Texas Board of Education Approves Textbooks Citing Bible’s Influence on Founding Fathers

textbook pdAUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Board of Education has approved a number of proposed textbooks that had generated controversy this year over their assertion that the Scriptures were influential in the founding of the nation.

The 10-5 vote on Friday was completely along party lines, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats in opposition. In all, 89 books and software programs were approved, with six, created by Worldview Software, being tossed. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also withdrew a book at the last minute.

As previously reported, opponents of the textbooks took issue with a number of factors, including its linking of terrorism to Islam, its challenge to the contention that humans are responsible for climate change and its assertion that the laws of Moses were an influence on America’s Founding Fathers. Others are cited as influencing the founding of the nation include Thomas Acquinas, John Calvin and English judge William Blackstone, known for his respected “Blackstone’s Commentaries” on the law.

“We are deeply concerned over the ahistorical nature of those representations,” Jennifer Graber, a religious studies professor at the University of Texas at Austin, remarked at a meeting last Tuesday,  stating that the textbooks “exaggerate and even invent claims” about Christianity’s influence on the founding of the nation.

She especially took issue with the suggestion that Moses had anything to do with America’s founding.

“I think for many of us who are academic historians, it’s a very ahistorical connection to make,” she told NPR. “Moses is not someone who is quoted in the founding documents.”

But the Republican members of the board didn’t see the reference as an issue.

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“Moses was not a Founding Father. However, I believe he did influence our Founding Fathers,” said board member Ken Mercer.

The consideration of the textbooks comes after the adoption of new curriculum standards in 2010, which was stated to be an effort by the board to counter the liberal bias that they perceived to be prevalent in schools.

“I don’t think there is any reason to fear these books,” board member Thomas Ratliff stated Friday, according to Reuters. “I think by and large they are going to be very good books.”

But others expressed displeasure after learning that the books had been approved.

“What we saw today shows very clearly that the process the State Board of Education uses to adopt textbooks is a sham,” Kathy Miller, president of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, told reporters. “This board adopted textbooks with numerous late changes that the public had little opportunity to review and comment on and that even board members themselves admitted they had not read.”

“The standards suggest that slavery was only the third most important contributing factor to the Civil War, which we all know is ridiculous,” she said.

“[L]et us not forget the religious character of our origin,” American statesman Daniel Webster declared during his famous “Plymouth Oration” in 1820. “Our fathers were brought hither for their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political or literary.”

“Let us cherish these sentiments,” he continued, “and extend this influence still more widely, in the full conviction that [it] is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity.”


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  • James Grimes

    “…all Democrats in opposition.” This is not surprising. This political party has removed God from its language and is trying to remove anything biblical from its rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with recognizing the contributions of Christian thought or the contributions of the Christian Founding Fathers. Of course, we must also recognize the contributions of the Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious groups who helped establish this nation.

    • The Last Trump

      Christianity is SO feared by these people that they’ve actually been desperate enough to attempt to re-write the history books without it. Did they actually think nobody would notice? These liberal Democrats just seem to have no shame or honour.

      • James Grimes

        Democrats, Atheists… All the same ilk.

  • Bolvon72

    Well, I guess when the christian’s own biblical history is unraveling in the face of reality, they have to try and rewrite actual history.

  • Jennifer

    The Dems want to remove God from everything. How ridiculous can you get, especially when it’s our God/Creator that gives us our rights. When you remove the Creator you take that away and put your rights in the hands of other humans. God gave us these inalienable rights, not other men who feel like they know better how you should live your life. Our Creator gives us these rights, not the Government!! These textbooks are simply making sure that future generations know that so they don’t become slaves to the elite in power.

    • KenS

      I wonder how many of these liberals will realize that you just paraphrased a line from a document that the founding fathers penned (God gave us these inalienable rights)? and if they can name said document?

      • Tim Raynor

        I’m a registered Independent, but it’s called the Declaration of Independence you’re referring to. Nevertheless, it has no legal standing on the laws of our nation. Our country’s legal system and laws derive from the Constitution, which makes no reference to god, Jesus, the Bible or Christianity. The DOI is just a document separating us from England and nothing more.

        • Bolvon72

          Thank you, beat me to it.

        • Larry Linn

          Well said.

        • The Last Trump

          Except of course, that little fact that witnesses, judges, and even presidents are sworn in over THE HOLY BIBLE. Judges, folks. And the political leaders who form and pass legislation. All swear to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with their hands over His revered Word. Clearly indicting that the laws revered in the Bible superseded our own. But yeah, other that THAT! Please! Been reading too many liberal textbooks, my friend.

