TEA Posts Final Social Studies Standards

From a TFN e-mail to supporters of our Just Educate campaign this morning:

The Texas Education Agency has finally posted on its website the new social studies curriculum standards for public schools. Click here to read the new standards approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) on May 21 for kindergarten to Grade 5, Grades 6-8 and high school.

In January, March and May, far-right SBOE members made scores of ill-considered and nakedly political changes to initial drafts of the standards written last year by teachers and scholars. For example, the new standards outrageously suggest that separation of church and state isn’t a key principle of the Constitution, downplay the role of slavery in causing the Civil War and promote right-wing paranoia about international cooperation by the United States.

These deeply flawed standards might be official now, but that doesn’t mean the fight to protect the education of Texas schoolchildren from ideological agendas is over. The Texas Freedom Network’s Just Educate campaign is focused on reforming the process for deciding what millions of students learn in their classrooms.

You can help by taking action today!

Let your elected representatives in the Legislature know that you are tired of state board members promoting personal agendas instead of facts and sound scholarship in Texas classrooms. Tell them that you want teachers and scholars, not politicians on the state board, writing curriculum standards and textbooks requirements.

Click here to send an e-mail telling your state representative and state senator today that it is time to reform the State Board of Education and put the education of Texas schoolchildren ahead of political agendas.

Just Educate

TFN will keep you informed about opportunities for you to support the Just Educate campaign.

Read TFN President Kathy Miller’s informative op-ed about the State Board of Education.

Look for TFN’s nonpartisan voter guide later this summer.

Stay informed by subscribing to TFN News Clips and connecting with us on Facebook.

Donate to the Texas Freedom Network to support our Just Educate campaign.

Most of all, keep opening our e-mails and taking action!

Reforming the SBOE is more critical now than ever, but it will require a sustained commitment from activists like you. Let’s make sure our message is heard loud and clear. Just Educate! Our kids deserve better. Our future depends on it.

30 thoughts on “TEA Posts Final Social Studies Standards

  1. TFN:

    You lost the debate with the Texas State Board of Education because “separation of church and state isn’t a key principle of the Constitution.” The words “separation of church and state” are not in the Constitution. Because of TFN’s silly refusal to constitutionally term its argument, the opponents of separation were able to simply deflect the TFN argument, because the words “church and state” are NOT in the Constitution.

    Obviously, TFN does not have the debate skills to overcome the distorted and weak argument of the religion right. You have proved it for over fifteen years. What is it going to take to get TFN to accept the Constitution as written and destroy the ignorance of the religion right in terms of about what the United States of America is: a nation in which citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate fully land freely in all of America’s social and political functions.

    The Founding Fathers and the First Congress got the wording and grammar of the Constitution, in respect to religion, correct from the beginning: “no religious test” for public office and no law even respecting an establishment of “religion.” Notice, the wording is specific and means “religion,” not church. It is the whole subject of “religion,” not just “church,” which shall not be established by Congress, law, or government at any level. You cannot make the word “thereof” mean “church.” TFN leadership needs to take a course in freshman English and to then read “Don’t Think of an Elephant.” Also, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM

    Gene Garman, M.Div.

  2. The words “church” and “religion” are not mutually exclusive and certainly not coterminous. “Church” in addition to being used to describe a physical place or a specific group of people, is used to describe a mental construct of beliefs, behaviors, values, and norms.

    Church is predomonately used to describe a Christian entity, while other entities used terms like mosque or temple. Chapel is used to describe a physical entity.

    Temple is also used for phsical structures regardless of religion.

    Words are not fixed in meaning as if carved in rock, they change in usage and meaning over time. The English language is a (Northern) Germanic based language with a huge pile of word from the French speaking Normans. French was considered the more socially elevated language during the period after the Conquest until the 1500’s.

    As a consquence of the necessity of common understanding English has pairs of words with both the Anglo-Saxon word and it’s French counterpart. Such examples include Will and Testament, Metes and Bounds.

    What is swine to the farmer, is pork to the manor.

    Some words retain different meanings derived from either the French or German base. “To Wait” and “to wait on” are two very different meanings. An “attendant” means someone who attends/helps someone in English, but to attend (attender) means “to wait” in French.

    There is a Shakespearean quote about not giving a “foot” about something. Foot in French is Foutre, which is the French “F” word.

    Gay used to mean happy. Queer used to mean “odd”.

    Church is related to the Germanic Kirche, which winds up in Scotland as the Kirk.

    The Second Amendment to the Constitution uses the phrase “well regulated militia” which two hundred years ago meant well trained with the “regulations: now being called “doctrine” which replaced “fiold service regulations” after WW2.

    When translating that which was written back when, needs to be verified as to the constancy of meaning or not.

  3. I received the following text in an e-letter from my congressman, Lamar Smith (R-TX):

    “To turn this country in the right direction, we need to listen to the American people. Republicans have launched America Speaking Out, an initiative designed to start an honest discussion between Americans and their representatives.

