TEXAS – WHERE EDUCATION GOES TO DIE
Posted February 4, 2013on:
PBS showcased a documentary this week on the Texas Board of Education meeting to decide what will and what would not be included in future textbooks for school children attending K through 12th grade. It was an eye opener to be sure.
First of all, this public meeting was opened by prayer. No such thing as the “separation of church and state” in this body of elected officials, most of whom seem to be Tea Party members doing their best to insert Creationism into the curriculum.
One of the members who was seeking the chairmanship believes that the world was created in 7 days and that Earth is no more than 10 thousand years old! How is that for “enlightenment”? He even went so far as to “create” a boat that represented Noah’s Ark which was to prove that yes, all species had enough space on this creation to withstand the “judgment of god” for ridding the world of sin. And he wasn’t alone in making this assertion.
The majority members of this assembly are from the Religious Right. Their overall goal is to bring the “word of god” into the classroom by arguing against science and evolution as merely a “theory”. Their votes would alter the current textbooks that would affect the nation at large and would be in effect until the year 2020 by which time scores of students would have been “indoctrinated” into the idea of “intelligent design” vs scientific truths. They succeeded.
But they didn’t stop there. Up next was the insertion of religious philosophy into history books. Thomas Jefferson was being replaced with the writings of John Calvin in explaining how America was founded on religious principles that are more in line with their personal beliefs. Students would be required to base their understanding of the Founding Fathers by embracing religion into political outcomes that are not represented by the Constitution.
The Texas State Board of Education is made up of elected officials. When the “favored” candidate for the chairmanship was defeated by two votes Gov. Rick Perry appointed another member who shared the same beliefs and who opened each meeting with a shout out to god for “guidance”. What is wrong with this picture?
The Tea Party movement is not simply confined to national campaigns. It is alive and doing quite well in places like Texas where they seem to have infiltrated a small group of elected officials determined to put their religious beliefs on display without fear. This is what “grass roots” and “states rights” represent when public forums take on the flavor of “old time religion” and prayer marks the opening of any assembly.
Watching these people with their eyes closed and arms raised to heaven as they call upon” god” reminded me of those who stood at attention giving the nazi salute as proof of their allegiance to a belief system that eventually overtook commonsense. I may be a bit “offbase” in my assumption but this attempt to foster religious theory in place of scientific proof left me unsettled.
It is more alarming to appreciate the fact that these are elected officials. They have a constituency out there who support their positions. And it is not confined to just this one state alone. In watching and listening to some elected members of congress who have emerged over the last few years these beliefs are finding their way into the public sector by way of proposed law. Just a few more sitting in these seats of power could have more dire consequences in years to come as the separation of church and state continues to dwindle under this form of ideology.
One cannot ignore the warning signs of this movement. They may not be a force in national elections as of now but they are gaining strength in local, regional and state elections where women’s issues and educational platforms have been infested with ideologues carrying bibles and fervor aimed at “the cause”.
The “cause” is the development of a Christian Nation and where better to begin than with the teachings provided by public school textbooks challenging the fundamentals of science with biblical renderings.
We are on the “road to ignorance” if policies continue to infuse the public sector. There is a well funded, highly supported “campaign” out there focused on doing just that.
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