Education

Phyllis Schlafly Calls on Conservatives to Imitate Legendary Textbook Censor Norma Gabler

Today Phyllis Schlafly hosted Guy Rodgers of ACT! for America on Eagle Forum Live where Rodgers discussed his anti-Muslim group’s new report arguing that children have been “indoctrinated in Islam” by textbooks. Rodgers called on parents to follow the example of famed right-wing activists Mel and Norma Gabler to pressure schools into rejecting textbooks the group claims have a “pro-Islam” bias. “We need another Norma Gabler,” Schlafly said.

Of course, the Gablers were notorious textbook censors who attacked the inclusion of evolution and anything they deemed part of the liberals’ “mental child abuse.” Diane Ravitch writes in The Language Police that the Gablers went after any textbooks they believed “taught ‘humanism,’ sex-education, ‘one-worldism,’ ‘women’s lib,’ or the occult” or promoted “a religion of secular humanism, in violation of the Constitution.”

While both of the Gablers have passed away, their group, Educational Research Analysts, was instrumental in crafting a successful Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) resolution condemning the “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias” that “has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks.”

As the Texas Freedom Network points out, “the Gablers had prominent roles in the Texas textbook wars for decades before their deaths” and an Educational Research Analysts’ newsletter on the supposed anti-Christian bias in textbooks was released just one month before the state passed its September resolution. The newsletter blasted “both militant Islamic cultural jihadists (backed by Arab petrowealth in the U.S. textbook industry), and American academic secularists, in their com¬bined assault on Christianity in World History classes” and called on the SBOE to resist the “Allah-lobby,” while noting that “Christian conservative mastery of detail in Texas' textbook approval process is power”:

High school World History will thus fulfill the Texas Education Code's legislative intent better than U.S. History, whose new standards stress free-market benefits much less emphatically. The SBOE should now add that while U.S. History texts must stop ignoring Christianity, high school World History books must cease attacking it. In World History the SBOE should take action in the interna¬tional as well as the national culture war. It should check both militant Islamic cultural jihadists (backed by Arab petrowealth in the U.S. textbook industry), and American academic secularists, in their com¬bined assault on Christianity in World History classes.



Many wrongly think Texas’ SBOE can reject only those textbooks that meet less than 50% of its course content standards, flunk certain manufacturing guidelines, or contain factual errors. But it can also dump those that clearly conflict with basic democratic values. For the first time ever the SBOE should invoke that power to warn publishers not to pander to Islam against Christianity – long a festering malaise (see the Manifesto within here) – in their new high school World History submissions.Christian conservative mastery of detail in Texas' textbook approval process is power … as vital to identify textbooks that so prostitute themselves, as it is to abort their local adoption statewide. Texas' elected SBOE is the one viable national democratic proven check and balance on textbook publishers' otherwise seemingly-unslakeable lust to kowtow to Allah-lobby conceits. All the oil money in Arabia cannot actually sell into American schools a book rejected by Texas' elected SBOE in response to documentation by knowledgeable citizen-voters

David Barton's Long Term Plan to Remake America

Back in 2009 and 2010, when David Barton was tapped as an "expert" to help the Texas State Board of Education rewrite the state's social studies standards, he claimed that he was not promoting any sort of agenda, but was simply dedicated to reintroducing into the curriculum ignored parts "of history that certainly should be presented."

Around the time this was all taking place, Barton appeared on some Rhode Island public access program where he said that his work on rewriting the Texas curriculum gave him tremendous optimism about the future of America because the textbooks written for Texas schools would be used all over the nation and influence the students over the next twenty to thirty years who will eventually be elected to public office:

Barton's involvement in rewriting the Texas standards provoked such an outcry that he now has to do all this sort of work in secret so that nobody knows just how or where he is reworking to inject this long term, right-wing political agenda into the nation's curriculum.

Harvey Suggests that Marriage Equality Leads to Childhood Depression

Mission America president Linda Harvey today addressed a potential constitutional amendment in her native state of Ohio that would legalize same-sex marriage and overturn a 2004 constitutional ban, warning that if it passes it would represent a “rebellion against nature, against civil order and against the beautiful design of God” and that it is a “pro-life issue” because it would turn children into “a problem.” Harvey also argued that marriage equality will lead to “pro-homosexual” education in schools, which she says makes children feel “anxious, stressed out and feel they have nothing to believe in sometimes.” “The deception that results is a dark cloud hanging over our educational environment and our culture,” Harvey said, “and it harms these precious, developing minds and hearts the most.”

Well it’s official, there is now going to be an effort by organized homosexuals and their allies in Ohio to undermine our constitutional amendment on marriage. A group called Freedom to Marry Ohio is launching a referendum drive to get the signatures to put the issue of same-sex marriage on the ballot, possibly this November. This group has filed the first step with Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office with their proposed ballot language, if it makes the Ohio ballot, it would read that marriage is “a union of two consenting adults regardless of gender” and also that “no religious institution shall be required to perform or recognize a marriage.”



People of this state already have the right to marry, adults in Ohio have the freedom to marry someone of the opposite sex because that’s what marriage is. Marriage law is simply a legal confirmation of what we see in nature, that a male and a female fit together anatomically, that this is how children and families are creation, that children and new humans are valuable, not a problem, so this is really a pro-life issue at its heart.

The fact that a few people have deviant desires and want to overturn marriage law for everyone is not an issue of equality, it’s an issue of morality. It’s rebellion against nature, against civil order and against the beautiful design of God. We need to tell the people and this effort a resounding ‘No.’

The question is sometimes asked, how would same-sex marriage harm your marriage? There are several simple answers. One, it changes what is considered normal and legal throughout our culture and therefore what is taught and modeled to our children and grandchildren. Do we want little Morgan in second grade to learn that when she grows up she might marry a boy or might marry a girl and either one is perfectly fine and she won’t know until she’s older which she prefers, but that’s OK. Do you think Morgan will develop with a secure and stable idea about her identity as a girl and woman with this shaky and morally irrational guidance? No wonder our kids are anxious, stressed out and feel they have nothing to believe in sometimes, they are being told what they can see themselves is foolishness and being told to swallow these lies and stay quiet if you don’t agree.