    Through this innovative new forum, the American people can give us their priorities and offer their ideas for a new agenda to solve the problems that confront our nation.

    I encourage you to visit http://www.americaspeakingout.com and lend your voice to the discussion.”
    [End quote]

    Likewise, I encourage TFN’ers to visit this site, America Speaking Out, and add your voice to the discussion.

  4. TFN: Condescending or constructive?

    I did major in religion and history at Baylor University, where I also took my first speech class. If your purpose is to convince your opponents, you need to understand the meaning of words, particularly the words of the Constitution, the supreme words of legal terminology, as meaning what they say.

    Unfortunately, TFN is addicted to the wording of Thomas Jefferson, who was not a Founding Father, see Webster’s Dictionary, and not a member of the First Congress, which drafted the First Amendment. If you want to debate the meaning of the Constitution, then use its words. The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution.

    James Madison was a Founding Father and a member of the First Congress. If you wish to quote someone, quote Madison. He said, “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. See Madison’s full statement on the internet: “Detached Memoranda.”

    If I were to rewrite Madison’s statement in the words used by TFN, it would read: “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of distortion by TFN may be illustrated by numerous examples already furnished in their short history.”

    I also graduated from seminary. One of my professors of Christian Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. William Pinson, used to say, “God gave us brains to use, not to sit on.” In other words, when debating the meaning of the Constitution, as I learned in my time at law school, use its words, not words which do not exist in the Constitution.

    The word in the First Amendment is “religion,” not church, and the word “thereof” in the Free Exercise clause, CANNOT be made to mean anything other than that to which it refers, “religion,” i.e., the whole subject of “religion,” not “church”: English grammar 101. Words mean things, and in the Constitution the words mean exactly what they say.

    The TFN argument did not win the debate with the Texas State Board Education. My book, The Religion Commandments in the Constitution, is a primer for understanding how to win the constitutional debate at court and in the public square. I suggest you read it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM .

    Gene Garman, M.Div.

    1. Gene,
      With all due respect, your book’s argument would lose at the State Board of Education because you don’t seem to understand what the debate is about there. It’s certainly not whether the Constitution protects either “separation of church and state” or, on the other hand, “separation of religion and government.” The far-right members of the board couldn’t care less what you or we call it because they simply believe that constitutional principle — in either construction — is a myth. The issue here isn’t about persuading the unpersuadable on the board. It’s about educating voters on what the board is doing (and why that matters) and creating an environment for change. We are doing that based on our own research — something we take seriously — into what words and messages resonate with voters. And whether you want to acknowledge it or not, we are making good progress. This year’s elections have already demonstrated that. In any case, your message has been received. You score no points through tireless repetition.

  5. TFN:

    1. You will of course back up your assertion by providing me with verification of when and where (1) our opponents on the TSBOE used the wording “separation of religion and government is a myth” or (2) our opponents on the TSBOE used the words “separation between religion and government” at any time whatsoever in their debate.

    2. You will of course back up your assertion by providing me with verification where (1) the TFN argument to our opponents on the TSBOE quoted James Madison using and expressing the constitutional principle in his words, “separation between Religion and Government,” and (2) when our opponents on the board rejected the idea of the principle of separation of “church and state, ” TFN argument clearly and promptly stated the wording of the constitutional principle is about separation of “religion and government,” not “church and state, because the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution, but the word “religion” is the word used in both Art. 6., and the First Amendment.

    “No religious test” and “no law respecting an establishment of religion” are clearly stated commandments and principles in the Constitution. You have not proven to me TFN used that argument in any specific manner whatsoever.

    The people on the street need to understand the principle of separation by the terms used in the Constitution. If the average Texan does not understand the specific principle is “religion” and Congress and government, at every level, not just “church and state,” then TFN has failed in constitutionally educating the people of Texas, which is my complaint with your approach and which is why you lost the debate. You lost the debate, not me.

    The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution and that is the argument which made the headlines nationwide. TFN is responsible for that ridiculous argument, not me. The word “thereof” in the free exercise clause cannot mean “church, and TFN is responsible for the failure to understand and teach the grammar of the Constitution’s wording in the free exercise clause. The Founding Fathers and the First Congress used perfect grammar when they drafted the religion commandments and the word “church” is not in the Constitution. TFN has failed to teach the constitutional principle in constitutional or proper English to the people of Texas. So, do not blame me for your failed argument. TFN lost the debate, not I. My argument did not get presented to the Board.

  6. It would a long job but interesting to sit down with the new social studies standards and an expert (Chris Rodda would be perfect) and count the number lies the SBOE has mandated be told to Texas children.

