By David Waters
The Texas state board of education, which last May scrubbed “anti-Christian bias” from history textbooks that have yet to be written, voted 7-6 to adopt a resolution Friday to reject “pro-Islamic distortions” in textbooks that are no longer being used.
Remember, this is the government body that opened its May session with a Christian prayer on behalf of “a Christian land governed by Christian principles,” a prayer made “in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Does the Texas state board of education have a pro-Christian or anti-Muslim bias? Should we have to worry about the pro- or anti-religious biases of duly elected or appointed public officials?
Apparently, Texas does.
The anti-“pro-Islamic” resolution was written by a conservative Christian (Randy Rives) who isn’t on the board and who lost his bid to be elected to the board earlier this year to moderate Republican Bob Craig — one of three Republicans on the board to vote against the resolution.
The resolution was based on facts the board declined to check for accuracy and about which there is some dispute. For example, the resolution cites one world history textbook as having devoted “120 student text lines to Christian beliefs, practices, and holy writings, but 248 to those of Islam.” But, as the Texas Freedom Network pointed out, the resolution ignores entire sections of the textbook devoted to the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Reformation, and other sections that discuss Christianity.
Seems like a textbook case of bias.
“To base the resolution on the research of a few people is kind of risky, if you ask me,” Patricia Hardy, a former history teacher and one of three Republicans who voted against the resolution, told The New York Times.
Risky is one word for it.
“Board members rejected numerous opportunities today to pass a resolution that called on publishers to treat all religions with balance and accuracy in their textbooks,” TFN president Kathy Miller said in a statement. “It is hard not to conclude that the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims.”
Is that what’s at work here? Or are we merely talking about the fears and bigotry of seven board members?