The former half-term Alaska governor must make hearts flutter on the Texas State Board of Education:

“Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant, they’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. . . . What in hell scares people about talking about America’s foundation of faith? . . . It is that world view that involves some people being afraid of being able to discuss our foundation, being able to discuss God in the public square, that’s the only thing I can attribute it to is some fear of some people.”… Read More

One of the major goals of the "big lie" tactic is to so discredit an opponent that his or her argument on an issue -- no matter how reasonable and sound -- has no chance of breaking through the rage of the self-righteous, intolerant and poorly informed. The debate over curriculum standards in public schools has put a spotlight on one of the biggest and most vicious lies of the far right: that opposing efforts to promote narrow religious doctrine in public schools somehow makes one a radical leftist who is hostile to religion in general and Christianity in particular. Read More

Texas State Board of Education members are pointing fingers at everyone but themselves for the debacle over revising social studies curriculum standards. In new interviews with the Southern Baptist TEXAN, board Chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, and fellow member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, are complaining that reporting about the board's actions have been inaccurate. And they point their fingers at the Texas Freedom Network for causing the problems. So let's do a little fact-checking of Lowe's and McLeroy's comments, shall we? Lowe tells the TEXAN: "Nowhere in our social studies curriculum standards is America referred to as a Christian nation." Lowe is technically correct -- even these board members know that inserting a blatant "Christian nation" standard would lead almost immediately to a court battle that they would lose. What she doesn't say, however, is that the board's far-right members have seeded the standards with distortions that suggest the nation's origins and constitutional foundations lie in the (Christian) religious beliefs of the Founders. Read More

On Thursday Don McLeroy once again had difficulty explaining why the Texas State Board of Education has made so many bone-headed decisions in overhauling social studies curriculum standards for public schools. McLeroy, a College Station Republican who lost his bid for re-election to the board in the GOP primary earlier this month, spoke to listeners of On Point, a program produced by Boston NPR station WBUR. (Hat tip to TFN Insider reader James F for the heads-up about the show.) McLeroy had a particularly hard time justifying why in the world the board removed Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about Enlightenment thinkers. In fact, he suggested adding Jefferson back in to the world history standards. But along the way he inadvertently admitted spending so much time wrecking the rest of the standards document that he really didn't realize taking Jefferson out in the first place was foolish. "Actually, when you're in the process of making lots of amendments, you're busy, you're all day long. When you have time to reflect, maybe you'll change your vote. I think all politicians do that." Indeed. But isn't this yet another example of why it's unwise for the board's politicians to…… Read More

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, has been defending her action removing Thomas Jefferson from world history curriculum standards by disingenuously claiming his inclusion simply wasn't "germane." And during this month's state board meeting, she complained that critics were wrong in charging that she and other far-right board members were trying to force their religious views into public school classrooms. But the truth often has a way of finding its way to light: Dunbar opposes teaching world history students about Jefferson because she defiantly opposes his conviction that mixing government and religion is a threat to freedom for all. Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars notes that Dunbar is scheduled to appear  on May 1 at a rally in the nation's capital (May Day 2010: A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress). She reportedly will call on God to forgive America for supposedly removing Him from American schools. Here is how rally organizer Janet Porter, founder of the fringe religious-right organization Faith2Actiondescribes what Dunbar will tell rally participants: "She is going to come to May Day and repent…… Read More