  7. I am not at all supporting the lies and distortions asserted by the current members of the Texas State Board of education, and I have no sympathy for the distorted argument of the religion “right” devotees in regard to the Constitution. It is simply my point to assert the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution, as the “religion wrong” crowd correctly proclaims. It is simply not the truth to assert the constitutional principle is “separation of church and state.” The constitutional principle is “separation between Religion and Government,” James Madison, W&MQ 3:555. The wording in Art. 6 and the First Amendment is “religion,” the whole subject “thereof,” not just church, and you cannot make the word “thereof” mean “church.” English Grammar 101. The word “thereof” must mean exactly whatever is meant by that to which “thereof” refers. James Madison personally helped draft both of those constitutional provisions and correctly terms their understanding as “separation between Religion and Government,” in his “Detached Memoranda.” Thomas Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention or a member of the First Congress.

    When the American people understand the constitutional terminology, it will be much easier to explain why the words “under God,” in the pledge, and “in God we trust,” on our currency, both passed by Public Law, in direct violation of the Constitution, as well as President Obama’s Office of Faith-based Partnerships, are all unconstitutional.

    Words mean things, and if there still exists confusion in understanding exactly what the Constitution commands, it is not the Constitution’s fault; it is the fault of people who continue to use the words “church and state,” as if those words are in the Constitution. The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. Get the terminology correct and there will be no constitutional misunderstanding. Jefferson still had his head in Virginia, when he wrote his letter to the Danbury Baptists. Use the words of the Constitution, not of Jefferson, and everyone will have a correct understanding of exactly what the Constitution commands. It is the whole subject of “religion” about which government shall make no law. If anyone has a problem with that position, let me know, and I will repeat it, because there are still some who need to correct their terminology so that everyone will eventually have to admit Jefferson’s words, “church and state,” are not in the Constitution, including TFN.

  8. Gene: Your pedanic ‘word-chopping’ may be a fun activity, but that it brings any light at all is dubious. (That it is nothing but pedantry is proven by your denial that Jefferson was a “Founding Father’ — only true if you limit the term to the 55 men who actually wrote the Conversation, and the Congressmen who added the Bill of Rights, and ignore the fact that Jefferson was ‘otherwise occupied’ (as Ambassador, as Governor, as Secretary of State) at the time. And that, maybe, he also failed to be an author of The Federalist Papers. But that his influence qualified him for the term is foolish to deny, as you did.)

    I am sure there are other words like ‘slavery,’ ‘Negro,” ‘highway,’ ‘bank’ that are unmentioned as well. So what? In fact, if you study the writings of the time, you will see the term “The Church” and “The State” being used far more commonly than your preferred ‘religion’ and ‘government.’ (And to further reign in your pedentry, the Constitution doesn’t talk about ‘government’ making no law, but of “Congress’ not doing so. The states were allowed to make any such law, and there were still [‘established churches’ in some states almost up until the time of Jefferson’s death.

    It’s funny, your argument seems to be for a stronger ‘wall’ and is coming from an atheist viewpoint — which i share. But I am more interested in the truth, don’t agree a good cause is advanced by a bad argument, and wish you’d stop distracting us with misapplied and basically irrelevant pedantry. (Which is usually my besetting sin.)

  9. One thing I learned in my time at law school was that words mean things, and the words of the Constitution are “the supreme law of the land.” To suggest the words of the Constitution do not mean what they say is ridiculous. Do not try your argument before any court.

    Further, the words “Founding Fathers,” with capitol Fs, are defined by Webster’s Dictionary and specifically refer solely to the men who met and debated the wording of the supreme law of the land in 1787. As every history student knows, Jefferson was in France from 1784 to 1789 and, like King George III, he had absolutely no personal input into the secret constitutional debate in Philadelphia. Religion and history are my major fields of academic study. Your position is that of the “religious right,” not strict constructionists or accurate historians.

    Finally, you also flunk English Grammar 101. You cannot make the word “thereof” in the Free Exercise clause mean “church.” The wording of Article Six and the First Amendment means just exactly what the Founding Fathers and the First Amendment says, “religious” and “religion,” not church, as the opponents of separation assert. When you get your understanding of separation in agreement with what the words of the Constitution actually say, you will have a constitutional understanding, which is not the understanding of our opponents on the TSBOE.

    The words “church” and “church and state” are not in the Constitution. TFN lost the debate, as you just did.

  10. Were you aware that the words “shake your groove thang” are not in the Constitution?

  11. I indeed do understand a non sequitur when I see one, and I recommend Webster’s Dictionary for anyone who does not. The words of the Constitution are the “supreme law of the land” because the Founding Fathers said so, and every one of the states ratified the Constitution’s words as the “supreme law of the land,” as any judge or justice in any court within the United States of America will advise you. The religion commandments in the Constitution are clearly worded; the word “church” is not in the Constitution, and, as a student of grammar, every English teacher in the USA will also disagree with you if you assert the word “thereof” in the free exercise clause means “church.” It is the whole subject of “religion” which shall not be established by law in the Constitution, not just a church, as our opponents on the TSBOE incorrectly believe and assert. Unfortunately, in my opinion, TFN did not present that specific constitutional wording and principle to the TSBOE. Instead, because of its refusal to stand upon the exact wording of the Constitution, TFN has allowed the distortions of David Barton, a Texas high school math teacher, to win with the irrelevant proposition that the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. He, of course, distorts what the Constitution says, as does TFN when it too uses those words. TFN simply failed to convince the majority on the TSBOE and lost its argument–a poorly termed argument. TFN needs a debate coach.

