by law or government at any level. It is “religion,” as I have repeatedly said, which shall not be established by law or Congress, regardless of which word you or anyone else chooses to use. The addiction to use of Jefferson’s “separation of Church and State” terminology is ridiculous. Jefferson was not at the secret 1787 Constitutional Convention, which approved Art. 6, and was not a member of the First Congress, which approved the wording of the First Amendment. James Madison was at both and personally helped draft both Art. 6 and the First Amendment. The religion commandments of the Constitution are not about a “state church” or “barring government from picking and choosing which religion or religions to favor or disfavor,” Dan’s words. The religion commandments in the Constitution are about “separation between Religion and Government,” James Madison, the whole subject of “religion” and “Congress.” Does “religion” cover mosques and synagogues. Of course. So, I object to the use of the word church, mosque, or synagogue, or any such term for wherever or whatever religion is involved. The Constitution commands “religion” is not to be established by law or government.