Cynthia Dunbar

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/26/13

Barber: The Boy Scouts Have 'Committed Gay Activist Suicide'

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber was joined by Liberty University Law School professor Cynthia Dunbar to discuss the recent vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow participation by gay youth under the age of 18.

Barber was, of course, outraged that the Boy Scouts have embraced "sexual immorality" and declared that the organization was hypocritical for maintaining its oath that scouts will honor God and remain morally straight.

After Barber declaring that the organization has "committed gay activist suicide," Dunbar later added that the entire gay activist agenda is aimed at swaying the worldview of Americans, just as was "done in pre-Holocaust Germany, as far as propaganda and presentation and swaying the whole mindset of a nation":

Religious Right Panelists: Gay Rights Activists are Christ-Hating Fascists

At Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference, gays were portrayed as enemies of religious freedom who are bent on turning public schools into indoctrination centers using the issue of bullying as a “Trojan horse.”  Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, who describes himself as ex-gay, complained that New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law is being used to bully Christian students, and hollered that the law is actually fascism.

You don’t need a law, inculcated and put into code, to talk about bullying. What this bully bill is is behavior modification. That’s the job of the parents and the teachers and we don’t need that put into law. This is fascism! This is fascism! We need to put a swastika on it!

Quinlan complained that public officials, including Gov. Chris Christie, would not listen to Religious Right objections to the bill because gay rights advocates had exploited the suicide of a bullied boy:

Because one boy -- and the homosexual agenda is extremely good at this, when there’s a disaster -- one boy jumps off the George Washington Bridge, kills himself in the Hudson River. And they seized that moment and they took it and used it to their advantage. And what did we do? We said “Oh, that’s terrible that that happened,” but we don’t have any statements to make when these issues do happen. This is where we have to have better messaging.

Matt Barber, one of the most ferociously anti-gay voices in public life, used a question about the treatment of an anti-gay protestor to charge that gays are motivated by hatred for Jesus Christ and that the “homosexual lifestyle” is a sin-condemned “culture of death.”

The question was, an elderly woman was at a homosexual rally and she was carrying this big styrofoam cross and she was knocked around, it was caught on film, no charges were filed, they took her cross, and stomped it, and crushed into tiny bits. That is a microcosm of what we’re up here – and I thought, something that immediately occurred to me was, wasn’t that a metaphor for what we’re up against. It’s about the cross. It’s about the cross and a hatred of Christ, who is what? The way, the truth, and the life.  They hate the way, which is Christ, they hate the truth, which they are in conflict with, and they hate life. This is a culture of death we are talking about here, and the wages of sin is what? Is death. The homosexual lifestyle astronomically, from a statistical standpoint, leads to death. The wages of sin is death.

Other speakers on the panel were Rena Lindevaldsen, a Liberty University law professor and associate dean, and Cynthia Dunbar, a Religious Right activist who served on the Texas state board of education and who is now also a law professor at Liberty. Dunbar bragged in her conference bio that her work has earned her a “position” on Right Wing Watch.

At Latest Rally, Desperate Abortion Rights Opponents try to Salvage the Heartbeat Bill

Janet Porter of Faith2Action returned to her native Ohio last year to pass the patently unconstitutional “Heartbeat Bill,” which would criminalize abortion in the majority of cases. Despite success in the State House the GOP-controlled State Senate has refused to even put the bill up for a vote, with the Republican Senate President criticizing Faith2Action for making “exaggerated and inflammatory statements.” While it looks like Porter’s Heartbeat Bill won’t make it to the floor of the State Senate, that didn’t stop her from organizing one last rally in the Capitol to push for its passage.

While the last Heartbeat Bill rally featured prominent anti-choice activists such as Lou Engle, Jim Garlow and Wendy Wright, her rally on Saturday included less renowned (but just as extreme) conservatives like Linda Harvey and Timothy Johnson.

