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Texas Considers Teaching America’s Religious Heritage in Schools

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By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 30 2009 04:25 PM EDT

The Texas Board of Education is debating whether to modify its American history curriculum to acknowledge the influence that religion had on the country’s founding.

Supporters of amplifying the religious aspects of U.S. history in Texas public schools argue that it is simply telling the truth about how America was founded.

Peter Marshall, an evangelical minister and president of Peter Marshall Ministries, is one of six experts appointed by the Texas Board of Education to review the state’s social studies curriculum.

Marshall says the “foremost problem” he sees with the current curriculum is that it does not give enough credit to “the biblical motivations of America’s settlers and founders.”

Pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact (Library of Congress)

Pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact (Library of Congress) CLICK TO READ MAYFLOWER COMPACT

“Our children need to know the truth about how our country got started,” Marshall said to ABCNews.com

“You never read about how the founding fathers were nearly all Christian believers and that it is their biblical world view that shaped the way they thought and achieved what they did,” he said.

Other experts argue that students must understand that the religious faith of the country’s founders was a big influence on the formation of the Constitution.

However, the American Humanist Association fought back with an open letter to the Texas State Board of Education on Thursday urging it not to rewrite the state’s social studies curriculum in a way where the United States would be taught as having a Christian heritage.

“A troubling trend has developed over the past few years by religious conservatives to revise history in order to portray the United States as a Christian nation,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, in a statement.

“But the United States government is secular and our society is made up of people from all faiths and non-faith. It’s dishonest and inaccurate to teach our kids anything else.”

The current debate has attracted national attention because the decision of the Texas Board of Education is expected to affect school curriculums beyond its borders. As the second largest school system in the nation, behind California, a decision to expand the role that religion played in U.S. history could affect the textbooks used by schools nationwide. Major textbook publishers, experts explained, would likely modify their books to reflect the needs of one of their biggest clients.

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4 Responses to “Texas Considers Teaching America’s Religious Heritage in Schools”

  1. “A troubling trend has developed over the past few years by religious conservatives to revise history in order to portray the United States as a Christian nation.” Wait a minute — it's pretty clear who wants to revise history here, and it *ain't* the “religious conservatives.”

    Unbelievable. A lot of people seem to think they can make something true just by talking like it is.

  2. The point is that as far as teaching history, it doesn't matter what religion may or may not have motivated such men as our founding fathers. It is the actual history itself that is supposed to be taught. It is simply a weak guise to get religion into the textbooks. After all, it is an evangelical minister who is proposing this who has no formal training in history whatsoever. You think he might have a personal agenda to fill ? How disingenuous.

    I guess we should also mention that the early American novelists, poets, scientists and mathematic leaders were motivated by the Christian religion as well religion .Does it really matter what religion supposedly motivated the great early American chemist, Robert Hare. Hmmm, think I see a pattern here. Two of the greatest American inventors were Franklin and Jefferson.Should we make the point that they weren't Christians ?

  3. The point is that as far as teaching history, it doesn't matter what religion may or may not have motivated such men as our founding fathers. It is the actual history itself that is supposed to be taught. It is simply a weak guise to get religion into the textbooks. After all, it is an evangelical minister who is proposing this who has no formal training in history whatsoever. You think he might have a personal agenda to fill ? How disingenuous.

    I guess we should also mention that the early American novelists, poets, scientists and mathematic leaders were motivated by the Christian religion as well religion .Does it really matter what religion supposedly motivated the great early American chemist, Robert Hare. Hmmm, think I see a pattern here. Two of the greatest American inventors were Franklin and Jefferson.Should we make the point that they weren't Christians ?