Fox on board with paranoid claim that Texas textbooks have "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian" bias
Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG
After spending the summer stoking anti-Muslim fear and outrage, Fox News is now promoting a resolution just adopted by Texas State Board of Education to reject textbooks with a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias." Fox & Friends hosted Republican SBOE member Cynthia Dunbar, whom Doocy asked, "Why do you think some textbook publishers, Cynthia, put out books that just slam, for instance in this case, Christianity?"
Some facts Fox didn't mention:
The SBOE resolution cites books that are no longer in use. The resolution cites examples of purported "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" from "past Texas Social Studies textbooks" that were published in 1999, including one title Fox highlighted during the segment:
A September 20 Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial stated that none of the books cited in the resolution "are currently used because new texts were approved for use beginning in 2003." The Texas Freedom Network, which opposes the resolution, has said that a review of the newer textbooks shows that claims of anti-Christian or pro-Muslim bias "are superficial and grossly misleading."
Experts were reportedly not invited to comment. The Texas Freedom Network stated that "the board has asked no scholars or other experts for public advice about the resolution." A September 21 Austin American-Statesman editorial also stated that "as of late last week, no academic experts on world history, religion or any relevant field had been invited to comment.
Dunbar is opposed to public education. From a February 11 New York Times magazine article:
In 2008, Cynthia Dunbar published a book called ''One Nation Under God,'' in which she stated more openly than most of her colleagues have done the argument that the founding of America was an overtly Christian undertaking and laid out what she and others hope to achieve in public schools. ''The underlying authority for our constitutional form of government stems directly from biblical precedents,'' she writes. ''Hence, the only accurate method of ascertaining the intent of the Founding Fathers at the time of our government's inception comes from a biblical worldview.''
Then she pushes forward: ''We as a nation were intended by God to be a light set on a hill to serve as a beacon of hope and Christian charity to a lost and dying world.'' But the true picture of America's Christian founding has been whitewashed by ''the liberal agenda'' -- in order for liberals to succeed ''they must first rewrite our nation's history'' and obscure the Christian intentions of the founders. Therefore, she wrote, ''this battle for our nation's children and who will control their education and training is crucial to our success for reclaiming our nation.''
After the book came out, Dunbar was derided in blogs and newspapers for a section in which she writes of ''the inappropriateness of a state-created, taxpayer-supported school system'' and likens sending children to public school to ''throwing them into the enemy's flames, even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch.'' (Her own children were either home-schooled or educated in private Christian schools.) When I asked, over dinner in a honky-tonk steakhouse down the road from the university, why someone who felt that way would choose to become an overseer of arguably the most influential public-education system in the country, she said that public schools are a battlefield for competing ideologies and that it's important to combat the ''religion'' of secularism that holds sway in public education.
Dunbar reportedly objects the teaching of evolution. The Austin American-Statesman reported on November 7, 2008, that Dunbar "has attacked the teaching of evolution in science classes - classes her home-schooled children don't attend - and appointed the director of a creationist institute to the task force looking at the state's science curriculum."
Dunbar claimed that, if Obama became president, it would mean "the end of America as we know her." Dunbar reportedly wrote in 2008: "I sincerely believe that an Obama Administration would ultimately mean one thing - the end of America as we know her." Dunbar further wrote that "Obama truly sympathizes" with those who want to "take down the America that is [a] threat to tyranny."
Resolution author previously pushed controversial Bible study curriculum. As president of Ector County School Board, Randy Rives - who drafted a resolution after losing his campaign to join SBOE - previously pushed through a controversial curriculum for an elective Bible study course. The curriculum uses the Bible as the textbook and "focuses on retelling Bible stories using the King James translation of the Bible, which is read by many Protestants" according to NPR. In 2008, The New York Times reported that the school district changed the curriculum in response to a lawsuit brought on behalf of some parents. The Times said that the lawsuit "argued that the course curriculum, adopted in 2005 by the Ector County Independent School District, promoted Protestant Christianity and a specific reading of the Bible as a literal historical document."
In 2006, NPR reported that Rives said that the class would not proselytize and quoted his statement that:
Mr. RIVES: You know, you get me away from that high school, and I'm gonna try to convert every kid I can. But in the schools, no, I'm not for doing that, because I don't want somebody that has a different belief in our schools to be uncomfortable.
From the September 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends: