What Does Dunbar Really Want to Teach?

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 for how we have taught our children lies, not only in revisionist history but also evolution, how we’ve kicked God out of school. She will repent on behalf of the education system, and she’s also going to welcome God back in.”

Remember that Dunbar calls public education unconstitutional, “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion” in her 2008 book, One Nation Under God. In fact, she crammed her book full of inflammatory rhetoric, as when she criticizes Christians who send their children to public schools:

“Our children are, after all, our best and greatest assets, and we are throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

Also in her book, Dunbar endorses a “belief system” that would “require that any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

That certainly makes her desire to strike Jefferson from the world history standards easier to understand. Jefferson, after all, was a Deist who believed that a “wall of separation between church and state” was essential to freedom.

Dunbar knew she couldn’t delete Jefferson from the American history standards — nearly everyone would see that as a step too far. But she would naturally oppose teaching world history students that Jefferson and his Enlightenment ideals have for centuries inspired people far outside the United States in their struggles for freedom against oppression.

For Dunbar, teaching students about Jefferson and his ideals is anathema. That helps explain why she replaced Jefferson with theologians Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin in the world history standards. And it tells us more about just what Dunbar wants to teach in our public schools classrooms — a distorted version of history that squares with her own narrow worldview.

25 thoughts on “What Does Dunbar Really Want to Teach?

  1. “She is going to come to May Day and repent for how we have taught our children lies, not only in revisionist history but also evolution, how we’ve kicked God out of school. She will repent on behalf of the education system, and she’s also going to welcome God back in.”

    What Bible has she been reading? She cannot repent for other people in our country. People do that individually with God. It’s a God-individual conscience sort of thing. Repenting of evolution is like repenting because grass is green. Because God made grass green—and he made evolution—it occurs to me that God might think this is very odd. As for repenting of so-called “revisionist social studies” that dare to admit that people of other races are important to the United States, it occurs to me that this would be equally odd because God made all of these black, brown, red, and yellow people—and said that his creation of them was good. Right Cytocop? So, what train is Dunbar riding?

  2. Dunbar says: “Our children are, after all, our best and greatest assets, and we are throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

    Further proof of how stupid Cynthia Dunbar is. Moloch is another spelling for ‘melech’ which means ‘king’ in Hebrew. (Hebrew is written without vowels; hence the discrepancy). So, “throwing one’s children to melech” is just a metaphor for doing something with one’s children (or whatever one highly values) for a king. And, in this case, a deliberately unnamed king. It does not necessarily mean literally throwing children into flames. It probably points more to the idea of God vs “mammon.” But, of course, conservative Christians are incapable of thinking abstractedly; for them, everything is literal. If God created the universe and all that is in it in seven 24-hour days then, by God, snakes and donkeys can talk.

    And, we’ve seen what Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin were all about. Therefore, we see what Cynthia Dunbar and her team is all about: imposing a Christian Nation.

  3. While we all act to get Dunbar and her like out of Texas Education, teachers will keep Thomas Jefferson in our schools.
    I don’t teach US History – I don’t even teach social studies this year. Still I cite Thomas Jefferson and other authors regularly. WHen I teach children to access the Library of Congress site – I talk about Thomas Jefferson. When we discuss fair use and copyright I bring up Thomas Jefferson – and Walt Disney.

  4. I’m confused…. I thought Republicans embraced our nation’s founding fathers because they were devout Christians and so clever and smart. To not include T. Jefferson suggests she feels otherwise. That must be very confusing.

  5. I think I’m going to become a Thomas Jefferson expert. (amateur, of course)
    Just to compensate.

  6. She is going to come to May Day and repent for how we have taught our children lies, not only in revisionist history but also evolution, how we’ve kicked God out of school.

    Given that there isn’t a single peer-reviewed scientific research paper refuting evolution, it follows that Porter believes that scientists around the world are conspiring to lie to U.S. public school students. Rrrrrright.

    Does anyone else find it amusing that Dunbar is speaking on International Workers’ Day?

  7. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” to peel the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic Solid South in order to defeat Yankee Imperialism (of the South) worked. The problem was that there was already a Bible centric and isolationist presence (Taft’s GOP) in the Middle West. The center of gravity of the Luddite movement exemplified by Dunbar is as old as the nation, and has played hob with every generation since.

    Big Business plays both parties, Dem and GOP, in hopes the Isolationists, Libertarians, and the Far Left don’t create a nation with the draw bridges up. Small business tends towards protectionism of the kind that made the Twentieth Century particularly bloody.

    President Obama is clearly no t of the Noah Chomsky brand of Socialism brought to the US between 1880 and WW2. President Obama’s economic policies embrace the fact of the global market, and of the problems that a global economy entails. The bank bailout and the change in strategy in the wars in the MIddle East were initiated by George Bush.
    The fury of the Righteous Right’s Red Scare tactics, is likely one more of jealousy than Christianity.

