A judge has ordered a graduation ceremony for a public high school in Texas to be changed to exclude planned opening and closing prayers. While this adheres to the Constitution of the United States, that's not good enough for Fox & Friends who, today, hosted one of the would-be-praying graduates and his parents to push back against the separation of church and state. The show did not mention that there was no prohibition against students making religious references during their individual speeches. This follows Fox's long history of fabricating a "war on Christians."
work to install a Bible curriculum into your public school district. Yes, it's legal, constitutional and being placed right now in thousands of schools across the country. A brand-new electronic version of the curriculum is available this week. The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools' curriculum has been voted into 572 school districts (2,086 high schools) in 38 states, from Alaska and California to Pennsylvania and Florida. Ninety-three percent of school boards that have been approached to date with the curriculum have voted to implement it because the course helps students understand the Bible's influence and impact on history, literature, our legal and educational systems, art, archaeology and other parts of civilization. In this elective class, students are required to read through their textbook -- the Bible.
According to a 2008 Austin American-Statesman article, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools has been criticized by religious scholars for "sloppy work," factual errors, and for portraying conservative protestant Christianity as the "only true religion":
Legal issues aside, [University of Texas biblical studies professor Steven] Friesen said the National Council curriculum is "sloppy work" with factual, historical mistakes; dubious sources; and a shallow understanding of the academic discipline.
A review of the curriculum published in an academic journal last year found that it assumes that conservative Protestant Christianity is the "only true religion" and that the Bible is "infallible and thus historically accurate."
"As a whole, it does little to describe the Bible in literature, and it presents a particular view of biblical history that may push the bounds of what is acceptable in a public-school setting," wrote the authors, one of whom is Kent Richards, director of the Society of Biblical Literature.
And Chuck Norris claims this curriculum is a corrective to schools functioning as as "indoctrination camps."
From the October 15 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
From the October 15 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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As Washington Monthly's Steve Benen notes, former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News host Mike "Huckabee doesn't know what he's talking about."
Perhaps Politico should have taken that into consideration before uncritically repeating Huckabee's false claim that the economic recovery package is "anti-religious." Though the provision Huckabee cited is correct -- the bill would not provide money to be used on a religious "school or department of divinity" -- Politico did not note that, contrary to Huckabee's suggestion that this provision is a consequence of the liberal trifecta of Pelosi-Reid-Obama, such provisions were included in bills passed when the Republicans were in the majority, as Media Matters has noted.
Look, if Mike Huckabee doesn't like the stimulus bill, fine. But to tell people the legislation is "anti-religious" is just insane. Or, to put it another way, Huckabee is bearing false witness, which as he may have heard, is generally frowned upon.
Regular readers know the story by now, but if you're just joining us, this myth has been making the rounds in right-wing circles for about a week. Originally, the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing legal group formed by TV preacher Pat Robertson, said the stimulus bill includes a provision that would prohibit "religious groups and organizations from using" buildings on college campuses. Soon after, religious right groups and right-wing blogs were up in arms, demanding that lawmakers fix the "anti-Christian" language of the bill. Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network helped get the word out to the far-right base about the nefarious measure. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) actually tried to have the provision removed from the bill.
There was, however, one small problem: there was no such measure. The ACLJ doesn't know how to read legislation, and didn't realize that the standard language in the bill simply blocks spending for on-campus buildings that are used primarily for religion (like a chapel, for example). This same language has been part of education spending bills for 46 years. It's just the law, and it's never been controversial.
The Time mag writer seems to be reading way too much into the Obamas' decision to send their daughters to the Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C. Gibbs claims it revolves around the school's Quaker background and then quickly gets bogged down in Quaker dogma:
Unlike many Quaker schools, Sidwell is not attached to a particular Friends meeting, but many of its trustees are Quakers and the emphasis on open-minded pursuit of excellence and understanding is enforced by weekly Meetings for Worship.
The headline also suggests Time, which received no insight from the Obamas about this choice, can read minds: "Why Sasha and Malia Will Go to Sidewell Friends".
In truth, Time has no idea why the Obamas chose Sidwell Friends. And the magazine ought to probably just say so.
On Hardball, Chuck Todd falsely claimed that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit "wants to get rid of the Pledge" of Allegiance. In fact, in Newdow v. U.S. Congress, a 9th Circuit panel did not decide that the entire Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, but rather "h[e]ld that ... the 1954 Act adding the words 'under God' to the Pledge ... violate[s] the Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment.
Bill O'Reilly once again resurrected his misleading claim that a Wisconsin elementary school "sang a whole different lyric to 'Silent Night,' " erroneously attributing the school's changed lyrics to political correctness. In fact, the new lyrics were merely part of a 1988 Christmas play called The Little Tree's Christmas Gift.
On both The Radio Factor and The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed a Texas school district "told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors." The school district has since released an official statement refuting O'Reilly's false contention.