This nonsense is already being taught in some schools and in those states where same-sex marriage is legal it has exploded. Many schools now routinely shut off all debate about homosexuality, there is only one viewpoint and it is pro-homosexual. The deception that results is a dark cloud hanging over our educational environment and our culture and it harms these precious, developing minds and hearts the most. I urge you friends to stand against same-sex marriage.

Santorum Campaign Hails Support from 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Sponsor

Earlier today we reported that Rick Santorum’s campaign is promoting endorsements from anti-gay radicals like Sally Kern and Bobbi Radeck of Oklahoma and Ohio, respectively, and now the former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign is trumpeting the endorsement of Tennessee state legislator Joey Hensley, the chief House sponsor of the state’s “don’t say gay” bill. “We don’t want students to be exposed to alternate lifestyles,” Hensley said in defense of the legislation, which would prevent any discussion of homosexuality in K-8th grades classes. Hensley also criticized Modern Family because two of the show’s main characters are gay, calling it “inappropriate for children.”

Family Research Council Demands Elevation of 'Ex-Gay' Message in Schools

After a Maryland school district decided to reconsider its flyer policy after the “ex-gay” group PFOX distributed material promoting the discredited and dangerous reparative therapy, Family Research Council senior fellow and PFOX board member Peter Sprigg responded with a furious op-ed in the Washington Times and an appearance on Today’s Issues with FRC president Tony Perkins. During the interview, Perkins said that “the homosexual community” is trying to stop children from getting “the options or the help that’s available for them if they’re struggling with [sexuality] issues” by opposing the distribution of ex-gay material, and lamented that “government officials [are] increasingly becoming really patsies for the homosexual activists.” Sprigg said that unless the ex-gay “message gets out in the schools,” then more and more confused kids who “would end up being perfectly heterosexual” would be “told by their teachers and guidance counselors, ‘well you are probably gay.’”

Perkins: When you look across the board in different incidences where the homosexual community is involved, they simply want to shut down any discussion, they don’t want children to be aware of the options or the help that’s available for them if they’re struggling with these issues, and now you see government officials increasingly becoming really patsies for the homosexual activists.

Sprigg: Right. It’s especially important that this message gets out in the schools because it’s normal for young people, adolescents to experience some confusion about their sexual identity. An important statistic that I read once was that there’s a survey done of 12 year olds that found at age 12, 25 percent of the students were unsure of their sexual orientation. But we know from surveys of the adult population that only maybe 2 to 3 percent of the adult population will actually identify as homosexual or bisexual. So you have this population of young people that left to themselves, 9 out of 10 would end up being perfectly heterosexual, but now with the politically correct environment in the schools, those kids are being told by their teachers and guidance counselors, “well you are probably gay, you were born that way, you just have to accept it and embrace it.”

Linda Harvey Tells Parents Not to Send Children to Colleges with Gay Straight Alliances

Mission America president Linda Harvey has a stern warning for parents with college-bound children: don’t send your kid to a school with “a Gay Straight Alliance or any similar group” because “a faith-based school with a homosexual group has probably lost its first love for Jesus and His truth.” Harvey lamented that even evangelical and Catholic institutions are recognizing their gay and lesbian students that would make them stray from “God’s word” in order to “cave in to transient, trendy sexual preferences” and “aggressive homosexual activism.” She also railed against gender neutral campus policies and “deteriorating” standing of “moral judgment” in higher education:

Are you looking for guidance about where to send your son or daughter to college, well perhaps some recent news items about colleges will help. First, check out any trend toward gender neutrality on campus. More and more colleges are instituting bathrooms, showers and locker rooms for both males and females and whatever might me in-between, and you might be interested to know that there are now at least fifty-four colleges and universities in the U.S. with gender neutral housing. Yes, that means just what you’re thinking, students can be roommates regardless of their God-given genders. Another trend is toward bolder support for homosexuality, even at religious schools. We’ve been talking about the push to officially recognize homosexuals on the campuses of some evangelical colleges, which ones will remain faithful to God’s word and which will cave in to transient, trendy sexual preferences? It remains to be seen but if I were a parent I would check any potential college to see if a Gay Straight Alliance or any similar group comes up on a Google search.



Forty-three percent of Catholic colleges have some sort of homosexual group recognized on campus. This is recent news and another sign that moral judgment is deteriorating in the face of aggressive homosexual activism. So a faith-based school with a homosexual group has probably lost its first love for Jesus and His truth. Perhaps, parents, it’s a good idea to seek other alternatives.

Cindy Jacobs Claims American Schools Had No Problems Before 1962

Cindy Jacobs and her husband Mike on God Knows discussed a recent meeting they had with right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton where they agreed that problems such as “teen suicide, rape, murder [and] assault” are a result of a 1962 Supreme Court decision barring school-organized prayer. Claims that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Engel v. Vitale is responsible for America’s cultural and moral decline are commonplace in the Religious Right, and Barton even started his career by blaming the decision for a decline in SAT scores.

According to Cindy Jacobs, public schools in the U.S. had no problems besides “cutting in line” and “throwing spit wads” before 1962. Of course, Jacobs seems to ignore the egregious discrimination that African American students faced in the era of legalized segregation followed by the de facto segregation of schools, and even in integrated schools students like the Little Rock Nine in 1957 faced far more problems that spit wads. 

While she argued that the end of school-organized prayer led to “every evil thing” in America today, her husband claimed that a recent meeting of prophets decided that the European Union’s current “fiscal hardships” are a result of the fact that “they refused to acknowledge God.” What they fail to mention is that Greece, the EU country facing the most severe financial problems, like other European nations actually has an official state church.

