As David Barton helps guide the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools, it’s important to keep his agenda in mind. In fact, that agenda will be the focus of a conference for right-wing legislators Barton’s organization, WallBuilders, is hosting Nov. 5-8 in Dallas.
WallBuilders hopes to draw lawmakers from states around the country to its ProFamily Legislators Conference. The event’s speakers and session topics are all geared toward promoting Barton’s agenda: basing our nation’s laws and society on a fundamentalist Protestant interpretation of the Bible. The WallBuilders Web site promises that lawmakers will get “a fresh perspective on the historical application of Scripture to public policy-making with a deeper look into what the Bible says about current issues.”
Of course, Barton squares his interpretation of the Bible with his conservative politics generally. For example, he has argued that the Bible forbids progressive taxation and labor laws. So no one should be surprised that the conference promotes other conservative goals with biblical justifications. Indeed, Barton plans to address lawmakers on issues such as “God and the Constitution” and “Biblical positions” on marriage and no-fault divorce. (Apparently, the religious right sees no problem with trivializing the Bible by presenting it as almost a partisan political platform or a justification for one.)
Other conference speakers (mostly Republican officeholders and leaders of far-right pressure groups) will lecture about the usual conservative and “culture war” issues, such as:
- “The Islamization of American Textbooks”
- “A Biblical View of Socialism and Ethical Capitalism”
- “Protecting Students’ Rigths on Liberal Campuses”
- “The Case for Marriage” (for heterosexuals, anyway)
- “Conscience Protection and Sanctity of Life” (including addressing “the issue of health care rights of conscience and ways that they may be preserved against the current federal efforts to remove those rights”)
The WallBuilders Web site offers testimonials, including this one from Dan Flynn, R-Van, of the Texas House of Representatives:
“This is the most informative conference I have attended since being elected to serve. It is the only conference that my wife and I attended every session. . . Being an elected official can be lonely. Attending the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference empowers you when you see so many legislators from other states that share the same faith-based, Godly worldview you have.”
And here is what Sally Kern — the rabidly homophobic queen of Oklahoma right-wing legislators — had to say after her attendance at a past conference:
“If you care about legislating from a Judeo-Christian worldview, then this is the best conference you will ever attend.”
The message is clear: if you don’t share the particular religious beliefs of the folks at this conference, then you’re not part of their vision for America. And that’s the agenda David Barton wants to promote in Texas public schools.