  12. I don’t believe this. Education in Texas is doing that counterclockwise swirl towards the septic tank. Kids are getting pregnant right and left. The Gulf of Mexico is half-full of oil. Our basic liberties are endangered by a Christmas dessert. Yet, we are arguing semantics about one word?

    Please folks. Why don’t we just leave this kind of insanity to the Texas SBOE? They are really talented at it. Us? Not so much.

  13. Gene, if the Left, and other Anti-Christians used “religion” instead of “church”, they couldn’t wage war against Christianity. Religion is a fuzzy word that may or may not include the concept of a deity. Once that slippery slope has been engaged, then the term and associated concepts of “religion” could spread to Marxism.

    That would land the Left in limbo if the term “religion” could be applied to Marxism, Socialism, Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, and the New Math.

    Keeping the term “church” to mean religion applies only to Christians as Jews don’t go to Church, Musllims dont go to Church, and Old Line Bolsheviks don’t go to Church.

    Putin does, and is proud to wear his cross proudly. That should clue the Old Left that Mother Russia is back, and in garb.

  14. @ Gordon Fowkes: They couldn’t wage war against Christianity??

    What are you babbling about now? Are you one of those paranoid “they’re-out-to-get-us” Christians? Pardon me for using FACTS, but 83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. And here in Texas we’ve got churches the size of JFK airport on every corner. Of course, all tax-free and supported in large part by tax dollars thanks to the Office of Faith-Based Partnerships.

    If that’s what you call “warfare” against Christianity, what’s your definition of “peace” and “freedom”?

    As usual, your rambling about the “left” and Marxism, Socialism, Equal Opportunity, etc. is incoherent. For example, Marxism is a political and economic theory, not a religious faith. Are we headed again for another inane argument on semantics, ‘theory’ vs ‘faith’?

    Mother Russia is “back and in garb”? What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? Is it supposed to be a threat to the U.S.?? Does Russia want Alaska back??

  15. “Marxism is a political and economic theory, not a religious faith” Actually Marxism is credited with being the foundations of sociology in addition to it’s other self proclaimed attributes.

    The question I raise goes to the heart of what is or is not a religion or, more to the practical point, is whether it is treated as one. Of that there can be no question as Marxists use the Book of Marx (Das Capital) in a manner no diferent from religionists use thier basic text be it Bible, Koran, Torah, Mein Kampf, or the Protocols of Zion.

    While it is popular to call Communism as Godless, not all religions have a God, or are dependant on any given array of deities. Bhuddism for example. Marx is quoted as having said that “religion is the opiate of the masses”. This statement, as such, is a classuc example of the Law of Inverse Attribution at work as Marxism is the best example of an opiate that not only is used on the Masses, but is even more effective on the intelligentsia.

    The Marxist “vanguard of the proletariat” is a classic example of Karpman’s Drama Triangle at work. It places the vanguard in a position virtually identical to that of the religious missionary who is out to rescue the helpless or those doomed to damnation without the rescue provided by the latest religion or political belief. Vanguardism is just another form of preaching.

    The psychological dynamics of the religionists at SBOE is no different from that of any other form of proseletizing. That applies to a host of self help gurus.

    As for Mother Russia, Russia is not inherently anti-American unless the needs of the geographic protection of the Russian people dictate it. Seward’s Folly (Alaska) was a shrewd purchase. It would have been a very different Twentieth Century if Russia had held on to Alaska. The Russo-Japanese War might have included Alaska. As it stands now, the Bering Straits form a defensible barrier for both Russia and the US/Canada.

    The needs of the Russian state to have defensible barriers has been the center of Russian policy since Ivan the Terrible. The only borders they have of note run from Tryansylvania to the Caucasus to the Pamir knot. The gaps in this series of mountain ranges have been the home to many a great battle. The plains of the lands west of Russia have no readily defensible barriers and the Russian state has tried to build buffer states for centuries. Zhukov is reputed to have replied to Patton’s congratulations over the defeat of Nazi Germany to the effect that under Tsar Alexander III reached Paris.

    The eastern reaches of the Russian state of forests and plains had no effective barriers and once the Tatars had faded, left the way open all the way to the Pacific. Russian continued to expand into Manchuria during the reign of the Dowager Empress, which expansion was blocked by the Japanese. Once Japan was defeated in WW 2, the big mystery to me is that the Russians thought that they could control Mao and eventually resume their control of Manchuria,

    The Chinese state always was wary of powers in the north, and was quick to populate Manchuria with the Han people replacing the few Manchus, Russians, and Japanese who remained. That this was seen as an error by the post-Stalin Russian state is illustrated that the Soviet Army’s second largest concentration was opposite the Chinese in Manchuria and that part of Mongolia under Chinese control. The Soviet units stationed there were equipped with full tracked personnel carriers needed to traverse the marshy grounds found in Manchuria.

