The Texas textbook dustup last year ended with the Texas Board of Education adopting new textbook standards that emphasize the role of conservative and Christian organizations/people like Phyllis Schlafly and the NRA in American history, stress the superiority of American capitalism, remove Thomas Jefferson as one of the philosophers to study (not Christian enough, y'know; he was replaced with several Christian theologist/philosophers), and require "teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders." Abused by your partner? Take responsibility for your life choices! >.< It was widely seen as conservatives attempting to rewrite history - or, if you listen to their version, "correcting bias." Damn history, all liberal and shit.
One of the things the new standards required, apparently, was emphasis on the phrase "the laws of nature and nature's god" in the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.Now take a look at the following clip.
[A panel discussion in a large college classroom; three white men and a white woman sit behind the table at the front of the room. The woman, Cynthia Dunbar, is speaking.] We have a Biblically-illiterate society that does not even know...they're churchgoers only. I call them CHINOs - Christians in name only. [audience laughs] And that's what we have in our society, so that our laws reflect what our underlying worldview is. That's why we were framed as a nation, on the "laws of nature and nature's God." One of the things I required in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills education requirement was that they had to learn certain things from our Declaration of Independence, which by the way, textbooks have a shelf life of 10 years, and this will impact nationally, so for the next ten years, the students have to learn the Declaration of Independence, "self-evident truths," "inalienable rights," and "the laws of nature and nature's God." [break] What are "the laws of nature and nature's God"? Why did Jefferson pick that term, as opposed to "natural law", which was the Enlightenment/French Revolution standard? The "laws of nature" are the will of our Maker. And because of the fallen state of Man, we have to have the laws of nature's God revealed through the Holy Scriptures.
So because we have a "Biblically-illiterate society" full of "Christians in name only", and need "the laws of nature's God revealed through the Holy Scriptures" to combat the "fallen state of Man", Cynthia Dunbar and her compatriots on the Texas State Board of Education felt entitled to rewrite textbook standards to promote their God-centered worldview to every child in the state? What the unholy fuck? And I do mean unholy fuck. What about those who are not even "Christians in name only" but are deliberately and entirely UN-Christian? Do we need the "laws of [the Christian] god" revealed to us through their scripture, too?
Even if their answer is yes - and I'm sure it would be, with that whole "go forth and make disciples of all nations [whether they want to be disciples or not]" thing - while we're studying America's foundational documents, let's fast forward to the Constitution, Amendment 1, of which the first section reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;Given that, using an arm of the government - which education systems funded by the taxpayer's money and run by elected officials certainly are - to promote "Biblical literacy", and defining "the laws of nature and nature's God" as taught in school classrooms as "the will of our Maker...revealed to us through the Holy Scriptures," is a pretty fucking blatant violation of the Constitution, wouldn't you say?
And the only way a person so deeply concerned with making sure the children of this country are accurately educated on our history and founding would be able to overlook such an egregious contradiction...would be if zie genuinely desires Christian supremacy and theocracy.
This is why I say the Christian Dominionists here in the US scare me more than the boogeyman of Sharia law. Sharia law is nowhere near becoming reality in this country. But Dominionists like Cynthia Dunbar are here, they are real, and they are already in power. And that is truly scary.