Blogging the Social Studies Debate IV

9:20 – The State Board of Education will resume debate and amending proposed new social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools this morning. Board members are getting a short lesson on parliamentary procedure right now.

9:27 – The board is taking up remaining amendments on the high school world history course.

9:30 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with “the writings of”) and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson’s ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don’t buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar’s problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.

9:40 – We’re just picking ourselves up off the floor. The board’s far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America’s exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America’s Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.

9:45 – Here’s the amendment Dunbar changed: “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Here’s Dunbar’s replacement standard, which passed: “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau,  Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.” Not only does Dunbar’s amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history — Thomas Jefferson.

9:51 – Dunbar’s amendment striking Jefferson passed with the votes of the board’s far-right members and board member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas.

9:56 – Here is what the Library of Congress says about Jefferson’s influence: “Recognized in Europe as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson quickly became a focal point or lightning rod for revolutionaries in Europe and the Americas.” The Library of Congress notes, in particular, Jefferson’s influence on revolutionaries in France (including on the Declaration of the Rights of Man), other European nations, South America and Haiti.

10:06 – Dallas board member Mavis Knight, who is African-American, speaks with passion about suggestions by some board members that social studies classrooms should emphasize how race relations in the United States have improved. Those other board members, Knight says, haven’t lived her 64 years as an African-American woman in this country and have no idea what that has been like. Her comments come in a discussion about whether a standard noting Congressional Medal of Honor winners should include a list of possible examples of medal recipients. Board member Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi had proposed an ethnically diverse list of medal recipients. The board’s conservatives oppose such a list.

10:21 – Board members vote to reject a list of possible names of Medal of Honor recipients.

10:56 – At this pace, we’ll be surprised if the board finishes its debate of the standards before mid-afternoon (or even later).

11:16 – The board is taking up high school U.S. government now.

11:21 – Board member Barbara Cargill wants to insert a discussion of the right to bear arms in a standard that focuses on First Amendment rights and the expression of various points of view. This is absurd. If they want students to study the right to bear arms, at least try to find an appropriate place in the standards for it. This is yet another example of politicians destroying the coherence of a curriculum document for no reason other than promoting ideological pet causes. Republican board member Bob Craig of Lubbock is suggesting a better place for such a standard. But the amendment passes anyway. The board’s far-right faction is simply impervious to logic.

11:30 – Board member Pat Hardy notes that elsewhere the standards already require students to study each of the freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. No one seems to care.

11:33 – Bob Craig tries, once again, to talk some sense into these folks. Board member Cynthia Dunbar argues that the original standard’s focus on the rights of “petition, assembly, speech, and press in a democratic society” unfairly emphasizes the First Amendment over others. She suggests taking that out altogether if the Second Amendment isn’t included. Board member Ken Mercer argues that the right to bear arms is too important not to include here. But it IS included in the standards. The purpose of the original standard is to have students understand the rights to free expression in a democratic society. The right to bear arms is not relevant to that purpose.

11:40 – We wonder why they wouldn’t include the freedom of religious expression in this amendment instead of the right to bear arms.

11:44 – Actually, the formal vote on including the right to bear arms in this amendment is occurring now. The earlier vote was on a different version.

11:45 – It passes.

11:46 – These board members clearly haven’t got a clue how to craft a curriculum document that’s streamlined, coherent and focused. They are far more interested in seeding the standards with whatever ideological pet causes they have. Pity the students and teachers of Texas for the foolishness they must endure.

11:59 – Board member Ken Mercer suggests this standard: “understand how government taxation and regulations can serve as restrictions to private enterprise.” Bob Craig points out that the amendment is misplaced. It is — the section in which it would be inserted deals with government policies on “science, technology and society,” not “private enterprise.” Moreover, would Mercer object to a standard that discusses how taxation and regulation can be a benefit in some circumstances? We doubt it. Perhaps he doesn’t consider that when he drinks an unpolluted glass of water.

12:03 – Mercer moves his movement to a section on the economy. It passes.