    The efforts of the US and other Western powers to shore up the states that broke from the Russian state on the collapse of the Soviet Union is going in harms way, as the Russians clearly consider those former states of the Soviet Union as part of the Russian sphere on interest. This return to the old imperial concept of “sphere of interest” is interesting, and should be taken seriously.

    Putin, albeit a former KGB bureaucrat and theoretically anti-religious, has been playing the religion card in a style not seen since the October Revolution. He is tapping into the deeply religious character of the Russian people as an effective counter to the former atheism of Marxism. That the Russians have picked up their religion aftter seventy five years of repression is testament to the strength of the Othodox Christian faith.

    Russia today is now at odds with the atheism of the past, but their modus operandi as a people and as a nation has always included considerable efforts at espionage and subversion. The dozen spies swapped this week show that the Russians can’t resist the effort, despite not having any particular damaging intent … spies who didn’t spy.

    How this relates to the SBOE is that the Russian apparatus that formerly exploited the Left in academia during the Soviet Era is gone. The Right senses the weakness and is on the attack with an old score to settle. How old that score is goes back long before Marx, and includes the imagined injuries and frustrations going back to the days before the Treaty of Westphalia, and the Glorius Revoultion of 1688 which spelled the end of the wars of religion, and the onset of the Enlightenment.

    Read more deep into the writings of the Apocalyptic Right and one can find that the Renaissance is on the hit list.

  16. Gordon, you write as if only Russia and China act in their own national interests. Doesn’t the United States do likewise? Hasn’t the U.S. wanted defensible borders since its inception? Why do you think we want to bring so many former Soviet states into NATO? And why do you think Russia doesn’t like it? How would you, as an American, feel if the tables were turned? Would you like to see Canada and Mexico brought into the Warsaw Pact if history had played out differently? Alliances are not just for defense; they are also for threat.

    We like our defensible borders as well as do the Chinese and Russians. I thought that’s why there’s no much screaming for a wall to be built along our southern border. People want a wall; they just don’t want the COST of building and maintaining such a structure, taxes being “Marxist.”

    The U.S. likes its spheres of influence as do Russia and China. That’s what’s behind nation-building and the spread of capitalism.

    And don’t our presidents tap into the religion card as well? Bush really played it up to the max, presenting himself as an examplar of Christianity and starting the Office of Faith-Based Partnerships. Funny that I rarely heard of him setting foot in a church. Jimmy Carter portrayed himself as a “born-again” Christian, the GOP saw how effective that strategy was and embraced it for the 1980 campaign. Since then they’ve been using the religion card most effectively, so successfully that the Democrats have had to re-adopt it. Now both Dem and Rep candidates must appeal to voters on a religious level as well as on any other level; witness the command performances of Obama and McCain at churches and synagogues, mosques and temples, as if the electorate votes for Most Religious Candidate and Best Clergyman-In-Chief. Taliban America, here we come.

    As for Marxism being “credited” for the foundations of sociology, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is any direct or inherent connection. Judaism led to Christianity and Christianity led Catholicism and Catholicism led to Protestantism despite the fact there are major differences between all of them and on a number of key issues.

    As for Russian spies, everyone spies on everyone. I’m surprised you seem to think only Russians spy. The U.S. spies on its friends as well as its enemies as it is spied on by its friends as well as its enemies; the one exception being Great Britian. We don’t spy much on them nor they on us. But Jonathan Pollard remains in prison for spying on us for Israel despite our “special relationship” with Israel. There are industry spies as well as political spies. Spying has been around since we dropped out of the trees and probably before then.

    As for “that old score,” that old score goes back as far as there have been haves and have-nots, abusees and abusers. “Imagined” injuries? You must be on top of the food chain.

    Where I do see a connection between the Right and Totalitarianism and the SBOE is in the matter of control. The three are control freaks. Additionally the Right and the SBOE are anti-progressive, stating they want to “take the country back” (question is: back to when? The Dark Ages?) so we’re agreed the Renaissance is on the Hit List.

  17. The quest for defensible borders is not a Russian exclusive. They have a bigger problem than most. For more on this subject, check out George Friedman’s STRATFOR website and/or his book the next 100 years. The urge to find defensible borders is a matter of economic and political geography the workings of which have little to do with morality.

    The German’s drang nach osten is the flip side of the Russian western border issue with Poland in between. The same issue in the United States was solved by running out of West to conquer.

    Once the Britsih Empire became a bore to the British and ceased to be a means for the second and third sons of nobility to entrich and entertain themselves, the necessity of being perfidious has diminished.