Cynthia Dunbar, a former member of the Texas Board of Education who is now a law professor at Liberty University, in her address to the rally made the specious claim that “94% of the quotes of the Founding Fathers contemporaneous to our nation’s founding came either directly or indirectly from the Bible” and maintained that legislators shouldn’t worry about passing the unconstitutional Heartbeat Bill since “Roe v. Wade is not law at all.” “Guess what legislators,” Dunbar said, “you don’t have the freedom to make any laws if they are contrary to what God has said in his Holy Scripture.”

Watch highlights of Dunbar’s speech here:

Porter in a last ditch effort in WorldNetDaily said she is tired of sending teddy bears and flowers to legislators and instead now will send them postcards with a rhinoceros on it, saying Republicans who don’t back her bill are RINO’s:

After 53 co-sponsors out of a 99-member House, multiple rallies, billboards, bumper stickers, yard signs, television, radio and full-page print ads, five 5,000 red heart balloons, heart chocolates, heart cookies, heartbeat teddy bears, 2,200 red roses, an airplane that flew over the statehouse and demonstrating more support than any bill in America, IT’S TIME FOR A VOTE.

There are two basic methods of persuasion: the carrot and the stick. We have given these senators so many carrots, they have spit them out in our face. Perhaps it’s time for another approach.

They didn’t like the teddy bears and roses, so let me introduce a more direct approach, one that will not let them get away with further delay and more excuses. On neon-pink postcards, the 23 Republican members of the Ohio Senate are being asked a very simple question: Are they Republican or Republican In Name Only (RINO)?



Why does an Ohio bill affect you? Because when Ohio protects children with beating hearts, other states will follow. Mississippi already has. They already passed a version of Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill through their House, but, unfortunately, their Senate killed it. We can’t let them do it here.

Someone has to break through the wall of Roe to protect unborn children, and there is no one closer than Ohio, who can send the most pro-life law in America to pro-life Gov. John Kasich for his signature with ONE SENATE FLOOR VOTE.

 

Anti-Gay Leaders Call for Prayer Movement to stop 'Homosexual Tornado' coming to 'Destroy America'

At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead such a movement to stop the “two tornadoes coming to destroy America,” which he said are “the homosexual and abortion tornadoes.”

Engle, who brought The Call prayer rally to Uganda to help rally support for the country’s proposed “kill the gays bill,” lamented that he gets “blasted” over his anti-gay work and is “haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing.” Lindevaldsen agreed that “we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.”

It seems that Engle’s first prayer initiative, StoneWall Now, a “nation wide prayer movement” to “stand in the gap crying to God to restrain the homosexual ideology” isn’t going so well as its website is offline.

Watch:

Engle: I think we need a massive, concerted prayer movement to deal with principalities and powers and pray that God would release laborers into the harvest field.

Barber: If there is anybody in the room who is adept that leading that ...

Dunbar: You’ve got that in your heart, with your spirit, and we’re with you.

Quinlan: We need that.

Barber: Did you volunteer yourself, Lou?

Engle: In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes.

Quinlan: Please.

Engle: And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted.

Barber: It’s time.

Engle: I don’t know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer.

Lindevaldsen: Meet with us afterwards ... we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.

Right Wing Round-Up

Fact Checking Barton Part I: Texas Textbooks

With no academic credentials as a historian, David Barton toldThe Daily Show host Jon Stewart that his involvement in editing textbooks around the country was proof that he is a respected and esteemed historian. However, his work with textbooks if anything reveals his blatant partisanship and pseudo-scholarship.

As Mariah Blake writes in The Washington Monthly, Barton’s Christian nation mythology was indeed just one aspect of his role shaping the Texas textbooks as a consultant for the Texas School Board. Barton wanted to give a positive spin to Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist politics and “purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.” As Blake writes, Barton tried to diminish the work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther Ling Jr. by arguing “that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, ‘Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.’ Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.”

Barton, who was once vice-chair of the Texas GOP and a paid surrogate of the Republican National Committee, tirelessly works to convince black audiences that they should vote for Republicans and oppose the Democratic Party because the GOP is responsible for black civil rights.