12:04 – The current standards draft currently refer to the economic system that exists in the United States as “free enterprise (capitalist, free market).” Mercer offers an amendment to strike out “(capitalist, free market)” in the standards and leave just “free enterprise.” The board’s far-right members have repeatedly complained (absurd) that “capitalism” is a negative term and, in any case, that state statute requires students to learn about the “free enterprise system.” Scholars on the curriculum teams had argued that “capitalism” and “free market” are commonly used terms in economics courses and everyday discourse. But Mercer and his allies on the board have this bizarre fetish with the words “free enterprise” over all others. Terri Leo: “I do think words mean things. . . . I see no reason, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia.” The woman is shameless. How dare she attack someone whose politics she doesn’t even know.

12:08 – Pat Hardy notes that the scholar who recommended that “capitalism” and “free market”  be used in the standards teaches at Texas A&M and is a Republican. He is “not some kind of crazy liberal,” she says.

12:11 – One is tempted to climb to the top of the Texas Education Agency building and shout: “These people have lost their minds.”

12:12 – Pat Hardy is calling out the board for its silliness and the suggestion that “capitalism” is a “nasty word.”

12:13 – Ken Mercer: I think capitalism is a good word, but academics don’t. Really? And where does he get that? This is a classic example of how some board members attack and smear without any facts.

12:15 – Guess what? It passes. The Texas State Board of Education has stricken from the standards references to “capitalism” and “free market” because the board’s right-wingers think “capitalism” is a negative term. The only permitted term for such an economic system will be “free enterprise.” We wouldn’t believe this if we hadn’t just watched it happen. This is so stupid it makes our head hurt.

12:28 – Board member Mavis Knight offers the following amendment: “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” Knight points out that students should understand that the Founders believed religious freedom was so important that they insisted on separation of church and state.

12:32 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar argues that the Founders didn’t intend for separation of church and state in America. And she’s off on a long lecture about why the Founders intended to promote religion. She calls this amendment “not historically accurate.”

12:35 – Knight’s amendment fails on a straight party-line vote, 5-10. Republicans vote no, Democrats vote yes.

12:38 – Let the word go out here: The Texas State Board of Education today refused to require that students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others. They voted to lie to students by omission.

Here was the amendment again: “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” And this board, on a vote of 10-5, said they don’t want Texas students to learn about this basic protection for the religious freedom of everyone in America.

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191 Comments

  1. Humilated by the celebrated ignorance in Texas.
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    > Now lets take a look at the results of anti-religious ideology

    > Cummunism (Athiest) “There is no God”, “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, many choices to choose from…
    > Mao’s Communist China –PRC– 1928-1987 76.7 Million people
    > The Soviet Gulag State 62 Million people
    > Nazi Germany’s Genocide 21 Million people

    Nazi Germany’s genocide? It is laughable to say it was anti-reglious, who were the targets of the genocide? “mine is right and yours is wrong and different” is not the same as ‘anti’. Either you have a very cynical agenda or you are incredibly under-educated. Your incorrect spelling does say bit about you.

    China? I suggest you learn some history. China has a long history of foreign intervention that impacted its society and its established non-Christian religions. It is a (greatly) more intense version of why our constitution forbids any state religion. http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/45466.htm

    Soviet Gulag? You have to ask why did the Russian revolution actually occur, how did these people rise to power? Who sanctioned what and why.

    BTW – did it not take until 1992 before the Vatican decided it was time to acknowledge that the earth (and other planets) do orbit the sun?

    Just think of the damage if just a handful of people bought into this type of anti-history, anti-reality, BS

  2. marc johnson
    Posted September 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    And you claim to be concerned over education Bawhb
    “Religions have caused most of the problems in this world” what an utterly uniformed statement.

    It is a statistical fact that indeed it is the total absence of religion that has caused most of the problems of this world.

    Let’s just take one example. State sanctioned murder or Religious wars. Scholars will cite the Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition and the Salem which hunts are at the top of this list.