Watch:

Cindy Jacobs: 1962, when prayer was taken out of our schools by the Supreme Court, and in 1967 when Bible reading was taken out of our public schools, what happened? I mean in ’62 our biggest problem that we had in the United States was cutting in line, throwing spit wads.



Cindy Jacobs: Yeah, these were our problems, after we took the law of God out of our school, what happened? Teen suicide, rape, murder, assault, kids bringing guns to school, does it matter whether we pray? Absolutely it matters. Does it matter whether we read the Bible? Absolutely it matters. You know Mike when we were kids here in the state of Texas, we began our school with prayer and we prayed in the name of Jesus, I mean nobody was forced to do it, they didn’t have to do it, and then we read the Bible and nobody complained. It was amazing what happened in the nation, but when you take out God out of the house, God out of the schools, what happens is every evil thing comes in, there’s a void place.

Mike Jacobs: Remember the prophets were talking specifically about the European Union and that one of the curses that’s on them right now, one of the reasons they are enduring some of the financial, fiscal hardships right now, is they said when they were doing the founding documents, they refused to acknowledge God.

Cindy Jacobs: That’s right, it’s not in there.

Religious Right Activists Warn Parents Against Sending Students to Communist, Atheist, Gay Public Schools

Public schools have long faced attacks from Religious Right activists who deem them ungodly institutions and conservative politicians who seek to defund and privatize them, and this week Truth in Action Ministries, formerly Coral Ridge Ministries, released the film The Dumbing Down of America on the “sinister” agenda of the public education system. We’ve selected highlights from the film which includes Religious Right figures such as radio talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver, The Myth of Separation Between Church and State author Dee Wampler, Philomath Foundation president Katherine Dang and Center for Academic Freedom (a division of the Alliance Defense Fund) legal counsel Greg Baylor.

The film warns that public schools are based on what Parshall called a “Hitlerian idea” and are led by atheist, communist teachers who Wampler says seek “the eradication of Christianity.” Staver warned that public schools have created a “society that is ripe for chaos and disorder” and Wampler went as so far to blame public education for “everything bad that is happening in our country today.” Of course, no Religious Right film can go long without criticizing gays and lesbians, as Parshall and Baylor criticized positive representations of LGBT community in education.

Watch:

Spiritual Warfare for Public Schools

Many of the charismatic preachers, particularly those involved in the New Apostolic Reformation, claim that they are in the midst of taking control of the Seven Mountains of society: arts and entertainment, business, the church, education, the family, government and the media, through a mix of political advocacy and spiritual warfare. As Kyle has noted, we have already seen large prayer rallies with “the purpose of swinging elections, ending abortion, fighting marriage equality, converting Muslims, and even launching a presidential campaign,” and there is even a brand new effort to take dominion over Hollywood.

Now, there is a new spiritual warfare effort targeting public schools to bring about the return of government-organized school prayer.

Many Republican politicians and right-wing activists regularly and quite falsely assert that prayer has been outlawed in schools. As K. Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee writes: “Students, too, are free to pray voluntarily at various times of the school day, absent school involvement or disruption to others. There is simply nothing constructive to be gained from official prayer that advances or harms a particular religion. On the contrary, such prayers threaten individual freedom of conscience and violate the First Amendment’s promise of religious liberty for all.”

With the help of Lou Engle of The Call, one Religious Right activist is set to lead a prayer rally in Sacramento, California, on March 31 to bring government organized prayer back to public schools.

Brian Barcelona said he started a group called “the Christian Club” in a California public school that grew to hundreds of members and that thanks to his club “teachers have been healed of incurable diseases” and “students no longer have to turn to the counselors for advice.” He calls for students of all faiths to come together under Christianity:

This is a movement that is not about a denomination or a church, but a DEMONSTRATION of the Kingdom of God. Signs, wonders, and miracles have broken out amongst students and teachers alike. Teachers have been healed of incurable diseases, and students no longer turn to the counselors for advice, but the Christian Club for prayer and support.

A movement that doesn’t care if a student is a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, Atheist, or anything in between, all are invited to encounter the Love of Jesus and what He has to offer.

He goes on to say that a series of Supreme Court decisions have resulted “in the effective banning of prayer and Bible verse recitation in public schools” and dramatic increases in teen pregnancy, STDs, divorce, cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, violent crimes, abortion rate and a decline in SAT scores.

Of course, if this were true his “Christian Club” and thousands of other clubs in the U.S. would have been shut down. But it’s not and that’s why students are allowed to pray as they choose to, rather than have the government dictate and lead students in organized prayer.

As. Dr. W. Kenneth Williams of the Baptist Joint Committee points out, government-compelled prayer “violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and offends the consciences of those would not choose to participate in the prayers” due to their faith or lack of faith” and “many believers consider watered-downed, generic prayers to be deeply offensive.”

Most of all, Barcelona’s own example proves that students are not prevented from engaging in voluntary prayer, and surely he or others involved in his version of charismatic prayer may find vapid, government-written prayers offensive just as many students may not want to participate in a government-sponsored charismatic prayer.

Cindy Jacobs Warns of Satan's Grip in 'Ungodly' Education System

Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs told participants of the Prophetic Marketplace Conference that the public education system has Satanic origins because John Dewey, who led the development of progressive education, was a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto. Jacobs said that God told her to “go look up the Humanist Manifesto” to learn about who is instructing the people of America and the entire world. “I began to study this and I began to see that there was something desperately wrong because since 1933 the educational systems of the world had been totally diluted, deceived, coopted and taken over by this ungodly system,” Jacobs explained. She concluded that Satan “founded humanism” in the Garden of Eden, which now, because of John Dewey, has taken over public education.