    Spain was hard to push back into it’s borders once the Moors were defeated in 1492 which unleashed the creation of likely the largest colonization in human history (perhaps a toss up between Spain and Britain if you include British India). The Alps ad the Pyrenees served to limit intrusions (but not prohibit) into Italy

    The penchant for espionage is also not a Russian exclusive. They have a strong tradition in planting moles in other places that is note worthy. The British once had the prize for espionage and subversion and earned the title “Perfidious Albion” over the years. American isolationism, particularly in between Word Wars 1 and 2 was boosted by the perception that the British had hoodwinked America into World War 1.

    The varopis Neutrality Acts of the Thirties were intended to prevent another Lusitania incident by prohibiting trading with any nation (Britain) at war with anyone elsse (Germany). Evem after Pearl Harbour, there were not enough votes in the Congress to declare war against Germany, Hitler did that for us.

    The default American attitude and capacity for esptionage is either not to have any or to ignore the results thereof. Exceptions have occured during wartime, but not consistently so. Washington was a whiz at it, but the Union Army during the Civil War was particularly inept. The British spoon fed the US in WW1, so it wasn’t until FDR created the OSS was the US developing a credible capability. This was dumped then hurriedly recreated for the Cold War with indifferent results.

    Good intelligence is an internal political threat to those who don’t have any and who feel their power is threatened by other people who do. This is politics with a small “p” and exists wherever two or three are gathered together. The flip side of ignoring information from without is the hoarding of information from within. Information withholding is more powerful that information dissemination. That is the the curse of the information class.

    The first classfied information of the Ancients was how to tell time. The ability to measure time required methods of measurement, mathematics, and accounting. Given the importance of knowing when to plant and when to reap, or when ot move the animals to north and when to move them south. All this meant knowledge that was better kept to those certified in time keeping. The earliest temples of antiquity even up to the Maya were in fact large clocks.

    The advent of the sun dial must have been devastating to intellectual superiority, like the PC was to the Main Frame.

    It so happens that this drama is incorporated in the Chinese characters for time, temple, wait, own and serve in which the left hand radical (of the 214 radicals used to construct characters) includes differss while the right hand radical means temple. The radical for sun is found in time, no radical for temple, the go radical for wait, the hand radcial for hold, and the man radical for servant. Thus the Chinese knew the social and political dynamics of information handling to the point that it is readily identified in these words. The character for rape and disorder is three women in house. Go figure.

    Playing the religious card is used wherever religion counts. The same for any form of information. Thus the Maya and Aztec blood sacrifices done from the temples that were used to measure time is a stellar example. The use of information for intimidation is not a religious exclusive. There was this boy who called wolf.

    Nation building and capitalism are not inherently and exclusively linked, certainly no more than Soviet imperialism, or for that matter Ceasar and Gaul.

  18. By reading TFN’s opening commentary, it is obvious this discussion thread is not about world history. TFN lost the debate because it failed to overcome the simple proposition by its opponents that, as stated in its second paragraph above, “separation of church and state isn’t a key principle of the Constitution.” This is the argument TFN’s opposition on the TSBOE publicly hung out for the media to herald across America after the vote was taken. Hello?

    TFN lost the wording debate, and, yes, the difference of even one word makes a difference in a debate. TFN lost the debate. The truth of that fact does not need any further amplification, but it is why I wrote The Religion Commandments in the Constitution, a primer for teaching our side of the argument how to win the public and the constitutional debate. The word in the Constitution is “religion,” the whole subject thereof, not church. To argue, as TFN insists upon doing, is like arguing with idiots that a cow is an elephant. Even an idiot is probably smart enough to counter by saying that a cow is not an elephant. So, Don’t Think of an Elephant, as Professor Lakoff would advise, as do I.

    The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM .

  19. To church goers, church and religion are the same, even when someone else’s church is a mosque or temple. Classfications of religion as it is manfiested on a global scale include “non-theistic” religions like Taoism or Confucianism which stress the say of doing things more than what is believed concerning deities. Bhuddism is largely a religion that is more concerned with how life is lived, that which form of supreme being(s) there are.

    While it is popular in the West to draw a line between beliefs that are religious and those that are not along the lines of whethere there is one or more deities in the belief structure. Islam carries forward the concept of angels and demons but that Jesus is not the son of god,but a prophet, the last before Mohammed.

    The question that rrmains, Consituttionally in this regard is how to classify religion different from non-deist religious theory and that from political philosophies that may or may not have a deity. The practical use of using gods, prophets, gurus, sages, and other practitioners of Euhemerism (spin) cannot be wholly or neatly segregated into religion and philosophy.

    How much is American Exceptionalsim more or less religious than Marxist dialectic?

    How much of a didactic difference is there between a sermon and a lecture?

    If the Constitution is based on biblical precedents, can it be taught on campus?