    Crusades 58,000 — 133,000 lives
    Inquisition 32,000 lives
    Salem Which hunt 30,000 to 100,000 lives

    If we take the high end numbers we’re looking at 265,000. Just over a quarter million. So, tell ya what. Lets error on the side of extreme caution and make this number a full 1 million.

    No lets take a look at the results of anti-religious ideology

    Cummunism (Athiest) “There is no God”, “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, many choices to choose from…
    Mao’s Communist China –PRC– 1928-1987 76.7 Million people
    The Soviet Gulag State 62 Million people
    Nazi Germany’s Genocide 21 Million people

    The above numbers are not causalities of war but of straight up state sponsored murder.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills

    And then we have:
    Abortion in this country alone since 1973 — 35 Million people

    So 160 million from those three godless anti-religious “governments” alone. Not to mention the 2+ million from the killing fields of Cambodia under the communist Khmer Rouge.

    So 160 Million + 35 Million unborn children murdered in this country by such a disgusting Newspeak term of “choice” puts anit-religion, atheism right around the 200 million mark. And that was just in the last century alone.

    So, still think that religion is the cause of most of mankind’s problems.

  3. The Bawhb
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    The Religious Right, is SO wrong !

    Texas Board of Education (considering Texas education standards) re-writing history for their own benefit, is nothing but to promote THEIR ideals.

    As long as we do our work honestly and not hurt others, what does it matter if we believe in some invisible superman in the sky, who happens to have such a fragile ego so as to condemn people for not believing in him, no matter how good they might be?
    Doing the best I can do in all endeavors , not hurting our fellow human beings , being the stewards of this planet, that’s my religion.
    Religions have caused most of the problems in this world; I prefer not to be involved with them.

  4. kittyreporter
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Parents need to check their children’s history books to make sure important historical facts about the Constitution have not disappeared. It seems many candidates during this election season across the country (Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Glen Urquhart and more) do not think separation of church and state is a part of the Constitution. This kind of revisionist history is a danger to democracy. Historians across the country need to speak out and take action to protect children and teens from sanitized perverted versions of history.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    the primary point is that they have removed the teaching of the fundamental principles of what makes us Americans.

  6. Posted August 10, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    We have an interesting debate going on this topic at the following link:

    http://www.surveymagnet.com/2010/07/does-separation-of-church-and-state-really-exists/

    Come join the discussion

  7. Carol Buchanan
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I read Kathy Miller’s editorial in our newspaper and was both amused and irritated by her hypocrisy.
    She rails against “promoting the personal and political agendas of elected state board members” when that is exactly what she is doing herself!
    I was also annoyed by the letters from out of state, some of which were possibly based on what has been put forth by the national media, which has an agenda sympathetic with Ms Miller’s. For example, the claim that Thomas Jefferson is being removed from the cirriculum, which is patently untrue!
    Some of the people leaving posts on this site have minimal knowledge of American History and of its Founders as their postings demonstrate. Perhaps they should research the textbooks they studied themselves by reading from original correspondence, etc..
    I am very far from a religious zealot, but I reserve my highest scorn for the typical and repeated misleading recitation of “the separation of church and state,” which is always used to try and get rid of any mention of or respect for religion.
    The spouters always omit the last part of the sentence about not allowing any bars to the free practice of religion, and they completely distort the meaning, which was to ensure that America had no national DENOMINATION of Christianity as they had in England.

    The only way to study American History adequately is to expand it to a required two years in high school. Until then, the sad reality is that some things will always have to be omitted, and that may mean some references to minorities.
    If teachers had more well prepared, more dilligent, and better behaved students, more subjects and more people could be covered. The standards and requirement for both behavior and knowledge has declined significantly in the last several decades.
    Where is the parental respnsibility? Is it their job to only produce offspring and send them off completely unprepared and unsupported?
    Kathy Miller’s organization should devote it’s time to improving the parental responsibility and involvement before it presumes to address textbooks.

