Oxymorons

Doctrinaire Texas morons are turning “Texas education” into an oxymoron.

A handful of ultra-right-wing nutcases have taken over the elected overseer of Texas educational policy, the Texas Board of Education, and they’re hell-bent (entendre intended) to replace authentic classroom education with their own brand of ideological indoctrination.

Their method of achieving this political goal is to rewrite the state standards that textbook publishers must follow to gain the lucrative contracts for providing teaching materials for every student in the state, from first grade through high school.  Their latest exercise in ideological propaganda are guidelines for history, government, economics and sociology textbooks.

Jefferson was removed from the list of revolutionary political thinkers from the Enlightenment period.  Yes, that’s right; the prime author of our Declaration of Independence disappeared – just like that!  Jefferson’s offense?  He created the phrase “separation of church and state.”  What better way to begin to delegitimize a fundamental principle of American government than to eliminate the man responsible.

Jefferson was replaced with a favorite of Christian fundamentalists, John Calvin.  Calvinism is the basis for theocratic fundamentalism.  He was followed by a more recent disciple R. J. Rushdooney and his theocratic biblical philosophy known as Reconstructionism.  Reconstructionism evolved into Dominionism, the ideology of most of today’s non-denominational evangelical religions.   Dominionism is well-represented in Longmont by such local churches a LifeBridge Christian Church and Rocky Mountain Christian Church.

Read Jim Hightower’s full commentary on the topsy-turvy revisionism that is the goal of current Republican conservatives.  Then don’t ring your hands.  Stand up and fight back.

[Here’s the article.]

Hightower: Just How Nutty is the Texas Board of Education?

By Jim Hightower, AlterNet
Posted on March 25, 2010, Printed on March 25, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/146156/

In the good-and-good-for-you department, food scientists are now touting the health benefits of enjoying a handful of nuts every day.

I, for one, am glad, because I love nuts — pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, you-name-’em. But my favorite nuts, by far, are the homegrown natives that have taken root in one particularly fertile area of my state: the Texas Board of Education. You just can’t get any nuttier than this bunch!

This board, little-known even to us Texans, has lately risen to national notoriety, making our state’s educational system a punch line for comedians everywhere. That’s because a handful of ultra-right-wing nutcases have taken over this elected overseer of Texas educational policy, and they’re hell-bent to supplant classroom education with their own brand of ideological indoctrination.

Their way of achieving this political goal is to rewrite the state standards that textbook publishers must follow to get the lucrative contracts for providing teaching materials for every student in the state, from first grade through high school.

Their latest exercise in ideological correctness comes at the expense of the social studies curriculum. They spent last week going through guidelines for history, government, economics and sociology textbooks, purging references that offend their doctrinaire sensibilities and substituting their own nutty biases and ignorance.

How nutty? Take Thomas Jefferson. They did! They literally did take Jefferson off a list of revolutionary political thinkers from the Enlightenment period, replacing him with a favorite of Christian fundamentalists, John Calvin. Thus, the prime author of our Declaration of Independence — poof — disappeared! Jefferson’s unpardonable transgression? He coined the term “separation between church and state.”

Any concepts that might spur progressive thoughts in young minds were also expunged. “Justice,” for example, was stripped from a list of virtues meant to teach grade-schoolers the characteristics of good citizenship. No doubt the board majority would love to get its hands on the Pledge of Allegiance’s assertion of “justice for all,” but luckily, the pledge doesn’t come under the members’ purview. Yet.

The nuts were able to strike “responsibility for the common good” from the citizenship characteristics list, however, and they just missed deleting the American ideal of “equality.” They also narrowly lost on a vote to impose a new requirement that students be taught that the civil rights movement created “unreasonable expectations,” but they did manage to balance the positive impact of Martin Luther King Jr. with an insistence that the “positives” of Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunt for commies and of Jefferson Davis’ secessionist government also be taught.