But Barton’s claims that he writes about more than just America as a “Christian nation” shouldn’t distract from the reason Texas School Board members invited Barton to edit their textbooks in the first place. In fact, then-Texas School Board member Cynthia Dunbar admitted that it was the board’s goal to promote religion through the state’s textbooks to counteract “a Biblically illiterate society,” and another ex-member Don McLeroy said that it was his job at the School Board to fight “secular humanists” because “we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles” and “the way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel.”

Barton also told Jon Stewart that he was used to help write textbooks in other states, namely California. However, this is quite an exaggeration. Rob Boston writes that while Barton was invited by a conservative to advise California in its development of textbooks, his proposals went nowhere:

In 1998, a conservative member of the California Academic Standards Commission appointed Barton to an advisory position, asking the Texan to critique proposed social studies/history standards. From that perch, Barton attacked the portion of the standards that discussed the development of religious freedom, trying to remove every reference to separation of church and state.

He almost pulled it off. Commission members, unfamiliar with Barton’s agenda, seemed open to adopting his suggestions. They changed course only after intervention by Americans United’s Sacramento Chapter, AU’s national office and others.

Chris Rodda of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation notes that this isn’t the only time Barton embellished his work with other states, as he also worked with Michele Bachmann when she was a Minnesota state legislator to ensure that schools display the Declaration of Independence.

Such a record of exaggeration demonstrates why real historians, including Christian historians, who have followed David Barton have repeatedly criticized and dismissed his faulty “scholarship.”

Cynthia Dunbar: Using TX School Standards To Offset "Biblically Illiterate Society"

During the "Religious Liberty and the LGBT Agenda" panel at The Awakening 2011 that Brian mentioned in the last post, former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar admitted that the right-wing activists on the Board used the recent update to the state's social studies curriculum as an opportunity to counter the fact that "we have a Biblically illiterate society."

As she explained, they included in the new curriculum a requirement that students must learn about "the law's of nature and nature's God" so that they will be taught that "the 'laws of nature' is the will of our maker and because of the fallen state of man, we have to have the 'laws of nature's God' revealed through the Holy Scripture":

Gingrich To Kick Off Awakening 2011 Via Invitation-Only Luncheon With Birther King Joseph Farah

The Freedom Federation's "Awakening 2011" conference is being held next week at Liberty University and I think nothing better sums up what we can be expected from the event than the fact that it kicks-off with a speech from Lila Rose followed by an invitation-only luncheon with Newt Gingrich and Birther king Joseph Farah:

In addition to Rep. Tom Price and Texas Senate hopeful Ted Cruz, the event features a panoply of right-wing participants and speakers including Matt Barber, Frank Gaffney, Harry Jackson, Robert Knight, Andrea Lafferty, Mat Staver, Rick Scarborough, Ryan Sorba, Janet Porter, and Penny Nance.

And while Cindy Jacobs is not listed on the schedule even though she participated in last year's conference, her fellow prophet Rick Joyner is:

  • Confronting the Culture: Engaging People of Faith
    • Rev. Rick Scarborough (Moderator)
    • David Brog
    • Rev. Rick Joyner
    • Cynthia Dunbar, Esq.
It is especially timely that Joyner will be discussing how to engage people of faith given that he is convinced that the earthquake in Japan is a sign that demonic Nazism is about to take over America after God destroys California.

Cynthia Dunbar and her Prayers for Public Education

The Texas Freedom Network has been doing amazing work covering the battle over curriculum standards in Texas .. and nothing better explains just what is going on than this post from TFN today highlighting the prayer delivered by right-wing Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar to open the Board's debate over what the next generation of Texas students will learn about separation of church and state:

Even before the Texas State Board of Education took up its expected debate today over what students will learn about separation about church and state in their social studies classrooms, board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, made her position clear. She offered the board’s opening prayer this morning and removed any doubt about what she and other far-right board members want students to learn: America’s laws and government should be based on the Christian Bible.

Laying out in blunt language the “Christian nation” vision of American history that the board’s powerful bloc of social conservatives espouses, Dunbar threw down the gauntlet:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses.”

“Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England…the same objective is present — a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”

“I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”

This post reminded me that I had footage of Dunbar delivering a prayer for education at Janet Porter's May Day 2010 prayer rally earlier this month during which she proclaimed that the government had become destructive to the rights of its citizens and that it was time for "we the people to stand up and make the changes" while seeking forgiveness for having "trained generation after generation to not know that it's the providential hand of God" that has made America great and asking God to invade our school system to overcome the false idea that there are areas of instruction or knowledge "that can be found absent and devoid of the presence of the most high God": 

May Day on the Mall: Lifting The Curse That Obama's Election Has Brought Upon America

 
On Saturday, May 1, Religious Right leaders and public officials will gather at the steps below the Lincoln Memorial to beg God to forgive America for having elected wicked leaders like President Obama. If you can’t make it to the national mall on Saturday morning, you can watch live on God TV or via webcast thanks to the American Family Association.
 
The "May Day - A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress" event is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist/conspiracy theory-promoting radio host, and member of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s inner circle. Porter believes America is under a curse for having “made the choice of death” by electing President Obama (even though God TV warned us not to). She announced the May Day event at last fall’s How to Take Back America conference.  
 
Since then, Porter has lined up support from a significant number of Religious Right heavy-hitters like former Focus on the Family head James Dobson, who recorded an audio message recruiting pastors to get involved, and at least five members of Congress, including  Randy “Pray Against Health Care” Forbes (Virginia), Trent “Obama is an enemy of humanity” Franks (Arizona), Louie “Hate Crimes Act is a Pedophile Protection Act” Gohmert (Texas), and Steve “Know Your Enemies” King (Iowa).  
 

Texas School Board Member Cynthia Dunbar Joins May Day Prayer Rally

Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter continues to move ahead with her organizing for the "May Day: a Cry to God for Our Nation in Distress" prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial on May 1:

Porter called on Christians to take part in a 40-day fast prior to the event. She said participants will give up something important to them in the days leading up to May Day.

"We just want God to know we're serious about standing in the gap for America," she said. "We are calling the remnant to come and repent. It's a two-fold plan to not only pray but to proclaim what our founders believed – that we are one nation under God."

Vision America President Dr. Rick Scarborough added, "We need to let God know we're serious about turning back to Him and fasting from something – whether it's television, dessert or food – will provide the breakthrough we desperately need as a nation."

...

Pro-family leaders across denominational boundaries have joined together for the effort including: Dr. James Dobson, American Family Association President Tim Wildmon, Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright, Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver, NRB President Dr. Frank Wright, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, Dutch Sheets, David Barton and many members of Congress.

Porter has explained that the event is designed to break the curse that our nation is under for having elected President Obama, and now she's picking up some interesting new supporters for her effort:

Porter said Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer who serves on the Texas State Board of Education, will attend and ask God for forgiveness for how the nation has removed Him from American schools.

"She is going to come to May Day and repent for how we have taught our children lies, not only in revisionist history but also evolution, how we've kicked God out of school," Porter said. "She will repent on behalf of the education system, and she's also going to welcome God back in."

Dunbar played a central role in Texas' recent rewriting of its social studies requirements in order to make them better reflect the conservative worldview and, given her views, it is no surprise that she would team up with the likes of Porter:

In 2008, Cynthia Dunbar published a book called “One Nation Under God,” in which she stated more openly than most of her colleagues have done the argument that the founding of America was an overtly Christian undertaking and laid out what she and others hope to achieve in public schools. “The underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents,” she writes. “Hence, the only accurate method of ascertaining the intent of the Founding Fathers at the time of our government’s inception comes from a biblical worldview.”

Then she pushes forward: “We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world.” But the true picture of America’s Christian founding has been whitewashed by “the liberal agenda” — in order for liberals to succeed “they must first rewrite our nation’s history” and obscure the Christian intentions of the founders. Therefore, she wrote, “this battle for our nation’s children and who will control their education and training is crucial to our success for reclaiming our nation.”