  8. Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Reading the draft, with ‘tracking’ edits is breathtaking.

    http://best-pov.blogspot.com/2010/05/proposed-revisions-to-19-tac-chapter.html

  9. Jackmo
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    And as to the teaching of American exceptionalism I might observe that if you have to teach it, it does not exist. America is exceptional, or has been historically, by virtue of its deeds, accomplishments, and attitudes. Lately, the luster has been tarnished, and Americans find themselves and their nation suffering a crisis of self-esteem. We are heavily in debt to China ( the only country in recent history who has threatened us with nuclear weapons), many of us are out of work, and we have no industry to speak of with over 65% of the GDP assigned to 6 multinational banks. There is good reason to feel bad. But merely extolling past virtues in the face of obvious failure can lead only to cynicism.

    Emphasis on virtues of the free enterprise system might be useful as long as the teaching includes treatment of the consequences of unbridled greed – export of our manufacturing, our jobs, and investment capital for the enrichment of a handful of multinational corporations. The innovation and risk-taking that built America and a thriving economy still exist, but the innovators cannot get a loan to build their industry because the banks are investing in China, and the risk-taking is limited to casino gambling on Wall Street – though there is not much risk in betting on failure of investments structured to fail. This is the state of our free-enterprise system.

  10. Jackmo
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    illuvatar11 : I think you need to crack a history book too – maybe one not endorsed by the Texas BOE. Of course, many of the founders were Christian of various denominations. But the Constitution itself, nor any supporting documents even mention “Christian.” Had you actually studied history you would know more about the philosophical foundations of our Republic. Some of the founders did favor a national church and greater formalization of religion in government — they were overruled in no small part because they could not agree on which church. They decided it best to simply guarantee religious freedom and leave it at that. Why is it that religious zealots seem to require institutionalization of their worship in order to feel comfortable praying? Jesus observed in the Pharisees a significant weakness in that they required an audience for their elaborate prayer. A drive down any street past the large number of houses of worship is evidence that we are a nation of faiths — many of them. I am of a Christian faith myself and though I greatly admire Jesus and his teachings, I don’t like his fan clubs.

  11. In Your Face Radio
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully DONE!! … We knew the legislatures in Arizona, Alaska and Texas were morons, we just had no idea to what extent.
    Now we know. We’ll see how insane Kentuckians are in Nov.
    Hope you don’t mind that we reposted this on our site … we gave you the by!!
    GOOD JOB and thanks again

  12. John Paul
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    another generation in peril due to the fact their parents and teachers failed to prepare them for the world as it is, we need another cultural revolution in this country to repel this type of skank attitude

  13. Posted May 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    By what reason does “Reason” lead to self-sacrifice of one’s personal interest?

    Love and the Spirit transcends Reason.

    Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding Father of our country said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

    The very first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, said, “Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.”

    President, John Adams, said,
    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.”

    GW-
    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest prop of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge in the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle… Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?

  14. Jackmo
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    And why would the Texas BOE choose to put John Calvin into a textbook concerning American history? Calvinism had ZERO influence on the founding of the United States. The Founders were most influenced by ideas of the Age of Enlightenment (also cast onto the BOE scrap heap) than they were by any religion or religious figure. Jefferson was a Deist, believing in a Supreme Architect, but not in a supernatural God active in human affairs. Madison, often described as the Father of the Constitution, may have been more atheist or agnostic than anything else. Jefferson, I realize has been trashed — I don’t know how Madison fares in the revised textbook. But, to the religious zealots on the BOE I hate to break it to you, but the old U. S. of A. was not founded on religion but rather on REASON – an attribute that seems to be in short supply among the Texas BOE.

  15. Jackmo
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    To Bobby: I see no evidence in the Spectator post that journalists are misrepresenting the actions of the Texas BOE — only non-specific, unsupported generalizations about motives and practices of liberals. Rewriting history to present a point of view has no justification. It is the same sort of propaganda used by totalitarian regimes throughout history to control attitudes and behavior of populations. (Read about Communist Russia, for example, or read Orwell’s 1984) If some historical treatment is thought to be “biased” or “unfair,” present research to correct it. Just opining that it presents someone, some institution, or a period of our history in a non-flattering light is insufficient reason to omit it from a textbook. The study of history is intended to help us learn from our past so as to avoid mistakes of the past and progress toward a better world for the future — not to make us look good.

