Promoting theocracy and fear

Most of you, I am sure, have never heard of Randy Rives. He is a rightwing businessman from Odessa who ran for the State Board of Education last spring but was defeated by Bob Craig of Lubbock, the more moderate incumbent, in the Republican primary.

He ran. He lost. End of story, right? Not exactly.

Rives apparently is still on a mission to “protect” the public schoolchildren of Texas from too much exposure to Islam. And, in case you haven’t heard or guessed by now, his likeminded advocates on the State Board of Education are ready to give him a forum.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the SBOE will consider a resolution next week warning publishers not to promote a proIslamic, antiChristian viewpoint in world history textbooks. The resolution was prompted by Rives.

A preliminary draft states that “diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross proIslamic, antiChristian distortions in social studies texts” across the United States and that some previous social studies textbooks in Texas also have been “tainted” with proIslamic, antiChristian views.

Some conservatives also claim that Middle Easterners are buying financial interests in textbook publishers.

The books about which the draft resolution complains no longer are being used in Texas schools. And, if adopted, the resolution won’t be binding on future boards adopting new textbooks.

The rightwingers pushing the resolution contend they want “balance” in the historical treatment of religion in the classroom, when, in truth, they do not. They want about as much “balance” as they gave to Hispanic and black historical figures in the recent rewrite of Texas’ social studies curriculum standards.

This is a slap at Islam, a religion practiced peacefully by millions of people worldwide, including many Texans. The resolution is promoted by a group of fearmongers who also deny the separation of church and state because they believe wrongly that the United States should be a Christian theocracy.

The main thing from which our school kids need protection is the State Board of Education.


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