SBOE Rejects Religious Freedom in Standards

Today the Texas State Board of Education voted to reject an amendment to social studies curriculum standards that would require students to learn that the nation’s Founders “protected religious freedom by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” The party-line vote — 10 Republicans against and 5 Democrats in favor of the amendment — strips away any pretense that this board respects one of the most important freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Here is the exchange that just occurred on the board:

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.

This article was posted in these categories: church and state, Cynthia Dunbar, live blog, Mavis Knight. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a Comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


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15 Comments

  1. David
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Charlie, you’re obviously new to this discussion, please read more of our posts. We’re completely aware of the truth about the opinions of the founding fathers regarding the “separation of RELIGION and state”, which is covered in the establishment clause of the Constitution, (see Gene Garman’s posts), etc.

    As James Madison wrote:

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
    -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

    Education is and will be a vitally important part of our preserving not just our freedom but our very fragile civilization itself.
    We have to instill the joy of learning and the self-esteem that comes with proactive, personally directed reading, and of self-discipline, beyond just the “official” information, data, and skills we seek to “pump into” and “enforce” in children’s brains.

  2. Charlie
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I find it very unsettling that we citizens in the great state of Texas have elected such stupid people to our Board of Education. Although I should say I am not surprised because we put up with this game of teaching the test to our children and then we end up with a generation of truly uneducated children. now Texas is doing it again with this new test call the STAR. I as a parent in this state as well as a former educator have dealt with this test prep and principal are so scared of losing their job because of test results, teacher are constantly being watch and checked on to make sure they are teaching the testing skills. There is never any time for the students to have fun with their education anymore. When is all of this silliness going to stop. Now they want to tell the student untruths in Social Studies. I really think all of this has come to the ten board members personal agendas, or they must be part of this new Tea Party group that has come to haunt our country because they would like to school have a more one sided religious view these days. People please get it through your heads our founding fathers were not all Christians as you all truthfully want to everyone to believe. Most of them did not even believe in a supreme being. That is why they were having so much trouble in England Also every society has had it skeleton in the closet I for one wold rather be honest with my children and students then to have then find out and then not trust me because I lied to them. Please bring back the truth that our country was founded on oh so many years ago.

  3. David
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Gene, allow me. Technically, the Constitution doesn’t mention “church and state”.
    Amber, the kooks on the SBOE are trying to insert a poison pill into the standards on their way out.
    They are theocrats. They want to replace our democracy with a totalitarian evangelical state.
    In my generation, we were well taught about American history and the Constitution and the conditions that led to the creation of the US.
    It’s not really something we can just leave up to parents. Our democracy needs educated citizens.
    The rights we hold come with a price, that is our civil responsibility.

  4. amber
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    This is a joke, right? just because there wasn’t an ammendment about seperation of church & state made to the social studies standard hardly means anything! I wasn’t “taught” about that either when in school…I didn’t realize i’d been lied “to by ommission” my whole life! Not really…it is an individuals responsibility to know their country, schools offer a breifing on the matter, but are hardly able to delve into the vast scope of every area…I SAY…PARENTS…if you want your kids to ponder the reasons why the founding fathers barred gov’t from building up or putting down any religion over the other, than sit down & do it with them! There are too many conclusions (historically accurate & completely ridiculous) that could come out of such a regulation. State the fact…”we have separation of church & state” , but leave the examining of why the founding fathers did that to the parents.

  5. PatsyT
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t this mean that churches will have to start paying taxes ?

  6. Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Charles: I’m not deending these idiots, but technically the Amendment simply removed a statement from the standards, so they can’t be accused of lying. I would rather see a group of ministers — better, small groups targeting specific area newspapers — taking out ads pointing out the historic support separation has received, specifically because it protects not just non-Christian religions and non-believers, but that it also protects specific Christian groups that have faced persecution and discrimination in the past.

    They might quote the list of ministers who testified against the first bill to bring back school prayer that had hearings held in Congress. They might also point out that the recent Repent Amarillo story included a map where specifically Christian churches were targeted as foci for ‘demonic influences.’

  7. Charles
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    David: “Burn her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Ay Yap.

  8. David
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Education is being assaulted from every direction. This is very important. Our survival depends on across the board national education standards that not just teachers and school districts should be responsible for but parents and each individual person.
    That includes K-12 and college for anyone who’s up to the challenge, but also life-long learning by each of us. Learning and education is always what makes life less of a needlessly difficult struggle.
    Not only do I care about my neighbor, but I don’t want them dragging me down with their problems, and I don’t want to drag them down. We live on a crowded planet and we affect one another’s lives.
    We learn, we discover, we remember, beginning with not walking into that door, or touching the lit burner on the stove. Let’s remember where science and history come from and the fact that they are fundamentally human endeavors.
    It’s incredible that people would be against that. Mindboggling.

  9. Charles
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    There is a different solution here.

    Nearly every Texas attorney that attended a “real law school” knows that this is a flat-out lie that the SBOE is perpetrating here. The appropriate way to fight back is for TFN to get the signatures of 1000s of Texas lawyers on a petition specifically stating that they are propagating a lie. These lawyers would be of all political and religious persuasions. Have them sign a petition to that effect and publish it as a full page advertisement in each of the major metropolitan newspapers in Texas. You cannot just stand still and allow this sort of insanity and inanity. You have to take action and be loud about it.

    For those of you who are religious. Now that the Republican Primary is over with the disasterous results for the right wing faction on the SBOE now being obvious, Satan knows that his time is short—as the Bible says. He feels urgency. Anything that is destructive of the truth must be committed to now by the right wing faction on the SBOE. This thing that the SBOE just approved is only a small example of the force of evil attempting desperately to have its way before Jesus imprisons it for a while.

  10. David
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry, Bill. They’ll lose in the end. However, it may be a mess for a while.

  11. Bill Rubink
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It is idiotically wise of MS Dunbar to recognize that history is a pack of lies, written by the victors, and that only through religion can we know and understand the truth. The existence of such a preponderance of sages on the SBOE is a reflection of the similarly erudite electorate. Viva idiocy in Texas! Long live the ostrich! Long live the Texas theocracy! (There are other places to live.)

  12. Dave
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    And I thought we had it bad here in Ontario with a state sponsored Catholic school board. Good luck down there, the debate is appallingly surreal!

  13. Fair and Balanced
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Oooh! Ooooh! Does this mean Texas kids can learn that Islam should be favored over all other religions? Or Scientology? Or Wiccan? What these idiots have unleashed . . .

  14. Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    And the Soviet-style historical revisionism of TX Republicans marches on, ensuring the next generation cannot be any smarter than these narrow-minded bigots.

  15. David
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    This fight isn’t over. Even after we get new people in there the responsible adults will have a fight on its hands.

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