Likewise, the full-tilt rightists expelled Delores Huerta, the much-admired farm worker leader, from a list of “good citizenship” models, airily dismissing this courageous champion of justice as a socialist. On the other hand, they mandated that Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America be taught as historic icons of a “conservative resurgence” in America.

One especially delicious moment came when the board considered a listing of world leaders who fought political repression. On the list was Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who led an indigenous poor people’s movement in the 1980s before the country’s right-wing death squads assassinated him as he was celebrating mass.

The board cut Romero from the list, declaring that he lacked the stature of such other repression fighters as Gandhi. After all, one board member explained, unlike Gandhi, Romero had not had a movie made about his life, so how important could he’ve been? But — oops! — there was a popular 1989 feature film called “Romero” about the archbishop’s exemplary life. The board was embarrassed, but it axed him anyway.

Words were banned, too. The phrase “democratic societies,” for example was replaced by the cumbersome “societies with representative government.” And even the term “capitalism” was censored for having a negative connotation. Instead, the board decreed that “free enterprise” be used throughout all social studies courses. In addition, all references to the Age of Enlightenment were dropped, because … well, because these full-fledged political purists don’t want any concept based on reason getting into the heads of our school kids.

Texas education wasn’t that great before all this folderal, but these doctrinaire morons are turning “Texas education” into an oxymoron.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, “Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow.” (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly “Hightower Lowdown,” co-edited by Phillip Frazer.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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  5 comments for “Oxymorons

  1. M. Douglas Wray
    March 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    This is hilarious on its face – the wingnuts in Longmont QUOTE Jefferson routinely to shore up their pathetically-foolish arguments but in fact they’d rather people DIDN’T learn about him.

    So much for respecting the founders that they’re forever cawing about.

  2. March 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    It’s time to “segregate” or “secede” Texas. Sensible, intelligent states with large populations need to band together to thwart the economic impact of the Texas Board of Education. No single Board of Education should have the power to rewrite history and event their own “facts”.

  3. Anna
    March 27, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I think Jefferson and Calvin should both be included in the history textbook. I want the separation of church phrase included along with it’s context. If you read history, the phrase “separation of church and state” came from a letter that Jefferson wrote. Back in England there was a state church, the Church of England. The gov. was supposed to stay out of the church,as in no religious tests for office, and there wasn’t supposed to be a state church. Calvin needs to be included because he was significant in Puritan theology. The founding of Maryland, a cathollic colony and the first colony with religious liberty also needs to be included in the text book.

  4. March 28, 2010 at 11:14 am

    John Calvin was, and still is a significant figure in the worlds history. Calvin’s theology influenced many, including the Scottish Presbyterians, and American Evangelists such as Whitfield, Finney, and a host of others.

    Calvin should be included, with all of his rough bark attached. Few know that Calvin and his followers burned heretics at the stake.

    In October of 1553, Michael Servitus, non-Trinitarian and anti – infant baptism exponent, scientist, scholar was burned at the stake at the behest of John Calvin.

    Calvin said in regard to heretics “Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.”

    Calvin’s followers, including the English Puritans and Separatist, destroyed the Pequot Nation during the Pequot War, 1634-1638. At one point, the Calvinists fell upon an Indian village, and at the Massacre of Mystic, burned the village, roasting alive old men, women and children.

    Even the “savages” were astounded at the way in which the English conducted the war. Justifying his actions, Puritan militia leader John Mason is quoted as saying “the attack against the Pequot was the act of a God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies.” Mason insisted that any Pequot attempting to escape the flames should be killed. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Pequot resident at Mystic that day only seven survived to be taken prisoner while another seven escaped to the woods.

    The war ended with the remaining Pequot’s sold into slavery to overseers in Bermuda.

    This information is readily available in Sara Vowell’s “The Wordy Shipmates,” John Calvin’s’ notes and letters, as well as other sources.

    Yes, John Calvin and his followers should be presented in our history books – with the bark on.

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