SMU Scholar: New Texas Textbooks Suggest 'Wrong-Headed Idea That the United States Was Founded on Biblical Law'

When the State Board of Education held its first public hearing on proposed new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools, scholars from across the state (and from outside Texas) expressed their concerns about serious problems in those texts. Kathleen Wellman, Dedman Family Distinguished Professor of History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was particularly concerned with how the textbooks exaggerate Judeo-Christian influences on the American founding.

That exaggeration goes so far, Wellman notes in the video clip of her September testimony above, that the textbooks essentially make Moses “the Founding Father.” The impression students will get? Wellman, with only a hint of sarcasm:

“I think they’ll believe that Moses was the first American.”

Religious-righters on the State Board of Education in Texas hoped for this kind of textbook content when they passed deeply flawed and politicized new curriculum standards for social studies classes in 2010. The new textbooks must cover those standards.

You can read more about the problems in the proposed new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools here: While you’re there, sign the petition calling for textbooks based on honest, accurate history, not the ideological beliefs of politicians on the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is set to vote in November on which textbooks to approve.

6 thoughts on “SMU Scholar: New Texas Textbooks Suggest 'Wrong-Headed Idea That the United States Was Founded on Biblical Law'

  1. Dan and Crew. Many of us out here have not had an opportunity to review the social studies textbooks and see how Moses is presented in them. Could someone at TFN take each textbook in question, find all its references to Moses, and list down the quotes the books contain about Moses. It might be nice to see that in a Microsoft Word Table Format in the same way that one makes review comments on a document. Steve Schafersman knows what I am talking about—I bet.

    I know an awful lot about American history as a whole,mostly from my own reading and study over a lifetime and as part of my work—not being brainwashed by liberal history professors—and I find it absolutely astounding that anyone in their right mind would think that Moses had any influence at all on American history—much less significant influence.

    Joseph Goebbels and his cohorts always said that if you are going to tell the people a lie, you need to make it a BIG OLD WHOPPER OF A LIE—a lie so big that people cannot help but think it is true—because no one would be so silly as to push something so bizarre if it were not true—so naturally people will say, “It must really be true.” Does it bother anyone that people who claim to be Christians are taking and using a play from the playbook of one of the most evil men in human history—a man who colluded with his wife to poison all of their young children in the Berlin Bunker in April 1945. Where is Jesus in all of this? I don’t see him anywhere. All I see is evil and silliness running rampant.

    1. Charles: The scholars’ reviews of the textbooks are available at Dr. Lester’s reviews of the government textbooks discuss passages about Moses and other exaggerations of religious influences. Dr. Brockman’s reviews of religion in the history and geography textbooks also touch on that issue.

  2. There’s a method to authoritarian madness. I recall an opinionated, bigoted co-worker (who we tried to avoid at lunch in the cafeteria, but not always) who would make some outrageous point, “Women deserve karma, not salary increases,” and he would pause and glare at you over his half-moon glasses, just waiting for you to dare to object. After a while we learned the game and simply didn’t object because the ensuing torrent of bigotry and nonsense was just not worth our time.

    Authoritarians use “Biblical” and “Christian” as the Glare. Once the meme is established that the US is a “Christian” nation then laws can be passed on the basis of them being “Christian” or “Biblical” whether it’s true or not (who am I kidding, of course they’re not!) and the Glare will stifle objection.

    Just listen to Fox harpie Jeanine Pirro shriek, “IT’S US OR THEM!” and you get a clear picture of the mindset.

  3. I can hear Billy Crystal’s grandfather saying” “Wha!!!??? Wha!!!??? Wha!!!???

    So, Moses had the idea to “write down laws.” Therefore, the founding fathers said:

    “Hey!! That’s a great idea Moses. We would have never even dreamed of doing that here in Philadelphia if you had not raised your hand and suggested it. We were just going to get together and talk, maybe have a few beers, then go on over to Ben’s house for tea and strumpets.”

    Moses as the inspiration for writing down laws on paper (U.S. Constitution) is one of the most asinine notions I have ever seen. If not for Moses, they would have never thought to write it down? Give me a break!!!