Texas Board of Education to Target Church-State Separation

May 17, 2010


They’re at it again.  Earlier this year the religious conservative-dominated Texas Board of Education mandated a bizarrely warped US history curriculum for Texas school children – and, because of Texas’s enormous influence on the nation’s textbook market, most non-Texan students as well.  Recall that the Christian fundamentalists on the board included a plank to ensure that students learn about "the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association."  They didn’t care much for Thomas Jefferson, who coined the evil term "wall of separation between church and state," so they erased him from the history books and replaced him with the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas.  (Sadly this is no joke; read all about it here .)

Not content with scrubbing Jefferson’s name from history, the fundamentalists have now set their sights on his life’s work as well. The Dallas Morning News reports that Don McLeroy, a Christian fundamentalist dentist who leads the board’s social conservative faction, has proposed several amendments that he wants added before the board’s final vote this week on education standards. Among the proposals is a call for students to "contrast the Founders’ intent relative to the wording of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the popular term ‘Separation of church and state.’"  This reflects conservative religious historical revisionists’ false contention that the doctrine of separation of church and state was fabricated by judges and was not part of the original intent of the Constitution’s drafters.

How tragic that the nation’s school children remain subject to the whims of Texas’s increasingly unhinged board of education.  What’s next?  Astronomy textbooks extolling the virtues of the geocentric model?