  20. Define “religion” as you wish, the Constitution commands “religion” shall not be established by law, and the Supreme Court has applied that commandment to government at every level. If the issue is “religion,” it shall not be established, and no “religious” test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. In the USA, religion is to be freely, i.e., voluntarily exercised, not established by law, or not totally forbidden, which is what “prohibiting” means. Actions are always subject to the laws of the land, regardless of religion belief. The word “thereof” in the free exercise commandment can mean only “religion,” which makes the wording of the First Amendment grammatically correct and allows no other definition, regardless of how “religion” is defined. Yes, the word “church” is related to “religion,” and therefore shall not be established, as the Office of Faith-based Ministries should not be. If the proposition relates to “religion,” by any name, it shall not be established by law or government at any level. The Constitution is not based upon biblical precedents, but upon political propositions, and in political reality, upon the principle of “separation between Religion and Government, “James Madison, W&MQ 3:555. See Detached Memoranda on the internet, if you do not have W&MQ in your local libraries.

  21. If religion can be defined any which way, that means that it is fundamentaly, whimsical, arbitrary and/or capricious and therefore it is contrary to law to either establish, separate and/or prohibit. Given the Supreme Court can determine whether something is pornographic on sight, and subject to the definition of local authority the principle of whimsy is clearly established as the law of the land, being as how the Supreme Court is the font of all magic.

    According to ACT! for America, Islam is not a religion, but a political philosophy and therefore, it is consisten with their logic Islam (?) can be taught in public schools at tax payer expense. Likewise earlier attempts by the Righteous Right to classify Liberalism as a religion and therefore subject to being banned from public education.

    Defining what is and what is not religion is relevant to the subject of separation of it from other forms of speech, which in accordance with the First Amendment cannot be infringed upon. At what point does anti-establishmentarianism become infringement? And that is the core issue as issue in the SBOE, and anywhere else where Freedom of Religion is treated differently than Free Speech, or vice versa.

    The growth of anti-nuisance legislation and decisions regarding limiting Freedom of Speech into such categories as “protected speech” and “unprotected speech”. The utterance of threats, as perceived by the threatened regardless of the intent of the threatenor places religion in the cross hairs with the utterance of such dire happenstance as damnation, pit of hell, or other unpleasantness befalling the anti-faithful. Should religions be sued for false advertising?

    The possibilities of the clash between establishmentarianism vs anti-establishmentarianism, not to leave antidisestablishmentarianism in the dust. I didn’t make this one up.

  22. If our future depends upon making the message of the Constitution loud and clear, the last commentary added directly above illustrates how difficult educating our kids is when some adults obviously cannot comprehend the difference between “religion” and “church” or “abridging” and “prohibiting.” There is a difference, as clearly defined by Webster’s, and it is way past time for TFN to make those distinctions. Religion includes the entire subject. Church is merely one branch of the entire subject. Prohibiting means totally forbidding. Abridging means reducing. Yes, Webster’s is of value, but in case of question, the Supreme Court of the United States will tell us what the words of the Constitution mean. That is way our republic is established by the Constitution and is the agreement ratified by every state and pledged to allegiance by every citizen upholding the greatest nation ever created on planet earth. The Founding Fathers and the men of the First Congress worded the Constitution’s three religion commandments with perfect grammar and in plain English.

    And, by the way, the only words which count are the words in the Constitution: the words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. The misguided majority on the current TSBOE understood that obvious fact. TFN lost that debate because it too obviously fails to recognize what the Constitution actually says. From the TFN comment opening this discussion: “Let’s make sure our message is heard loud and clear. Just Educate! Our kids deserve better. Our future depends on it.” Amen! The Constitution clearly uses the word “religion,” not church.

  23. “Religion includes the entire subject”. What subject? How is religion defined so as to be able to separate it from any other belief systems? The Constitution doesn’t empower Webster or TFN to do such parsing.

    Not all religions have gods (supreme beings who may or may not be related to humans). No all gods have a religion. How does a god differ from a fount of knowledge and wisdom who does not claim godshiip (like Bhuddha, or Marx, or Madison, or Ronald Reagan, or Lenin)?

    This is not a simple question, and I doubt there is a simple answer, if any. But as the tug of war between the establishmentarians and the antiestablishmentarians and the disestablishmentarians as well as the antidisestablishmentarians. Those of want to establish religion, those who don’t, those who want it out, and those who want it to stay. Whatever it is.

    The First Amendment, in my view, makes no distinction between free speech and religion, and it seems clear that neither should be restricted except for cause. Cause is established in Common Law means that there has to be a clear evidentiary trail between an utterance and an adverse result resulting by virtue of an intentional falsehood. The current trend in decisions and legislation to punish those who make an utterance/image without a resulting and definitive adverse result.

    The laws of libal and slander go back centuries and until recently harm had to occur before prosecution or litigation. Hate speech, IMHO, cannot be a crime unless there is an actual harm resulting therefrom. Making bomb jokes in an airport is another unambiguous violation of the freedom of speech, even if it is dumb. The mere possession of a proscribed form of speech will get you five years in the slammer, the definition of said proscription being arbitrary and capricious.