Watch:

Gates Foundation Raises Eyebrows with Grant to Right-Wing Lobbying Group

“We don’t want to be part of the controversy.” That’s what Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, told NPR when asked why the foundation’s work on reproductive health avoided support for abortion care. While this was a grave disappointment to global women’s health advocates, it wasn’t altogether surprising. Despite the Gates Foundation’s staggering wealth and influence and willingness to try new – sometimes controversial – approaches, it steadfastly steers clear of political fights.

That’s why a recent award of $376,635 to a right-wing lobbying group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is raising eyebrows, and more, in progressive and philanthropy circles. Knowingly or not, the Gates Foundation has just stepped on a political landmine.
ALEC is engaged in all of the fiercest political fights of our day – working hand-in-hand with companies seeking to roll back healthcare reform, environmental protections, workers’ rights, corporate accountability, and taxes on the wealthy. The Gates Foundation, which is “dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy and productive life,” should know that those aims are incompatible with ALEC’s efforts to undermine Americans’ health, safety, and economic security to benefit the bottom line of its corporate backers.
 
The stated purpose of the Gates Foundation grant to ALEC is “to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement.” On the face of it, this pales in comparison to ALEC’s other education work, which promotes large-scale voucher and privatization schemes that would destroy, not improve, the public education system.
 
Interestingly, Lee Fang recently reported in The Nation on the various ways that the Gates Foundation and ALEC are working – independently – to promote for-profit distance learning. These programs typically undermine public schools while benefiting technology and software companies, including Microsoft. The educational value of such programs is also highly contested.
 
But the bigger issue here is that the Gates Foundation – a grant-making behemoth – is legitimizing ALEC and all of its egregious lobbying by directly supporting a portion of the group’s work. One can only hope that the Gates Foundation staff responsible for the grant were narrowly focused on education policy and unaware of ALEC’s broader agenda. Either way, the foundation seems headed into the middle of a controversy, which is remarkable for an organization that took pains to avoid “the controversy” in the reproductive health arena.
 
For a primer on ALEC, see People For the American Way’s recent report:
When state legislators across the nation introduce similar or identical bills designed to boost corporate power and profits, reduce workers rights, limit corporate accountability for pollution, or restrict voting by minorities, odds are good that the legislation was not written by a state lawmaker but by corporate lobbyists working through the American Legislative Exchange Council.  ALEC is a one-stop shop for corporations looking to identify friendly state legislators and work with them to get special-interest legislation introduced. It’s win-win for corporations, their lobbyists, and right-wing legislators. But the big losers are citizens whose rights and interests are sold off to the highest bidder.

 

Loyola University Under Fire For Holding Drag Show During LGBTQ History Month

Loyola University of Chicago is taking heat from an ultraconservative Catholic group for allowing a club of LGBTQ students and allies to host a drag show. The club, The Advocate, holds an annual drag show during LGBTQ History Month to raise money for their scholarship fund. The event is coupled with discussions on gender identity and “serves to bring together the larger Loyola community for a discussion about acceptance of all members of the LGBTQ community.” The group also hosted a panel on “religion and sexuality” and a “safe space ally training.”

But the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), which made news in 2009 for fervently protesting President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, is now attacking Loyola University for allowing the event to take place. Mary Hunt of Religion Dispatches notes that the CNS “monitors speakers, professors, students, and organizations on all the campuses and squeals every time its version of Catholic orthodoxy is transgressed” and particularly focuses on trying to prevent The Vagina Monologues from being performed on campuses.

In a statement, CNS president Patrick J. Reilly claimed that cross dressing undermines “basic standards of decency and morality” and that “drag shows debase the human person”:

“When Catholic parents send their children to a Catholic university they should be able to expect at least basic standards of decency and morality,” wrote Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly in a letter to Loyola’s President last year. “Events like this not only undermine the sacred trust parents have in Loyola University, but may lead to serious personal and social problems caused by confusion about sexuality. Drag shows debase the human person and are an affront to Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person.”

How David Barton Is Secretly Shaping Curricula Across The Nation

In our previous post we noted that the American Family Association spent two hours promoting the new WallBuilders "Building On The American Heritage Series" DVD program and that, during the program, David Barton took calls from listeners in the AFA audience.

During the Q&A, one of the listeners expressed hope that the next president would give Barton a Cabinet-level appointment, maybe as Attorney General, but that was a notion that Barton quickly shot down by admitting it would never happen because he is "radioactive."  

But Barton then went on to reveal that because he is so radioactive, he has been forced to help school boards draft state history and/or government curricula in secret so that people on the Left don't find out about it:

For me, I am radioactive in so many areas. I got a call from US News and World Report and they said "did you know the ACLU just spent a million dollars to discredit you?" There are four law schools I know that have entire websites dedicated just to me. Soros-type people get paid to find my name every time it pops up and they will start blogging about how stupid I am, how I don't know anything, how I make up my history. And so if you Google me, you're going to find a lot of negative stuff about me.

Now, having said that, I get appointed by a lot of states, by state boards of education to do the history and government standards in those states, public schools, etc ... Now, when these guys find out that I'm there, I become the target of their attempts. So in Texas, I was one of six guys appointed by the state Board of Education to do history and government there and suddenly I'm up on Wall Street Journal, MSNBC is doing specials on how terrible I am, all these things are going after me. And that's fine; I understand that I'm radioactive.

So, this is a lot of fun: I had a national textbook publisher come to me and said "hey, you helped write these standards, why don't you help us do textbooks to reflect those standards?" I said "sure, but just keep my name out of the textbook, don't put me down as one of the editors because if you put me down, they'll go all over the nation talking about how terrible this is." So they kept my name out. Guess what? That public school textbook is now the best-selling public school history textbook in America.

So this history is good. People want this history, they want to get this stuff but what happens is there's a political movement that will try to marginalize us by making us radioactive. I currently now am working with multiple states in doing their history and government standards - I'm not going to say what those states are because they've kept it silent, I'm going to keep it silent.