    Underneath it all is the rage of the Dixiecrats that a black person is in office. This rage is also played out in the refusal of Cracker Central from accepting any amendments to the Constitution made after the Civil War. So called “strict Constitutionalists” takle such as the “due process” clause that is blamed for the spread of “diversity” politics. In this sense, the Civil War is still very much alive and now hosted by the former enemy of the South, the GOP/

    One has to stand back and take a historical view to see the ironies.

  8. How many people here ever thought you would have Christians falling on their knees before the Lord in prayer to ensure that the sick stay sick; to ensure that the hungry stay hungry; to ensure that the poor stay poor; to support known liars; to smack down factual truth wherever it stands; to ensure that minorities and strangers are mistreated; to bring about a tyrannical theofascist dictatorship to the United States; to support the heresies of Christian reconstructionism, dominionism, and theonomy, and on and on and on….

    Unbelievable—to me at least.

  9. Yet another “devout Christian fundamentalist” more than willing to lie through her teeth. She and her cohorts really are despicable.

  10. Does anyone else find it amusing that Dunbar is speaking on International Workers’ Day?

    @ James F: Yes, I think it’s a hoot. But, as we’ve seen, Ms. Dunbar is so dumb it probably went right over her head.

    @ Charles, yes. In fact, when God created humans I believe the text says God said it was VERY good.

  11. They’re still in shock that GWB’s “crusade” against Islam fell flat on its face.
    It’s obvious some of this is to get even for GW’s “rough treatment” by the left.

    As far as May Day goes, I think she may know. This is one way of “projecting” (Godless) communism onto the pres. and the Dems.
    The editor of the local paper has “drunk the koolaid” and has published another letter from one of the local evangelofascists with all the requisite dog-whistle talking points about this depraved communist admin. tearing down all the hallowed institutions of this great country…He makes no intelligible point whatsoever.

  12. I have been watching the House of Representatives live debate on the health care reform bill. The opponents are telling whoppers, whining up a storm, grousing in anger, and pompous with extreme right wing rhetoric. It sounds just like the Texas SBOE. Fruitcakes.

  13. You are much more man than I, Charles.

    Who do they think they’re talking to? The votes are already a done deal, except for the last minute deals, so there isn’t anyone there going to change their votes just because of continued idiocy by the far right. This is just more posturing by scumbags who are thinking only of their re-elections.

  14. Now they’re trying to make something out of the abortion issue again. Ho-hum. Hopefully we won’t have to hear “pre-existing medical condition” for a while, at least.

  15. David wrote: “They don’t just interpret everything literally. They misinterpret it literally.”

    Right again, Dave. I’d only add that they misinterpret it literally – and deliberately. Power is their real interest.

    Unfortunately, “pre-existing condition” is still very much active. I don’t think that goes away until 2014, yes?

    The abortion thing is another red herring. If the Repugniks sat down and did the math (of which they are incapable without fudging the numbers), they would see that an abortion costs the taxpayers far less $$ than it costs the taxpayers to raise a kid to the age of 18 or 21 – whichever is the age of majority. So, it has nothing to do with saving money; it’s all about forcing women to keep unwanted pregnancies.

    But just watch that Repugnik tsunami coming in November to repeal what was passed tonight. Health insurance will become worse than it ever has been; it will be completely taken over by Corporateworld. Although how it could be more taken over than it is right now I have no idea. But in the end, insurance will be affordable only for the top wealthiest. The rest of us can just die and go to friggin hell. Unless, of course, we do the smart thing and have a good old-fashioned French-style revolution, complete with guillotines.

  16. I know. These folks are stupid because they want to be, and they want everyone else to be.
    ABC did a piece back in the 70’s, to the effect that they proved that what the abortion opponents really wanted, was to have the power to tell other folks when to fornicate.
    They’ve built up this whole culture around that. That’s why they want abstinence only sex ed. Technology and education will make abortions practically obsolete, but they won’t be satisfied. They just don’t want anybody else to enjoy sex.
    I still don’t think there’s going to be that big a backlash. In fact it may go the other way. Now the Dems can busy themselves with tweaking the H.C. (they won’t need a supermajority), and doing something on the jobs front.
    There will be massive shoveling of money into the GOPs by the Health Ins. lobby.
    But the electorate may be inoculated against the astroturf stuff by this time.
    Success here will help the admin. efforts in foreign policy now.
    That will grease the wheels here.
    Maybe it won’t be so bad.