  16. Jennifer McCormick
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I am very interested in following this. I was very upset to learn that not only had this change been made by deleting Thomas Jefferson and Enlightenment from the text books and denying children in schools a “full” education, but was equally disappointed to learn that creationism was now being taught in our public schools as well. Very troubling.

  17. Bobby
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    What Texas’s elected state board of education has done is being completely misrepresented by some “journalists”, intentionally in many cases. For those interested in the truth please read this: http://spectator.org/archives/2010/05/19/how-dare-you-teach-conservatis/

  18. David, Tampa
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, The term “one nation under God”, when referring to the United States is using the Lord’s name in vain. It may even qualify as blasphemy.
    We represent 5% of the world’s population, while we are responsible for 50% of the worlds military spending. We cause a “9/11” somewhere, almost every day.
    We use robots and drones to blow neighborhoods sky high while the operators are thousands of miles away in air conditioned safety.
    Around 35,000 people in our country are killed either by people they know, or suicide. They are usually killed by a coward with a gun.
    Millions have no health care. Millions more have sub-standard health care. Insurance companies in their ivory towers siphon of at least 30% of our health care dollar for no return.
    Millions of people work long hours for poverty wages as their bosses live in unimaginable luxury.
    (minimum wage is cheaper than slavery in 1830)
    We allow our associates, relatives, and boyfriends, to have sex with our kids and then pretend that there are strangers lurking to cause this carnage. (Rape is OK if she is wearing a short skirt)
    Our working class is crushed under unavoidable taxes as the privileged from birth pay nothing. Many wealthy finish paying their social security taxes at 9:15 on January 2nd and say they are abused.
    We spend the Sabbath with Wal-Mart, Nascar, the NFL, NBA, or MLB.
    We have Covet so bad (Thy neighbor’s Hottie, Thy neighbor’s McMansion, Thy neighbor’s Silverado) that we ruined the mightiest economy on the planet.
    So just keep it up with the pledge people! Try not to be shocked when The Lord Jesus shows up with Arch-Angel Michael and his legions of Angels right behind him to destroy us. They may let the Amish live. But all of us pay per view, mega church going hypocrites are in deep do do. We can have all of the faith in the world, but if we don’t obey the rules, you and I are doomed.

  19. Posted May 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Rev. Wolsey, for your comments, as well as ne. Two Christian organizations in Dallas approved a statement focused on how we believe that the changes to the standards are an abomination to our faith. We support the separation of church in state because we believe that a small group of people who call themselves Christian can otherwise take over and oppress all of those of faith along with those who are not. http://dacpa.blogspot.com/p/texas-social-studies-standards.html

  20. JD
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    As a teacher in Texas, downtown Dallas to be exact, I am humiliated by the agenda being pushed. However, I resent the comments about Republicans pushing their agenda. The fact is, EVERYONE is pushing THEIR agenda. We should be pushing for educated children, but that, unfortunately, is becoming less and less important. I say teach them everything and let them think for themselves. Isn’t that what good teachers and/or parents want, for children to be able to think and do for themselves?

  21. Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    As a Christian conservative, but not crazy, Texas Republican, I am appalled at the actions taken by the TSBE. They are the kind of people giving the rest of us intelligent fiscal conservatives a bad name. To take Thomas Jefferson from the text is unbelievable; and aside from developing what is now the Presbyterian denomination, John Calvin has little to offer national history.

  22. Dana Little
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    But this is where it gets tricky.

    “Religious test” could be interpreted to pertain to whether one is a member a sect, specific church, system of belief, etc.