Barton: America Must Instruct Children In "The Fear Of The Lord"

Today on Believers Voice of Victory, David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that the only way to rejuvenate America’s education system is to instill in kids the “fear of the Lord.” Barton launched his career as a Religious Right activist with the 1989 booklet What Happened in Education?, in which he concluded that a decline in SAT scores was a result of the end of school prayer, and that only Christian teachings in schools could bring SAT scores back up. Barton explained to Copeland, a Prosperity Gospel preacher, what that instilling the “fear of the Lord” in children would require establishing the Bible as the basis of all school curricula:

Barton: This shows you what public education is supposed to look like, the educational system was supposed to come—and it did, these guys started the first public schools in 1642 and cited Bible verses on why they were doing it, they also cited Bible verses on the courses they taught and the way they taught the courses. Now most Christians today, ‘Well we got government schools that’s the way it was supposed to be.’ Really? Show me in the Bible where government’s supposed to do the education, show me how that works, show me what courses government’s supposed to be teaching. See we can’t do that anymore, we don’t use the—we’ve been conformed to the culture, we’ve had public schools for so long that we think that’s the way it is.

Copeland: So now we’ve done then, we’ve gone, into our own—

Barton: Dark ages.



Barton: This book right here, every Bible says, in Proverbs 1:7, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ Now I don’t know why today we think, ‘oh I’m going to know more about the Lord if I fear God,’ we’ve made the fear of the Lord the beginning of spiritual knowledge. He didn’t say that, He said the fear of the Lord’s the beginning of knowledge. If you want education you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good scientist you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good musician—1962, ’63, the U.S. Supreme Court in three decisions said no more fear of God in education, we want education to be secular. All right, that’s a theological issue. How’s that working out? In 1962, ’63, America was number one in the world in literacy, we are now number sixty-five in the world in literacy. We don’t have the fear of the Lord, because guess what, we don’t have knowledge, it goes down.

Sowell: LGBT Anti-Bullying Efforts Are "Propaganda"

Conservative commentator Thomas Sowell writes today in his weekly column that efforts to combat the bullying of LGBT youth are meant to “advance the agenda of homosexual organizations and can turn homosexuality into yet another of the subjects on which words on only one side are permitted.” According to Sowell, anti-bullying efforts are merely a ruse to promulgate “propaganda for politically correct causes that are in vogue”:

Most of the stories about the bullying of gays in schools are about words directed against them, not about their suffering the violence that has long been directed against Asian youngsters or about the failure of the authorities to do anything serious to stop black kids from beating up Asian kids.

Where youngsters are victims of violence, whether for being gay or whatever, that is where the authorities need to step in. No decent person wants to see kids hounded, whether by words or deeds, and whether the kids are gay, Asian or whatever.

But there is still a difference between words and deeds -- and it is a difference we do not need to let ourselves be stampeded into ignoring. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech -- and, like any other freedom, it can be abused.

If we are going to take away every Constitutional right that has been abused by somebody, we are going to end up with no Constitutional rights.



Meanwhile, a law has been passed in California that mandates teaching about the achievements of gays in the public schools. Whether this will do anything to stop either verbal or physical abuse of gay kids is very doubtful.

But it will advance the agenda of homosexual organizations and can turn homosexuality into yet another of the subjects on which words on only one side are permitted. Our schools are already too lacking in the basics of education to squander even more time on propaganda for politically correct causes that are in vogue. We do not need to create special privileges in the name of equal rights.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Meanwhile, Jeffress falsely claims “that there has never been a church in American history that has ever lost its tax-exempt status,” while the not self-aware pastor attacks Barry Lynn for seeking “publicity.”
  • WorldNetDaily’s Jane Chastain can only dream that President Obama will tell the Occupy Wall Street protest, “You have disgraced yourself by your public displays of indecency.”
  • The New York Times looks into Michele Bachmann’s education in biblical law at Oral Roberts University.

Discussing Lawrence King's Murder, Truth In Action Ministries Blames The Victim

After the tragic shooting of Lawrence ‘Larry’ King, the openly gay California student who was shot dead by a classmate in school three years ago, Religious Right activists pounced to defame King and gay rights advocates. Randy Thomasson of Save California blamed “social engineering” and said that King’s sexual orientation and gender expression and the shooting represented the “two wrongs” in the case. Anti-gay author Michael Brown said “gay activism” was responsible for the murder. The trial of King’s shooter ended in a hung jury and will be retried.

Now, in a recently-posted interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, Karen Gushta of Truth in Action Ministries argues that King’s murder demonstrates that “affirming students” is “not a healthy trend.” OneNewsNow writes that attempts to “encourage children to ‘come out’ and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks,” and claims that Brandon McInerney, the defendant, “allegedly shot King,” even though neither party is contesting the facts of the murder.

Gushta told the conservative news site that hate crimes laws and education policy were to blame for King’s brutal death:

A research coordinator says the murder of a "gay" teenage student should serve as an example for why hate crime laws "do nothing to aid in administering justice."



Dr. Karen Gushta, research coordinator for Truth in Action Ministries, points out that hate crime laws did not protect King in this case.

"Hate crime laws do nothing to aid in administering justice," she explains. "They are a solution in the search for problems because what they in actuality do is criminalize thought."

Prosecutors dropped the hate crimes count, stating that they want to "slim the case down" and "narrow the focus." If convicted under the new charges, McInerney could face 50 years to life in prison. Had he been convicted in the first trial, he would have faced 53 years to life.

Gushta warns that policies that encourage children to "come out" and experiment with alternate lifestyles causes physical and mental health risks.

"The trend toward teaching gender identity and affirming students at a young age in transgender identity that's taking place in education, and specifically in California schools, that is not a healthy trend," she contends.

McInerney allegedly shot King once, and shot him again after he fell to the floor. A pretrial hearing is set for November 21.