  17. I’m not sure how much tweaking the Dems will be able to get away with, David. Not just from the right, either. I am still incensed by Obama’s under the table agreements with the proposals by the Insurance/Pharma lobby that the Public Option be excluded from the bill, his acquiescence to nixing the group-buying strategy, and the continuation of the Bush admin. tactic of “We can’t be sure of the quality controls in place for them furriners meds. (Yeah, the lines of bodies piling up at the border should frighten off any potential cross-border purchases.)

    I saw a headline somewhere that said, “Barack Obama, I want a divorce!” I was deeply shocked by his FISA/Telecom Immunity renege, and I’ve just about had enough of giving him the benefit of the doubt after his blatant continuation of Bush policies.

    ( Sorry for going off the rails here. )

  18. This bill should create a demand for thousands of new doctors, nurses, admin./clerical/ etc. PRIVATE SECTOR jobs.
    This means that this generation of kids need their education. Especially biology.

  19. trog69, I understand, and I think people should keep pushing for the things that are important. But anyone in Pr. Obama’s position is going to be necessarily focused on a “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” strategy. As long as he can bend the trajectory in the right direction. He may need help to stay focused on eventually creating the opportunity for things to change. The ship of state is pretty ponderous. And you’ve got the backlash on the right, so they’re going to have to survive this next election first before they will be able to take any more big steps. He’s got to convince the middle of the country that he’s not going off on a radical deep end, and that government under him can successfully execute its functions without being most of the problem.
    So people are going to have to keep fighting. If there’s a big turnout in the next election, it will be good for Dems. They will have more power to get things done then.

  20. I’ll be happier when I see folks coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I do think we’ll get single payer eventually.

  21. David, I won’t derail the thread by detailing all the reasons, but Obama’s actions have turned me completely against him. His backroom deals with teh Insurance industry was just more of the same, in my eyes. If he continues talking out of both sides of his mouth, I will not help his re-election at all. I don’t see any remedy for my cynicism; they’ve just pushed me too far.

  22. Republican talk of repealing the health care reform bill is just BS to make their followers think they are trying hard to do something. It’s like when they propose constitutional amendments against flag burning. The proposing right wing Congressman knows that amending the constitution or getting a 2/3 vote on any such thing has the same chance as Captain Kangaroo walking on water. It just sounds good to the idiots who follow them. What is standing in the way of the Republicans repealing health care reform this fall. Try these:

    1) A CERTAIN VETO of any such bill by President Obama and a zero chance of overriding a veto with a 2/3 Republican majority in Congress. They may win some more seats this fall–but not enough to do that. It takes close to supernatural intervention to override a presidential veto, and I suspect God would not cooperate because of his love for the down and out. The VETO POWER exists for at least three more years. If Obama gets re-elected, seven more years.

    2) The health care reform bill is no longer a generalized abstraction that can be exploited with scare stories and ignorance. It is reality now like Social Security. Each individual American (whether for it or against it) is at the same place now. “How does it affect me?” Pretty soon, each household in the United States will get official government mailings—just like those from the IRS and Social Security Administration—specifying how it benefits that particular family. Most people are going to like what they see and wonder what the fuss was all about.

    3) The Republicans will not win enough House or Senate seats to get the 60 votes necessary in the U.S. Senate to avoid a Democrat filibuster on a health care repeal bill. From a legislative viewpoint it is a dead issue, and the Republicans would not dare try revision of Senate rules to apply the so-called “nuclear option.” Why? They know that the next time the Democrats have a majority their worst Republican dreams would come true and they would have no way of stopping the Democrats from passing everything they want on a simple majority vote. The risk is simply too high to take.

    4) Have the U.S. Supreme Court declare the health care bill unconstitutional? Dream on. This bill was written by several 100 of the best millionaire lawyers in the United States. Every word was chosen carefully to prevent any chance of it. However, even in a wild dream, the high court might reject only a few parts like special deals for states—leaving most of the actual health care measures (the so-called socialism part of it) fully intact.

    5) Elements of the Republican Party have tried every scheme imaginable since the 1930s to destroy, gut, hollow-out, rescind (use whatever word you like) Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and even Welfare. In the past couple of decades a few needed changes were made to Welfare with even the Democrats on board. I would call that nothing but a slight adjustment. Aid to Families with Dependent Children is still alive, well, and doling our free dollars to the families that qualify—with a few term limits. My Point: ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS ARE FOREVER. Once in, they NEVER go away. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA-HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    6) What do Republicans, Libertarians, far right whack jobs, and Tea Partiers need to know about repealing the health care reform bill. Dante said it best in “The Divine Comedy,” as translated into English by one person: “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.” Yes, you have entered Hell. That is all you need to know, and no matter how you might feel about that—deep in your hearts—you know I am correct. There is no way out. You know it. You know it.

  23. As far as I recall, God has never left the class rooms of America. Go into any class in which a trig or algebra test is being given… you will KNOW that prayers are being said.