    This seems different, in my mind, than saying that ideas and philosophies about life and its meaning and structure that may be derived from or incorporated in different belief systems or “churches” or “religions”, are out of bounds.

    The anti-slavery movement was often driven by Christian enthusiasts, for example. Their religion drove them.

    I merely make the point that since Article 6 of the US Constitution says the states are bound by its foundational authority then the first amendment is not just a federal mandate. It applies to the states with equal degree. Free exercise of religious therefore must be the rule, forever outside the federal and state governments to impair or enhance.

  23. MMC
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    But this is where it gets tricky.

    “Religious test” could be interpreted to pertain to whether one is a member a sect, specific church, system of belief, etc.

    This seems different, in my mind, than saying that ideas and philosophies about life and its meaning and structure that may be derived from or incorporated in different belief systems or “churches” or “religions”, are out of bounds.

    The anti-slavery movement was often driven by Christian enthusiasts, for example. Their religion drove them.

  24. Dana Little
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Article 6 of the United States Constitution says in part;

    …this Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    So, under article 6 of the United States constitution the first amendment IS the surpreme law of the land and cannot therefore be impaired by the states.

  25. maestra
    Posted March 27, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Leaving Thomas Jefferson out of the study of great political thinkers is like leaving Moses out of the bible. Would the right wing religious fanatics like the bible to be “revised”? I think not. History is history, whether you agree or not politically. We cannot remove the effects of Nazism on history just because we disagree with it… it happened. Thomas Jefferson influenced the world with regard to politics and was responsible for sharing democratic ideals with the world. “Enlighten” the students of Texas (and possible the US) please!

  26. Posted March 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Somehow “archives.gov” was left out-
    Sorry about that-

  27. Posted March 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    To read for yourself a transcript of “The Constitution of the United States” and “Declaration of Independence”
    Go to where you’ll also find Bill of Rights, Amendments (1-10) and (11-27)
    Also interesting to read Lincoln’s 1853 Emancipation Proclamation- its not what we were told
    Lincoln’s proclamation made it illegal to work as a slave, but only in rebel states, not in border states.
    In a sense he “fired” them, not unlike when GM lays their workers off- they’re free to go too, but go where?

  28. Roger Wolsey
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    It should also be remembered that just as important in this situation is the Constituation of the State/Republic of Texas. Most states in the U.S. have crafted their constitutions in large part upon the basis and modeling of the U.S. Constitution. And, similarly, precedent that may have been established in Texas’ court system will be important to consider here.

  29. B. Johnson
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I am an outsider who may not understand this Texas educational situation correctly. If that proves to be the case then please accept my apology for this post. But if I do have a grip on this situation then the following information is being volunteered so that Texans can consider dismissing the current members of the Texas Board of Education from their jobs.

    To begin with, “former” Klansman Justice Hugo Black cherry-picked Jefferson’s famous “separation of church and state” words in the Everson opinion, IMO, to rob the states of their power to regulate religion. More specifically, Justice Black ignored that Jefferson’s reply to the Danbury Baptist Association was addressing 1st A. prohibited federal power to regulate religion, not 10th A. protected state powers to regulate religion.

    Before I go on, note that although state power to regulate religion might sound evil, it is the same power that permits states to authorize religious teaching, like Creationism for example, to be taught in public schools. But let’s not forget that this power is now limited by the honest interpretation of the 14th Amendment, not the USSC’s perversions of that amendment. More on this later.

    Getting back to Jefferson ideas, here’s the real Jefferson’s stance on state power to regulate religion, as opposed the atheist Jefferson created by special-interest justices. Jefferson had actually acknowledged state power to regulate religion on at least three occasions.

    “3. Resolved that it is true as a general principle and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the constitution that ‘the powers not delegated to the US. by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people’: and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the US. by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, & were reserved, to the states or the people…” –Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions, 1798. http://tinyurl.com/oozoo

    “In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken on no occasion to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State or Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.” –Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural Address, 1805. ME 3:378 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/jefinau2.asp

    “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808. http://tinyurl.com/nkdu7

    So why did Justice Black take Jefferson’s word out of context? Evidently anti-religious expression justices had been looking for an excuse to argue that the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on federal power to regulate religion applied to the states. Unfortunately, PC perversions of the 14th A. gave them an excuse to argue this point.

