As the Texas Board of Education continues deliberations this week into rewriting its public school social studies curriculum, conservative groups are attacking those who object to board members’ attempts to turn the state standards into a ministry for far-right Christian free-market capitalism.
Jonathan Saenz of the Liberty Legal Institute (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family) has been leading the charge to portray what’s happening in Texas as a case of liberals trying to destroy traditional values. On Tuesday, Saenz appeared on Fox and Friends accusing “left-wing activists from Austin” of trying to hijack the process and trying to take Christianity out of the standards.
The Fox piece presents the deliberations as if board members are being bullied by the experts or “educrats” as Saenz calls them. The only problem with that argument is that the teachers, the academics, the historians – the people actually knowledgeable about the topics being deliberated – have been kicked out of the process. In November, the board decided to proceed with the review of the standards with no further guidance from the committee of volunteer professionals who had spent a year rewriting the standards. So right now, it’s just a runaway train wreck with board members revealing their abysmal ignorance of historical events and their utter arrogance in thinking that they alone should be the deciders.
Yesterday, board member Ken Mercer (who once said if evolution were true, how come we have never seen a dog-cat) made the point that the U.S. is a Christian nation because there are Congressional chaplains, prayers in Congressional sessions, and “In God We Trust.”
It should be embarrassing for them, really. (See Brown Bear, Brown Bear.)
The Fox News’ coverage has been so full of misinformation that the Texas Education Agency made the unusual move of putting out a news release this week correcting the inaccuracies.
Meanwhile, the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network has issued a prayer alert:
PRAYER ALERT – STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: We have been on the front lines of this battle regarding the contents of our state’s curriculum. What passes here will affect the nation. Pray fervently this week as the State Board of Education takes their vote on Friday, March 12.
Note: The board will not have a final vote until May. Still, prayer may be a good idea. At this point, divine intervention may be the only thing that could save the process.