After the book came out, Dunbar was derided in blogs and newspapers for a section in which she writes of “the inappropriateness of a state-created, taxpayer-supported school system” and likens sending children to public school to “throwing them into the enemy’s flames, even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.” (Her own children were either home-schooled or educated in private Christian schools.) When I asked, over dinner in a honky-tonk steakhouse down the road from the university, why someone who felt that way would choose to become an overseer of arguably the most influential public-education system in the country, she said that public schools are a battlefield for competing ideologies and that it’s important to combat the “religion” of secularism that holds sway in public education.

On a related note, Rev. Paul Blair of Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ has put together this video urging people to attend the May Day event and "appeal in penitent prayer to the King of Kings for revival in our land":

Meet The New Texas Social Studies Requirements

The New York Times reports on the changes made to Texas' Social Studies curriculum that have been forced through by the right-wing members of dominate the state Board of Education:

The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schalfly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Dr. McLeroy pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent approach. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

“Republicans need a little credit for that,” he said. “I think it’s going to surprise some students.”

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians were interned in the United States as well as the Japanese during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

“Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation,” said one conservative member, Teri Leo. “You know, ‘capitalist pig!’ ”

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teen suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

“The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill said.

Even the course on World History did not escape the board’s scalpel.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

“The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Ms. Dunbar said.

Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

It was defeated on a party-line vote.

Texas Drops Thomas Jefferson

The right-wing members of the Texas School Board have made no secret of the fact that their mission in drafting the new social studies curriculum standards for state public school has been to highlight the supposedly Christian foundation of our nation and the deeply Christian views of the Founding Fathers.

Apparently, the views and writing of the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence do not adequately serve that purpose, which is why both Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightment have now been dropped, as the Texas Freedom Network, which is liveblogging the debate, reports:

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.

What Does Abortion Have to Do With The Race For Texas School Board?

As you undoubtedly know by now, controlling the textbooks and curriculum in Texas has long been a  focus of the Religious Right, which is why they bring in "experts" like David Barton to help shape them and why elections for seats on the Board of Education can get pretty crazy.

How crazy?  Well, as the Texas Freedom Network reports, so crazy that anti-abortion groups are robocalling voters urging them to support specific candidates in the Republican primary today: 

We have a report that Joe Pojman of the far-right Texas Alliance for Life is robocalling voters in the District 10 Texas State Board of Education race today. Pojman is letting voters know that Brian Russell, one of the candidates in tomorrow’s Republican primary for the board seat, is “pro-life.”

What in blazes does the State Board of Education have to do with abortion politics? Nothing — except for religious-right pressure groups and activists, for whom the “culture wars” are all-consuming. Telling voters about Russell’s opposition to abortion is Pojman’s way of letting religious-right voters know who should get their vote in the race for the state board seat currently held by the departing Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. (Dunbar recruited Russell, an Austin attorney who homeschools his children, to run for the seat.)

We don’t know what Russell’s Republican opponents, Marsha Farney and Rebecca Osborne, think about abortion. But now you know the priorities of Russell and his supporters on the far-right: they have every intention of continuing to drag our children’s schools into senseless and divisive “culture war” battles even on issues that have nothing to do with public education.

A TFN reader recorded the robocall and posted the audio:

Hello, this is Dr. Joe Pojman with the Texas Alliance for Life PAC urging you to get out and vote for Brian Russell for the State Board of Education in the Republican primary election

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 2 is Election Day.

Brian Russell is staunchly pro-life and is the only candidate to score 100% on the Texas Alliance for Life candidates survey.

Your vote is critical. Please support Brian Russell for the State Board of Education.

For more information, visit texasallianceforlife.org

Meet The Right-Wingers Drafting Your Textbooks

The New York Times Magazine has a long article on the battle over textbooks in Texas and the related question of just how religious were the Founding Fathers and how much of a role they intended religion to play in our government. 

The article is quite long, but I just wanted to highlight a few sections about the views and agendas of Texas Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar:

I met Don McLeroy last November in a dental office — that is to say, his dental office — in a professional complex in the Brazos Valley city of Bryan, not far from the sprawling campus of Texas A&M University. The buzz of his hygienist at work sounded through the thin wall separating his office from the rest of the suite. McLeroy makes no bones about the fact that his professional qualifications have nothing to do with education. “I’m a dentist, not a historian,” he said. “But I’m fascinated by history, so I’ve read a lot.”

