Texas Textbooks Get Some Improvements, But Problems Remain, Say Critics

Dec 2, 2014

By Americans United for Separation of Church & State

A watchdog group said recently that the Texas State Board of Education has rejected some of the most problematic proposed changes to the state’s public school social studies textbooks, but attempts to force religious ideas into the curriculum remain a serious threat.

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN), an Americans United ally, has long monitored the controversy surrounding public school textbooks in Texas. Many times, creationists and others with a far-right agenda have tried to force fundamentalist dogma into the public school curriculum by suggesting various changes to statewide materials. (See “Erasing Separation?,” November 2014 Church & State.)

Fortunately many of those efforts fell short once again. As reported by TFN in October, textbook publishers told state education officials that they intend to make corrections that include addressing misinformation about the term “jihad,” removing a claim that implies Islam spread only through violence and making it clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the American Civil War.

But, TFN said, some textbooks, which will be used next year, still overstate the influence of evangelical Christianity during the founding period of the United States.


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10 comments on “Texas Textbooks Get Some Improvements, But Problems Remain, Say Critics

  • ” But, TFN said, some textbooks, which will be used next year, still overstate the influence of evangelical Christianity during the founding period of the United States. ”

    Talk about understatement. You can’t overstate something that did not even exist in the Romantic/Enlightenment era.



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  • “These textbooks make Moses the original founding father and credit
    him for virtually every distinctive feature of American government,”
    South­ern Methodist University history professor Kathleen Wellman said
    in a TFN news release. “I believe students will believe Moses was the
    first American.”

    Wasn’t Moses banished from the Promised Land to which he had led his backsliding Israelites, and sentenced to wander the desert until his death? That would make him more like Benedict Arnold. 😉



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  • Kristine

    Wasn’t Moses banished from the Promised Land

    Yeah, and for one of the lamest transgressions of the whole Torah (especially considering Moses’ importance). This is the first website I clicked on to explain the episode and it’s a religious website.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Moses-promised-land.html

    Question: “Why was Moses not allowed to enter the Promised Land?”

    Answer: In Numbers 20:8, the Lord told Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” Numbers 20:9-11 records Moses’ response: “So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as He commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” The Lord was displeased with Moses’ actions: “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Numbers 20:12).

    What did Moses do that warranted such a severe penalty from the Lord? First, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had commanded Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. Second, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses says, “Must we [referring to Moses and Aaron] bring you water out of this rock?” Moses took credit for the miracle himself, instead of attributing it to God. Third, Moses committed this sin in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished. Fourth, it seems that God had intended to present a type of Christ in this circumstance. The water-giving rock is used as a symbol of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. The rock was struck once in Exodus 17:6, just like Christ was crucified once (Hebrews 7:27). Moses’ speaking to the rock in Numbers 20 was to be a picture of prayer; instead, Moses angrily struck the rock, in effect, crucifying Christ again. His punishment for disobedience, pride, and the misrepresentation of Christ’s sacrifice was that he was barred from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Moses-promised-land.html#ixzz3KoRDszxW



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  • Mozes was a later (Babylonian) invention of the Bible writers; in the proto-Deuteronomium of 622 BC Jahweh did all the work himself
    It is unbelievable that today adults still believe in magicians waving a wand



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  • Ryan1306 Dec 3, 2014 at 1:12 am

    He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.”

    If there is any historical basis for this at all, it is likely that they raided some desert tribes water cistern. http://www.yale.edu/egyptology/ae_tundaba_cistern.htm

    The Lord was displeased with Moses’ actions:

    The local Lord or chief, along with the local tribe, would no doubt be displeased with wanderers helping themselves to their water!



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  • hisxmark Dec 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    There is no historical basis for any of the Exodus narrative.

    I agree, – but I was thinking of the historical basis for the author’s ideas for the story and any incident he might have plagiarized or exaggerated.
    The only credible practical way of poking a rock to get water in the desert, is breaking into someone’s rock-carved cistern or a blocked off spring.
    I can think of a few modern religious charlatans who would pull a stunt like that and declare it a “miracle”!

    Its a bit like the Noah flood myth.
    There is evidence of the 1750 BC local flood-story they copied an exaggerated garbled version from!
    http://blog.britishmuseum.org/2014/01/24/was-the-ark-round-a-babylonian-description-discovered/



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  • Let it be known! There is no evidence, archeological or otherwise, that Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt, there is no evidence at all except myths in books of questionable and unestablished origin (Tora and Old Testament) that the Jews ever were in Egypt. Likewise, there is no evidence of the existence of Moses. The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. It is a fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom (not capitalised).



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  • I have been curious about one claim in these stories for some time now. Texas (it says) is the biggest market for textbooks in the U.S. How is that possible ? Big physically, but I must have missed the memo about population. According to Wikipedia, California is much more populous. 38M versus 26M, which is almost 50% bigger. Different childbirth rates wouldn’t make up that much, I suspect.



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  • Please show us outside of the Bible where Moses or any other non government person is found in recorded history. Other then kings and government leaders no people in the Bible are found in recorded records. Wouldn’t you think that the troubles these people caused that their names would be written down somewhere? Yet Texas and a few others think our children should be taught these fairy tails in school as history



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