          • Tim Raynor

            You do realize there is no law requiring you to place your hand on a bible or swear to any god? Plenty of witnesses in court cases have refused to and the 14th amendment states no religious test shall be taken to hold a public office. You most likely won’t see refusals too often because most people are Christian or some other religion, so most folks don’t have a problem with it. Plus, politicians don’t want to appear godless and risk losing votes. Nevertheless, it’s not a legal requirement, nor is anyone forced to do it.

          • The Last Trump

            The fact that they do speaks volumes. To believe that America was not founded on Christian values is to pretend. You don’t make the Bible the symbol of truth to be sworn over, optional or not, in a non-Christian country. Any argument to the contrary is baseless and desperate. And there are scores of history books that prove the point. Really no need to argue the point any further. Whatever America once was she is no longer. 🙁

          • Phipps Mike

            “the laws revered in the Bible superseded our own. ”
            wrong, our laws were from the Saxons. Look it up.

        • KenS

          My comment is relevant here because this article is about the influence God had on the founding fathers, not whether or not God is mentioned in the constitution

        • http://www.remnantofgod.org/ John1429dotorg

          Really?

          “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” – William Penn

          Preamble of 50 States

          Alabama 1901, Preamble – We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God , do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

          Alaska 1956, Preamble – We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

          Arizona 1911, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this
          Constitution.

          Arkansas 1874, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing
          our own form of government…

          California 1879, Preamble – We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.

          Colorado 1876, Preamble – We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

          Connecticut 1818, Preamble – The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

          Delaware 1897, Preamble – Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

          Florida 1885, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution.

          Georgia 1777, Preamble – We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

          Hawaii 1959, Preamble – We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.

          Idaho 1889, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

          Illinois 1870, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

          Indiana 1851, Preamble – We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.

          Iowa 1857, Preamble – We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution.

          Kansas 1859, Preamble – We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

          Kentucky 1891, Preamble – We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties…

          Louisiana 1921, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

          Maine 1820, Preamble – We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity … and imploring His aid and direction.

          Maryland 1776, Preamble – We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…

          Massachusetts 1780, Preamble – We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe…in the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction

          Michigan 1908, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.

          Minnesota, 1857, Preamble – We, the people of the S tate of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

          Mississippi 1890, Preamble – We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

          Missouri 1845, Preamble – We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and
          grateful for His goodness . establish this Constitution …

          Montana 1889, Preamble – We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution …

          Nebraska 1875, Preamble – We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution.

          Nevada 1864, Preamble – We the people of the State of
          Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution

          New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. – Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

          New Jersey 1844, Preamble – We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

          New Mexico 1911, Preamble – We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty.

          New York 1846, Preamble – We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

          North Carolina 1868, Preamble – We the people of the State of
          North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those .

          North Dakota 1889, Preamble – We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…

          Ohio 1852, Preamble – We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful
          to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common

          Oklahoma 1907, Preamble – Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty … establish this ..

          Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2 – All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..

          Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble – We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

          Rhode Island 1842, Preamble – We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

          South Carolina, 1778, Preamble – We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

          South Dakota 1889, Preamble – We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties …

          Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. – That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

          Texas 1845, Preamble – We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of
          God.

          Utah 1896, Preamble – Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

          Vermont 1777, Preamble – Whereas all government ought to … enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence
          has bestowed on man ..

          Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI. – Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator .. can be directed only by Reason … and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other .

          Washington 1889, Preamble – We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.

          West Virginia 1872, Preamble – Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we,
          the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God

          Wisconsin 1848, Preamble – We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility

          Wyoming 1890, Preamble – We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious

          • BludBaut

            I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find anything to appreciate about you, but I appreciate that post!

    • Phipps Mike

      ” it’s our God/Creator that gives us our rights”
      what have YOU been smoking? God is NOT down here to stop ANY oppression and in fact, fundamentalists USE GODS NAME to oppress others.

  • Phipps Mike

    “which was stated to be an effort by the board to counter the liberal bias that they perceived to be prevalent in schools.”
    First, I really don’t see the total harm in the passing of this new curriculum, Parents are responsible for fine tuning their children’s education by associating it to real world issues and facts. I have heard TOO MANY times from Conservatives that the school system and including colleges are too liberal. This would offer the OTHER side of the story and it makes for good convo between child and parent at the end of the school day.
    One would think though that this accusation of being “biased” is really a complaint about some of the REAL things that happened in history that Conservatives tried to hide.
    Such as the Trail of Tears that killed so many Native Americans so white man could steal a lot the gold that was in the place the native Americans lived. The fact about how many natives here died from the diseases brought over by Europeans, and that the Titanic sunk BECAUSE rich people had pre-bought air time to radio their families back home. When info was being radioed to the Titanic, it was N OT received because of those rich people on the radios,

  • BarkingDawg

    The great thing about modern book publishing methods is that this no longer impacts any state other than Texas.