    In fact, here’s an excerpt from the Cantwell opinion which clearly expresses this idea.

    “The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect.” –Mr. Justice Roberts, Cantwell v. State of Connecticut 1940. http://tinyurl.com/38a87c

    But there is a MAJOR problem with Justice Owen Roberts’ application of the 1st A.’s prohibition on federal government religious powers to the states via the 14th Amendment. More specifically, John Bingham, the main author of Sec. 1 of the 14th A., had officially clarified to his colleagues in the HoR that the 14th A. did not take away state powers.

    “The adoption of the proposed amendment will take from the States **no rights** (emphasis mine) that belong to the States.” –John Bingham, Appendix to the Congressional Globe http://tinyurl.com/2rfc5d

    “**No right** (emphasis mine) reserved by the Constitution to the States should be impaired…” –John Bingham, Appendix to the Congressional Globe http://tinyurl.com/2qglzy

    “Do gentlemen say that by so legislating we would strike down the rights of the State? God forbid. I believe our dual system of government essential to our national existance.” –John Bingham, Appendix to the Congressional Globe http://tinyurl.com/y3ne4n

    In fact, Justice Reed had officially noted the following about the 10th and 14th Amendmnets. Justice Reed noted that is the job of judges to balance 10th A. protected state powers with 14th A. protected personal federal rights.

    “Conflicts in the exercise of rights arise and the conflicting forces seek adjustments in the courts, as do these parties, claiming on the one side the freedom of religion, speech and the press, guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and on the other the right to employ the sovereign power explicitly reserved to the State by the Tenth Amendment to ensure orderly living without which constitutional guarantees of civil liberties would be a mockery.” –Justice Reed, Jones v. City of Opelika, 1942. http://tinyurl.com/yvtqoy

    Again, renegade justices evidently invented a Hollywood, atheist-type Jefferson, based on taking Jefferson’s famous separation words out of context, so that they could rob the states of their power to regulate, actually cultivate, religious expression.

    Again, if I understand this Texas situation correctly, given that I’ve got my ducks in a row with respect to the information above, present members of the Texas Board of Education may need to make sure that their resumes are up-to-date.

  30. Charles
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I think Colonel Jessep must have been the Head Master at Randy’s school:

    Jessep: You want answers?

    Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.

    Jessep: You want answers?

    Kaffee: I want the truth!

    Jessep: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

    We use words like honor, code, loyalty…we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

    Kaffee: Did you order the code red?

    Jessep: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.

    Kaffee: Did you order the code red?

    Jessep: You’re GD right I did!!

    You see. Colonel Jessep did not provide that freedom. Thomas Jefferson did. The soldiers—God Bless Them—have helped us keep it. I have never known one like Colonel Jessep. I suspect he never provided anything.

  31. MMC
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    RANDY-

    I’d be interested in where you went to school and when.

    It seems to me that Jefferson should be the representative of American freedom philosophers, if one had to choose one man.

    Who else?

  32. Posted March 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m actually surprised Thomas Jefferson was mentioned as a philosopher. When I was in school he was regarded as a hypocritical, white, slave-owning, plagiarist of Robert Locke. [sigh] I noticed that they have Thomas Aquinas in there. That is a very cool tie-in to some deep philosophical ideas which go all the way back to Aristotle and the roots of Western culture. I remember from when I was in high school that the history textbooks acted as though the world started during the Age of Enlightenment…

  33. Posted March 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I’d call this time in mankind’s history, this abdominal mess, The Age of Genocide
    Read http://www.genocideorigins.blogspot.com and Google “Solar Mortality Theory for more
    To see what’s just up ahead 2010/11 Google “Mortgage Resets” Its already written…..