    Sedition could put you in the slammer under Wilson or FDR, but under JFK one could get wasted and laid for the same. Sedition is back on the list of Federal crimes, and conspiracy to commit sedition is back in force.

    The culture wars are about competing groups of True Believers, and as Eric Hoffer said, True Believers are interchangeable.

  24. No doubt the above comment is a perfect example as to why “religion” shall not be established by law or Congress. The Founding Fathers, in Article 6, and the First Congress, in the First Amendment, got the principle correct from the beginning of our nation, as defined by the man who personally helped draft the wording of both Art. 6 and the First Amendment, James Madison. “Strongly guarded … is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States,” James Madison, “Father of the Constitution,” W&MQ 3:555, see “Detached Memoranda” on the internet, on my website, or in the book The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer. The words of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land and the Supreme Court ultimately decides what those words mean, if there is ever any question. In the meantime, Webster’s is a recognized source for maintaining a common public understanding as to what every word in the English language means.

  25. Gordon, you have a genius for making my head spin. You write reams of material that, while interesting, is irrelevant to what was discussed or asked earlier. For example, you wrote a treatise about measuring time which is all very interesting but has little to do with anything nor does it contradict anything what I wrote!

    You totally missed my point about nation-building and capitalism. The U.S. nation-builds in order to spread “democracy” (which is the given reason) but really it’s for the sake of capitalism. Do you think the U.S. is trying to spread Marxism? It is my understanding the U.S. is trying to spread capitalism – or the so-called “free market” if you prefer. Much has been written in support of my statement.

    And never mind my original question asking about your assertion that the “Left” is waging war against Christianity. It comes right back to church’s tax-free status and their public support thanks to the Office of Faith-Based Partnerships. OK, so tax-exempt status has been around for as long as I can remember, and the Office Of Faith-Based Partnerships was started by a Republican. But a Democrat has not terminated it nor restricted it. So I’d ask again how any such generous benefits to Christinaity could possibly be interpreted as a “war” against Christianity. But never mind. I’ve given up.

  26. Cytocop: Your “understanding” that the US is trying to spread capitalism is exactly the kind of position that proves the contention that the institutions of (higher) learning are over-run by liberals of a very left bent, assuming that you accept the notion that your opinion is normal for the educated.

    Nation building has no necessary connection with capitalism, or for that matter on any other theory of economics and politics. Nation building in it’s broadest sense is what happens after manmade or natural disasters.

    The Nation building that some associate with American policies are not about capitalism, but about getting a nation back on it’s feet. The Bush Administration made a really bad reputation for the process as it tried to make the Middle East Middle Western. The term “nation building” is not used in US military doctrine which has five major lines of effort: etablishing security, national safety (police, courts), a viable economy, basic services, and effective governance. See FM 3-24. The process is, and has been called “stability operations” for at least the last forty years.

    The only definitions and theorty of capitalism is by it’s opponents. There is no structured theory of capitalism, no basic texts, and no courses in business school purporting to advance the theory and practice of capitalism. The handful of Right wingnuts that do, are just that, and even they don’t use the term capitalism.

    Capitalism as a theory was establish by Marx as a straw dummy. And only straw dummies are dumb enought to put it on.

    OBTW: blogs are a broad cast, not a party line.

  27. In regard to TFN’s “just educate campaign” and what “millions of students learn in their classrooms,” this particular blog discussion is an example as to why TFN lost the debate with the TSBOE. Instead of discussing “religion and government,” this blog wound up, in July, talking about capitalism, nation building, and “liberals of a very left bent,” while TFN continued to distort what the Constitution says by insisting on using the wording “church and state,” which words are not in the Constitution. Talk about “understanding”? There is no understanding the essence of the meaning of the words used in the Constitution, in court or in school, without using the words used by the Founding Fathers in Art. 6, and by the First Congress in the First Amendment.

    The religion commandments in the Constitution and the First Amendment do not need clarification: the words “no religious test” and “no law respecting an establishment of religion” are clearly stated and specifically defined by Webster’s. The entire subject of “religion” shall not be established by “law,” (First Amendment) and “no religious test shall ever be required” (Art. 6., Sec. 3). The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution (Glenn Beck, Arguing with Idiots, p. 287). Glenn Beck is correct. TFN is in error for continuing to reinforce Beck’s ridiculous argument, which is why it lost the central debate with the TSBOE. The Constitution is directed at prohibiting establishment of the whole subject of “religion,” not just of a church or a religion. That simple argument was not the essence of TFNs argument. It should have been. After all of these years of TFN’s existence, TFN needs to get its understanding correct and its argument correctly worded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM .

    It is “religion” itself which should be the center of the debate, because “religion” is the constitutional term and “religion” includes every aspect of whatever it means. The Founding Fathers and the men of the First Congress understood the meaning of the words religion and law and the value of keeping religion and government separate, which is why they commanded “no religious test,” and “no law respecting an establishment of religion.”