Values Voter Summit 2011 & America in 2013

As RWW readers know, the Values Voter Summit, the year’s biggest political gathering for the Religious Right, took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.  Every Republican presidential candidate with the exception of Jon Huntsman addressed the summit, evidence of the continuing importance of Religious Right activists and political groups to the GOP. Polls suggest that the Religious Right is about twice as big as the Tea Party, with significant overlap between the two movements. Ron Paul’s campaign packed in enough voters to win the straw poll, but it would be wrong to say he was the favorite of the Values Voter crowd. It was up-and-coming candidate Herman Cain who won the loudest cheers (and took second place).

The two days of speeches from presidential candidates, congressional leaders, and Religious Right activists painted a clear picture of where they’ll try to take the country if they are successful in their 2012 electoral goals.  In their America, banks and corporations would be free from pesky consumer and worker protections; there would be no Environmental Protection Agency and no federal support for education; women would have no access to abortion; gays would be second-class citizens; and for at least some of them, religious minorities would have to know their place and be grateful that they are tolerated in this Christian nation. 
 
Here’s a recap of some major themes from the conference.
 
Religious Bigotry on Parade
 
In one of the most extreme expressions of the “Christian nation” approach to government, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has stated repeatedly that the religious liberty of non-Christians is not protected by the First Amendment.  More specifically, he says Mormons are not protected by the First Amendment.  For whatever reason, VVS organizers scheduled Romney and Fischer back-to-back on Saturday morning. 
 
Before the conference, People For the American Way called on Romney to take on Fischer’s bigotry, which he did, albeit in a vague and tepid manner, criticizing “poisonous” rhetoric without naming Fischer or explaining why his views are poison.  Getting greater media attention were comments by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who in his introduction of Texas Gov. Rick Perry insisted on the importance of electing a “genuine” follower of Christ. Reporters who accurately saw this as a swipe at Romney’s faith asked Jeffress about it, and he labeled Mormonism a cult.  (Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many Christians, including Southern Baptists, believe Mormon theology is anything but.)  Following Romney at the microphone, Fischer doubled down, insisting that the next president has to be a Christian “in the mold of” the founding fathers.  Fischer’s inaccurate sense of history is eclipsed only by his lack of respect for church-state separation and for the Constitution itself – even though he insisted that his religious test for the presidency was really a “political test.” Romney took only four percent in the VVS straw poll, even though he has been leading in recent polls of GOP voters.
 
Beating up on Obama
 
Religious Right leaders routinely denounce President Barack Obama, so it is no surprise that a major theme of the VVS was attacking the president and his policies.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about the president was Mitt Romney’s snide remark that Obama is “the conservative movement’s top recruiter.”    Among the nastiest came from virtue-monger Bill Bennett, who said, “if you voted for him last time to prove you are not a racist, you must vote against him this time to prove you are not an idiot.” Rep. Anne Buerkle, one of the Tea Party freshmen, said flat out that the president is not concerned about what is best for the country. 
 
Health care and foreign policy were top policy targets.  Many speakers denounced “Obamacare,” and most of the presidential candidates promised to make dismantling health care reform a top priority. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Religious Right favorite who is leading a legal challenge to the health care reform law, said that if the Supreme Court did not overturn it, Americans would go from being citizens to subjects.  Just about every speaker attacked President Obama for not being strong enough in support of Israel, and repeated a favorite right-wing talking point by pledging to “never apologize” for U.S. actions abroad.
 
Gays as Enemies of Liberty
 
It is clear that a Republican takeover of the Senate and White House would put advances toward equality for LGBT Americans in peril.  Speaker after speaker denounced the recent repeal of the ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers in the armed forces; many also attacked marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And many portrayed liberty as a zero-sum game, insisting that advances toward equality posed a dire threat to religious liberty. Rep. Mike Pompeo said “You cannot use our military to promote social ideals that do not reflect the values of our nation,” concluding his remarks with a call for the election of more Republicans, saying “ride to the sounds of the guns and send us more troops.”
Another member of the 2010 freshman class – Rep. Vicky Hartzler – attacked the Obama administration for “trying to use the military to advance their social agenda,” saying, “It’s wrong and it must be stopped.” Predictably, the AFA’s Fischer was the most vitriolic and insisted that the country needs a president “who will treat homosexual behavior not as a political cause at all but as a threat to public health.”
 
Loving Wall Street, Hating Wall Street Protesters
 
On the same day that moving pictures of Kol Nidre services at the site of Occupy Wall Street protests made the rounds on the Internet, Values Voter Summit speakers portrayed the protests as dangerous and violent.  Others simply mocked the protesters without taking seriously the objections being raised to growing inequality and economic hardship in America.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denounced the “growing mobs” associated with the protests and decried “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” (Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear the rest of the speakers).  Glenn Beck denounced “Jon Stewart Marxism” and warned that the protests were the sign of an approaching “storm of biblical proportions” in which “the violent left” would smash, tear down, kill, bankrupt, and destroy.  Pundit Laura Ingraham simply made fun of the protesters and held up her own “hug the rich” sign.  Rising star Herman Cain defended Wall Street, blaming the nation’s economic crisis on policymakers, not reckless and irresponsible financiers.  Nobody wanted to regulate the financiers; speakers called for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank law. 
 
A number of speakers promoted Christian Reconstructionist notions of “Biblical economics,” with Star Parker declaring that “this whole notion of redistribution of wealth is inconsistent with scripture” and calling for the selection of a candidate with commitment to the free market according to the Bible.  Ron Paul also insisted “debt is not a political principle.”  The AFA’s Bryan Fischer said that liberalism is based on violating two of the Ten Commandments, namely thou shall not steal, and thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.  Liberalism, he said, is “driven by angry, bitter, acquisitive greed for the wealth of productive Americans.” 
 