  34. Posted March 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    In the broad view of man’s history it could be divided into 3 basic premises based on man’s releation to his environment
    1. Primitive man where the thrust of society was to adapt oneself to fit into environment- served us well for millenia
    2.Western man where the thrust of society has been to gain control of environment. (not doing such a good job- too many of us)
    3.Control man where the thrust of society has been to gain control of mankind. (hence communism, socialism, fascism)
    Reason for control is basic management 101- For efficient operations some controls are req’d but too many & it all unraveles
    Plot a curve of performance against controls and you get a bell shaped curve. No regulation controls & it all unravels, too.
    So the extremes of BOTH right wing and left wing put us at the wrong ends of the control curve, where all unravels
    Problem is we are becoming a society of HAVE-NOTS and HAVE-MORES with nothing in between where EFFICIENCY is best
    EFFICIENCY will be the watchword of the 21st century. W/o a middle class society will become INEFFICIENT as intelligent
    workers are req’d to run a modern society efficiently- That is disapearing and education system is MOST important now.

  35. Charles
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Linda:

    What slays me is my female barber. She thinks Obama must be the worst President we have ever had “…because of all of the bad things so many people are saying about him.” That’s a quote. Notice the absence of a self-formulated opinion based on her own research and a personal evaluation of information and data. These are the kind of people who elected the Texas SBOE.

    The reason all of this is happening is really fairly simple. Go look at human intelligence and a bell curve. We live in a society and world where Aaron Copland’s common man is lost, confused, and overwhelmed by things that he both DOES NOT understand and CANNOT understand. This is why Sarah Palin is so popular. The common man longs for a dumb butt national figure “JUST LIKE ME” to be President and calm him/her down by proving to him/her that everything is not lost, confused, and overwhelming—that things have not progressed beyond his ability to fathom.

    The sad news is that they have progressed that far beyond the average or lower-end man.. We live in a society run by an intellectual and technological elite that has created a world that only they understand and fathom—and they have made it be not just their world—but everyone else’s world too. It is just like the words in the old Elton John song Rocket Man, “And all the science I don’t understand. It’s just my job five days a week.”

  36. mmc
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    “All the labels we tend to get too attached to have long withered in irrelevance.”

    Then why do you use a phrase like “power elite?”

    Well, you may have some point there. What phrase would you use? Or perhaps you deny the presence of such as thing as some type of elitist mentality, and that birds of that feather tend to flock together.

    The banksters, corporatists, certain academics, media owners and stars, the governmental figures at the top have long ago amalgamated into a semi-coherent force, where the points of contention are how to keep those who are not part of the club, excluded. Because the elite know better what is good for them, of course.

    Today as I see it we have

    A lot of Communism/Socialism- where the state controls many things

    A lot of Corporatism- where corporations control a lot of things, including much of the government with their “regulators” coming from industry and going back into industry when they are done, as well as the day to day life of people and “culture”.

    Some fascism, where government own or controls corporations- GM, for one, but in a larger sense, where government regulations and world trade agreements control what corporations can do.

    Banksterism, whereby through the printing of money out of thing air [aka fractional reserve banking"], and other means, bankers have the cities, states and nations on the point of bankruptcy, as well as corporations, homes, farms.

    So what would we call this abominable mess?

  37. Linda
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    What slays me is when Obama is called a communist, a socialist and a facist. The morons don’t realize that to be one of those three excludes the other two. They are not the same.

  38. Posted March 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    What can you expect coming out of the state of insanity in Texas. Their hairbrain Gov. has talked of secession, forgeting that over 600 thousand men gave there lives to save this Union. Fortunately, I do not have any children in school, but it will be a grave error if we the citizen of this great country allow those self righteous, pistol packing fools to remove one of America’s greatest leaders to instill their own narrow minded unenlightened views. They are willing to allow ideology and religion to rein supreme over science, facts and history. We need to take this precious and priceless authority to rewrite history out of their hands and not allow them to doom all of our children into abject ignorance. If they want Texas to remain the leader in dropouts and low test results, then so be it.

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