An e-mail today from Texas Eagle Forum:
Don McLeroy’s opponents admitted he was “fair,” but simply did not like his Biblical worldview. Please thank him for his courageous service as SBOE chairman and encourage him to continue to stand for righteousness in the public square.
The message has been sent — if you have sincere religious beliefs, you need not apply to be chair of the State Board of Education.
This all is nonsense. As senators who voted against his confirmation repeatedly said, McLeroy is a good, decent man. No one attacked McLeroy’s “Biblical worldview.” His religious beliefs weren’t at issue.
Simply put, McLeroy’s chairmanship failed students, their families and other taxpayers. He has sided with board members who callously disregard the work and advice of teachers, specialists and academic experts. (Examples here and here.) His board failed to adopt and stick to processes that allow for open and informed debate of public policies regarding education. (Example here.) It thumbed its nose at the Legislature, refusing to obey state statutes on textbook adoptions and setting curriculum standards for public school Bible classes. And, frankly, McLeroy has sided with board members and others who have viciously attacked the religious faith of people who don’t oppose teaching the true science of evolution. (Examples here, here, here and here.)
Why are McLeroy’s defenders so recklessly distorting the truth? It’s an old tactic for the religious right: using faith as a weapon to divide Texans for political gain. They believe that persuading some people of faith that their beliefs and rights are under attack — regardless of the truth — will bring rewards at the ballot box in 2010.
It’s a cynical, repulsive political strategy that Texas Freedom Network has been fighting for nearly 15 years.
UPDATE: Here’s another example of the nonsense we’re talking about. David Barton, head of the far-right organization WallBuilders, will interview SBOE member Ken Mercer on his Internet radio show Wednesday in a segment titled “Religious Test for Officials?” Barton, of course, has been appointed by the SBOE to an “expert” panel for revising the state’s social studies curriculum standards. Expect to see this cynical propaganda campaign continue throughout that revision process (and beyond).