...

McLeroy is a robust, cheerful and inexorable man, whose personality is perhaps typified by the framed letter T on the wall of his office, which he earned as a “yell leader” (Texas A&M nomenclature for cheerleader) in his undergraduate days in the late 1960s. “I consider myself a Christian fundamentalist,” he announced almost as soon as we sat down. He also identifies himself as a young-earth creationist who believes that the earth was created in six days, as the book of Genesis has it, less than 10,000 years ago. He went on to explain how his Christian perspective both governs his work on the state board and guides him in the current effort to adjust American-history textbooks to highlight the role of Christianity. “Textbooks are mostly the product of the liberal establishment, and they’re written with the idea that our religion and our liberty are in conflict,” he said. “But Christianity has had a deep impact on our system. The men who wrote the Constitution were Christians who knew the Bible. Our idea of individual rights comes from the Bible. The Western development of the free-market system owes a lot to biblical principles.”

For McLeroy, separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. “There are two basic facts about man,” he said. “He was created in the image of God, and he is fallen. You can’t appreciate the founding of our country without realizing that the founders understood that. For our kids to not know our history, that could kill a society. That’s why to me this is a huge thing.”

...

In 2008, Cynthia Dunbar published a book called “One Nation Under God,” in which she stated more openly than most of her colleagues have done the argument that the founding of America was an overtly Christian undertaking and laid out what she and others hope to achieve in public schools. “The underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents,” she writes. “Hence, the only accurate method of ascertaining the intent of the Founding Fathers at the time of our government’s inception comes from a biblical worldview.”

Then she pushes forward: “We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world.” But the true picture of America’s Christian founding has been whitewashed by “the liberal agenda” — in order for liberals to succeed “they must first rewrite our nation’s history” and obscure the Christian intentions of the founders. Therefore, she wrote, “this battle for our nation’s children and who will control their education and training is crucial to our success for reclaiming our nation.”

After the book came out, Dunbar was derided in blogs and newspapers for a section in which she writes of “the inappropriateness of a state-created, taxpayer-supported school system” and likens sending children to public school to “throwing them into the enemy’s flames, even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.” (Her own children were either home-schooled or educated in private Christian schools.) When I asked, over dinner in a honky-tonk steakhouse down the road from the university, why someone who felt that way would choose to become an overseer of arguably the most influential public-education system in the country, she said that public schools are a battlefield for competing ideologies and that it’s important to combat the “religion” of secularism that holds sway in public education.

Ask Christian activists what they really want — what the goal is behind the effort to bring Christianity into American history — and they say they merely want “the truth.” “The main thing I’m looking for as a state board member is to make sure we have good standards,” Don McLeroy said. But the actual ambition is vast. Americans tell pollsters they support separation of church and state, but then again 65 percent of respondents to a 2007 survey by the First Amendment Center agreed with the statement that “the nation’s founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation,” and 55 percent said they believed the Constitution actually established the country as a Christian nation. The Christian activists are aware of such statistics and want to build on them, as Dunbar made clear. She told me she looks to John Jay’s statement that it is the duty of the people “of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” and has herself called for a preference for selecting Christians for positions of leadership.

From Bad to Worse In Texas

The Texas Freedom Network was tireless in exposing Don McLeroy, Gov. Rick Perry's choice to serve as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, and chronicling his hearings and ultimate rejection by the state Senate.

But now TFN reports that Perry's choice of replacement is even worse, pointing to this San Antonio Express-News article:

Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.

...

In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”

Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”

The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.

Dunbar home-schooled her own children.

TFN provides more background:

Dunbar has clearly expressed her loathing for public education in her book One Nation Under God, calling public schools a “tool of perversion,” “unconstitutional” and “tryannical.” She has also personally rejected the public school system, home-schooling her children. In fact, she wrote in her book that sending our children to public schools is “throwing them into the enemy’s flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.”