No Love for Libertarians
 
A major theme at last year’s Values Voter Summit, as at other recent Religious Right political events, was an effort to make social-issue libertarians unwelcome in the conservative movement by insisting that you cannot legitimately claim to be a fiscal conservative if you are not also pushing “traditional family values.”  The same theme was sounded this year by the very first speaker, Tony Perkins.  Another, Joe Carter, took a shot at gay conservatives, saying it was not possible to be conservative and for gay marriage – it simply made you a “liberal who likes tax cuts.”  Carter said “social conservative” should be redundant. Ingraham echoed the theme, calling for an end to conservative modifiers (social, fiscal, national security) and, echoing popular Christian writer C.S. Lewis, called for a commitment to “mere conservatism.”  There were far fewer mentions of the Tea Party movement itself at this year’s VVS, perhaps owing to the movement’s unpopularity – or to the fact that the GOP itself has essentially become one big Tea Party party.
 
Crying Wolf on Religious Persecution
 
Religious Right leaders routinely energize movement activists with dire warnings about threats to religious liberty and the alleged religious persecution of Christians in America.  William Bennett said liberals are bigoted against “people who publicly love their God, who publicly love their country.”  Retired Gen. William Boykin said Christians are facing the greatest persecution ever in America.   The American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow warned that the next president will probably select two Supreme Court justices, and that if it isn’t a conservative president, our Judeo-Christian values could be “eliminated.”  Crying wolf about persecution of Christians in America is offensive given the very real suffering of people in countries that do not enjoy religious freedom.  Several speakers addressed the case of a Christian pastor facing death in Iran.  That is persecution; having your political tactics challenged or losing a court case is not.
 
America is Exceptional; Europe Sucks
 
Republican strategists decided a couple of years ago that “American exceptionalism” would be a campaign theme in 2010 and 2012, and we heard plenty of talk about it at the Values Voter Summit.  Among the many who spoke about American exceptionalism was Rep. Steve King, who said “this country was ordained and built by His hand,” that the Declaration of Independence was written with divine guidance, and that God moved the founding fathers around the globe like chess pieces .  Liberals, said the Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, don’t share a belief in American exceptionalism or the American dream. Many speakers contrasted a freedom-loving, God-fearing America to socialist, post-Christian Europe.  Rick Perry said “those in the White House” don’t believe in American exceptionalism; they’d rather emulate the failed policies of Europe.  Gen. Boykin declared Europe “hopelessly lost.”
 
Smashing the Regulatory State
 
The anti-government, anti-regulatory fervor of billionaire right-wing funders like the Koch brothers was on vibrant display at the VVS.  Without the slightest nod to the fact that regulating the behavior of corporations’ treatment of workers, consumers, and the environment is in any way beneficial, a member of a Heritage Foundation panel said conservatives’ goal should be to “break the back” of the “regulatory state.”  Some presidential candidates vowed to halt every regulation issued during the Obama administration.  Michele Bachmann said her goal was to “dismantle” the bureaucracy.
 
Judging Judges
 
Many speakers criticized judges for upholding abortion rights, church-state separation, and gay rights. Newt Gingrich took these attacks to a whole new level, calling for right-wing politicians to provoke a  constitutional crisis in which the legislative and executive branch would ignore court rulings they didn’t like.  He called the notion of “judicial supremacy” an “affront to the American system of self-government.” Aside from Gingrich’s very dubious constitutional theory, the speech seemed out of place at a conference in which speakers had been calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
 
Deconstructing the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’
 
VVS speakers love quoting the Declaration of Independence, but some are clearly a little troubled with the notion that the “pursuit of happiness” is an inalienable right, one that might apply, for example, to happy, loving gay couples.  Rick Santorum said that the founders’ understanding of “happiness” meant “the morally right thing” and doing what God wants.  Steve King said the  pursuit of happiness was not like a tailgate party, but the pursuit of excellence in moral and spiritual development.  Michele Bachman has equated the pursuit of happiness with private property.
 
Notably weird speeches
 
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel gave a meandering address that moved from U.S. policy on Israel to the war on Islamic radicalism to an attack on the United Nations to denunciations of sexologist Alfred Kinsey and humanist/educator John Dewey for undermining western civilization. He warned against conservatives using rhetoric that might push the growing Latino population into the maw of the “leftist machine,” making an aside about Latinos whose names end in “z” having a special connection to Israel.
 
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ended up taking third place in the straw poll, seemed personally hurt that conservative evangelicals weren’t rallying around him given all that he had done for them and the price he had paid for it.  He whined, “Don’t you want a president who’s comfortable in his shoes talking about these issues?”
 
Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that people who support marriage equality or legal abortion don’t do so because they have a value system supporting those things, but because they want to spite the Religious Right – “because they know it’s precious to us.”
 
Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck gave a trademark lurching speech contrasting visceral anger with his recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s “with malice toward none.” The speech was long on mockery of Wall Street protestors and on the messianic narcissism that was on display at his Lincoln Memorial rally last year.  “We need to give America the same choice” that Moses gave Israel, he said: good or evil, light or dark, life or death, freedom or slavery.  He said America is in a religious war, a race war, a class war, and other wars.  In one breath he insisted that the nation “must return to God” and talked about the “country’s salvation” – and in the next he denounced the notion of “collective salvation,” which he has elsewhere attributed to President Obama and denounced as evil and satanic.
 

WallBuilders Enlists Christopher Columbus & Reconstructionist Eidsmoe in Christian Nation Crusade

David Barton’s WallBuilders is tireless in pushing its “Christian nation” version of American history.   Today it encourages its supporters to “Celebrate Columbus Day!” and to read John Eidsmoe’s Columbus and Cortez: Conquerors for Christ.  

Eidsmoe is the Christian Reconstructionist cited by Michele Bachmann as her mentor and major influence.  He is also a colleague of Roy Moore, who lost his job as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court when he refused to obey federal court orders to remove a Ten Commandments memorial he had installed in the state courthouse.

