Thursday, February 18, 2010

Believing what we are told, not!

Have you ever wondered who decides what goes into the text books our kids are taught in schools? I always thought it was a group of teachers maybe from all over the country who got together to do this monumental task, boy was I wrong. I came across an article on the web written by the New York Times that kind of opened my eyes a lot. The article "How Christian were the Founders?" was written about Conservative activists on the Texas Board of Education who say that the authors of the Constitution intended the United States to be a Christian nation. And they want America’s history textbooks to say so. Let me back up a little, The Texas Board of Education have the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, who submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years, and the text book companies tailor their books for what comes out of Texas. One of the members was a gentleman named Don McLeroy who proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of arch conservative political strong-arming. Now this guy is not a teacher, does not work in the education field at all, he is a dentist. He likes to read and has decided that his passion for history and his faith should help bring the Christian perspective that both governs his work on the state board and guides him in the current effort to adjust American-history textbooks to highlight the role of Christianity to the school children of America. For McLeroy, separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. “There are two basic facts about man,” he said. “He was created in the image of God, and he is fallen. You can’t appreciate the founding of our country without realizing that the founders understood that. For our kids to not know our history, that could kill a society. I'm sorry but I think this guy is full of bull! Yes I think our kids need to know our history (mainly so as not to repeat it) but I was taught the reason the people came to America was for religious freedom, maybe that was put in the books wrong also. How is it that we have one group of people, most who are on the christian conservative side who decides what our kids are taught in history? If religious view are going to color the history books shouldn't all religious views be taken into account?     Or maybe write the books from a purely historical account not mentioning the so and so was whatever religion. I will make some folks mad when I say that this process was probably how the Bible was put together also. A group of men, for I'm sure no women were allowed, got together and decided what books were to go in their holiest of books and the definition of Christianity. The Council of Nicaea got together (kind of like the Texas Board of Education) and drafted the consensus of Christendom. I understand that when a group wants to put a definition on who they are and what they believe in this is the process, we did the same for the Goddess Festival. But when something affects a nation(textbooks) or the whole world (bible) then you can't say that this is the only way history happened or the only way to believe. I'm not sure how to fix the problem of the text books and our family already treats the bible as a history book but I hope to give my kids a clear perception on history by reading autobiography's written by people in the time frame we are studying about. I am now climbing off my soapbox! Here is the link to the Texas article,


Nathan Gray said...

A few items to note before I put in my opinion. Firstly, a vast majority our founding Father's were acutaly Deists and Freemasons and not Christians at all. Anyone who argue that Masons are Christians are foolish to do so. Secondly, it is unfortuante that our country, however we want to dress it up, was indeed founded by puritanical people who sought religious freedom. Unfortunately.... as soon as they got it they turned around and began to exile and murder anyone who didn't follow their faith. I think because so many of the early colonies were founded upon Puritan Principles, America has grown up with those always in the back of the mind of our government.
As for my opinion, I agree wholeheartedly that putting a single group's spin on history is rediculous. Again, it is because Christians are the largest group and have the loudest voice. While I have no problem with anyone's faith, I have a problem when their faith tries to tell me I'm wrong or going to their version of the Next life. This is of course why so many alternative and/or Earth-based religions have been secretive for many many years.
If you want a great book that deals exactly whit this kind of topic, go get Lies My Teacher Told Me. Fantastic read.

Meridith Gray said...

That book is amazing, and I agree that our text books, particularly History books, are grossly biased. I always asked my teacher in 20th Century American History why our text book, published in like...2003 or something, ended 20th century American history with the Vietnam War and the Women's Lib movement? I guess the Cold War and the Gulf War were figments of our imaginations.