Just before the November election, Dunbar also authored a vicious Internet rant in which she called Barack Obama a terrorist sympathizer who wants to seize total power by declaring martial law. In another Internet screed, she charged that Obama is promoting Marxism by calling for “shared sacrifice and social responsibility.”

Perry apparently thinks that someone who homeschooled her own children because public schools are  "tool of perversion" is perfectly suited to being placed in charge of the Texas school system.

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Cynthia Dunbar Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 11/26/2013, 6:35pm
Meagan Hatcher-Mays @ Media Matters: Fox's Report On Judicial Emergencies Doesn't Mention They're Caused By Republicans. Warren Throckmorton: League of the South Board Member Speaks to Florida Public High School Student Group. Andrew Kirell @ Mediaite: ‘Thank You, Ted Cruz’ Ads Set to Run During Thanksgiving NFL Games. Julie Ioffe @ TNR: A 31-Year-Old Is Tearing Apart the Heritage Foundation. Josh Israel @ Think Progress: Party Chairman Who Told Anti-Semitic Joke At Cuccinelli Rally Is Now Running For Office. TFN Insider: Cynthia Dunbar (Remember... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 06/03/2013, 12:33pm
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber was joined by Liberty University Law School professor Cynthia Dunbar to discuss the recent vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow participation by gay youth under the age of 18. Barber was, of course, outraged that the Boy Scouts have embraced "sexual immorality" and declared that the organization was hypocritical for maintaining its oath that scouts will honor God and remain morally straight. After Barber declaring that the organization has "committed gay activist suicide," Dunbar later added that... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 05/09/2013, 12:10pm
At Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference, gays were portrayed as enemies of religious freedom who are bent on turning public schools into indoctrination centers using the issue of bullying as a “Trojan horse.”  Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, who describes himself as ex-gay, complained that New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law is being used to bully Christian students, and hollered that the law is actually fascism. You don’t need a law, inculcated and put into code, to talk about bullying. What this bully bill is is... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/22/2012, 2:05pm
Janet Porter of Faith2Action returned to her native Ohio last year to pass the patently unconstitutional “Heartbeat Bill,” which would criminalize abortion in the majority of cases. Despite success in the State House the GOP-controlled State Senate has refused to even put the bill up for a vote, with the Republican Senate President criticizing Faith2Action for making “exaggerated and inflammatory statements.” While it looks like Porter’s Heartbeat Bill won’t make it to the floor of the State Senate, that didn’t stop her from organizing one last rally... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/23/2012, 2:25pm
At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/02/2011, 5:52pm
Towleroad: FOX News: A Gay Man in Virginia Was Named Prom Queen Because He Was Indoctrinated by Sesame Street. Lee Fang @ Think Progress: Did The Cable Industry Pay Ralph Reed Millions Of Dollars To Orchestrate Tea Party Opposition To Net Neutrality? Daniel Williams @ Dallas Voice: Houston bigot Dave Wilson sends out another anti-gay mailer attacking Annise Parker. Texas Freedom Network: Cynthia Dunbar’s Reading List. Colby Hall @ Mediaite: Exclusive: Glenn Beck’s Last Day On Fox News Will Be June 30th. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/05/2011, 12:14pm
  The Daily Show - David Barton Pt. 1 Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook With no academic credentials as a historian, David Barton toldThe Daily Show host Jon Stewart that his involvement in editing textbooks around the country was proof that he is a respected and esteemed historian. However, his work with textbooks if anything reveals his blatant partisanship and pseudo-scholarship. As Mariah Blake writes in The Washington Monthly, Barton’s Christian nation mythology was indeed just one aspect of his role shaping the... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/11/2011, 1:38pm
During the "Religious Liberty and the LGBT Agenda" panel at The Awakening 2011 that Brian mentioned in the last post, former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar admitted that the right-wing activists on the Board used the recent update to the state's social studies curriculum as an opportunity to counter the fact that "we have a Biblically illiterate society." As she explained, they included in the new curriculum a requirement that students must learn about "the law's of nature and nature's God" so that they will be taught that "the 'laws... MORE >