Stone on the Texas Board of Education and Textbook Content

The Crazy Imaginings of the Texas Board of Education
Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post
March 21, 2010

During the era of McCarthyism, Red-baiters fed upon the image of "godless" Communists infiltrating our educational system in order to brainwash the youth of America. As it turned out, that image was largely imaginary. Ironically, though, we now really do have a coterie of Christian evangelicals who are attempting to infiltrate our educational system in order to brainwash the youth of America. They are in Texas.

For reasons peculiar to the textbook industry and the Texas educational system, the Texas Board of Education has enormous influence on the content of textbooks used throughout the United States. Conservatives and Christian evangelicals have taken over the Texas Board of Education and they are right now in the process of rewriting the American history our children will learn.

Among the propositions the Texas Board of Education is attempting to impose upon the next generation of Americans is that the United States was founded as "a Christian nation." What follows from this, of course, is that our Constitution and laws must be understood through the prism of this perspective. Although evangelicals have been pushing this line for two centuries, it is simply, factually, and historically false. But the members of the Texas Board of Education, who are not themselves historians, nonetheless persist in this effort to propagandize the youth of America. This is dangerous. It must be contested.


Geoffrey R. Stone


Christian Nation

What's wrong with calling the US a nation founded on Christian principles?  I think we need not fear the limitation of the 1st Amendment to tolerance among Christian sects.  On the other hand,m I suppose it might cause persons to think about allowing some generic Christian prayer in public schools, ending with "in Jesus's name", which will raise hackles of non-christians.  But more likely it would encourage a more forgiving kind of restriction on school prayer which still will not put the school in the position of proselityzing. Would it cause some to believe that the equal protection clause does not, after all, require the same protection of gays as it does African Americans?  OK, so that simply shifts anti-gay state action to the political area, in which the heft of anti-gay forces is waning (albeit not fast enough).

Beyond that, what have we to fear?  If one reads the four Gospels carefully, one thing a "christian nation" would mean to the believing Christian that there should be a strong national policy of help for the poor and perhaps some increase in taxation of the "rich" to reduce the disparity in wealth and income in the US.