As we have reported, Eidsmoe believes that feminists “violate the normal order” that God put in place for husbands to head households, that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society,” that gays will turn the military into a “cesspool of immorality,” and that public education is brainwashing students to believe in secularism and evolution.  Ryan Lizza recently reported that Eidsmoe was uninvited from a Tea Party event last year after addressing an event in Alabama commemorating Secession Day and telling an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”

Eidsmoe’s book on Columbus has an introduction by Peter Marshall, another “Christian Nation” advocate who served with Wallbuilders’ founder David Barton as an “expert” to Religious Right members of the Texas Board of Education pushing massive revisions to social science textbooks.  Marshall writes:

In his customary careful and thorough manner, John Eidsmoe has pierced through the obfuscating fog of twentieth-century humanist bias and judgments that have obscured the truth about two of the most controversial figures in American history, Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortez. Using earlier sources, he has presented us with a well-researched, even-handed, and fair treatment of both their Christian motives for their incredible exploits, and the very real mistakes they made .This is a valuable contribution toward restoring a true Christian perspective on our American past.

WallBuilders’ Columbus Day email celebrates Columbus’ belief that he was being led by the Holy Spirit and complains that modern scholarship has denigrated Columbus specifically because of his religious motivation:

It is especially because of Columbus’ religious motivations and convictions that today he has become a villain for most modern educators and writers, who regularly attack and condemn him.

That echoes Eidsmoe’s book, which claims, “A scholarly desire to correct the historical record is not the primary reason [for modern criticism of Columbus]…No, the attack is directed toward values – biblical values and the Christian civilization that is based on biblical values.”

Eidsmoe writes:

The reason may of us find history boring is that we fail to see the sovereign hand of God at work as history unfolds. The way you look at history depends in large part upon your world view….For the Christian, history is, or should be, the unfolding of God’s plan for the human race. For the Christian, the discovery, exploration and settlement of the Western Hemisphere takes on a whole new dimension of meaning as God works through imperfect vessels like Columbus, Cortez….and others who bring salvation to the inhabitants of the Western world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

He decries the effort to “move this nation away from its Christian foundations” in order to “remake America into a secular or pagan society….If the Christian professions of Christopher Columbus and others can be proven insincere, if their deeds can be downplayed and their sins and shortcomings magnified, then this element of America’s Christian past can be discredited and set aside.”

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Pressure Begins to Yield Results as Senate Takes Steps to Confirm 10 Judicial Nominees.
  • Towleroad: Anti-Gay Activists Using Child Molestation to Fool People Into Signing Petition Against California LGBT History Bill.
  • Dallas Voice: Group says FW teacher was harassed by student he punished for saying homosexuality is wrong.
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Education Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 09/27/2013, 12:50pm
A Kansas-based group that “promotes the religious rights of parents, children, and taxpayers” is challenging the state’s science standards because they include the teaching of evolution, which the group claims is a religion and therefore should be excluded from science class. As the AP reports, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) claims that public schools “promote a ‘non-theistic religious worldview’ by allowing only ‘materialistic’ or ‘atheistic’ explanations to scientific questions.” The group argues that by... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/23/2013, 5:15pm
During her daily radio commentary today, Linda Harvey of Mission America once again took aim at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which she accused of leading an “assault on our children” by “promoting homosexuality to kids.” She asserted that GLSEN wants kids to engage in “high-risk behaviors” even though “none of these boys is born homosexual.” She also went after the Human Rights Campaign for hosting a “Time to Thrive” conference for its Youth Well-Being Project. “The problem is, kids won’t thrive if we... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/19/2013, 1:10pm
Ron Paul appeared on the 700 Club today to promote his new curriculum for homeschoolers, of which televangelist Pat Robertson is a big fan. Robertson said that Paul’s curriculum, which includes instructions on “the Biblical principles of self-government” and “a thorough understanding of Austrian school economics,” is necessary to stop “indoctrination” in public education. “Don’t the so-called progressives and whatever, don’t they really want education to indoctrinate children. It’s not just a question of educating they want to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 09/17/2013, 3:15pm
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality joined Mission America’s Linda Harvey over the weekend to discuss how groups like GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) are attempting to use schools to make kids gay and transgender, which they suggested would increase the rate of HIV. Responding to GLSEN’s Transgender Students Rights initiative, Harvey asked: “Why in the world are we doing this to kids? You know, a self-destructive society would do these kinds of things, wouldn’t they? And look at us.” “Yes. A healthy society... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/12/2013, 4:55pm
In a letter sent to the State Board of Education, Jimmy Gollihar of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology describes the lengths to which creationists are going to undermine science and advance Creationism in Texas classrooms, as well as the help they are receiving from board chair Barbara Cargill. While the panels reviewing science textbooks are supposed to be independent of the school board, Cargill worked closely with creationism advocates on the panels, leading Gollihar to note that Cargill aided “those who might reasonably be regarded as... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/11/2013, 2:00pm
In last month’s edition of The Liberator [PDF], Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver blasted public school as “dangerous, anti-God indoctrination camps” that “threaten our nation’s very survival.” Pleading with parents to homeschool their children in a column titled “Stealth Creation of Government Indoctrination Camps Underway,” Staver lamented that “millions of helpless people are taken there on busses to be brainwashed and victimized” in “repressive” schools controlled by “secularists, humanists, and socialists... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/11/2013, 11:00am
Linda Harvey of Mission America is deeply troubled that Dr. Eliza Byard of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network addressed the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary on the March on Washington. According to Harvey, “GLSEN’s idea of promoting homosexuality and gender confusion to kids is deeply harmful and these behaviors are certainly not anything close to civil rights.” She took it one step further by reiterating her belief that GLSEN and similar groups focusing on LGBT-inclusive education actually promote abuse. “These actions are pure evil and should be... MORE