One does not have to be a student of history to understand the efficacy of Nazi Josef Goebbels’s propaganda tactic of telling “a lie big enough and keep repeating it; people will eventually come to believe it.” Of course, the Nazi’s big lie was that Jews were the greatest threat to Germany and it led, what may have been, good Germans to turn on their neighbors and become complicit in a horrific attempt to exterminate an entire people due to their religion. There is a saying that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and a large segment of Americans did learn from Nazi history are deliberately repeating it to incite hatred toward an entire people due to their religion.
Of course the Americans putting Goebbels’s propaganda tactics into practice are Fox News, neo-conservatives, Republicans, and their religious right sycophants, and their big lie is that the greatest threat to this nation is every person who adheres to the Muslim faith. There is no doubt the fundamentalist Islamists in ISIL are barbaric and a threat to Muslims in the Middle East, but they do not represent all Muslims as evidenced by the Muslim nations fighting to destroy them. However, that fact is not a valid propaganda message for the Christian Right and their neo-con war and fear-mongers whose lies many Americans are beginning to believe as fact.
Michele Bachmann put Goebbels’s propaganda tactic to work and said, “I don’t want to see car bombings and all of the havoc and chaos coming to the United States that we see in Baghdad. Since we have them coming into the United States, we’ll see a wave of car bombings and bombings that occur here in the United States that would begin the process of destabilization to bring them to the point of defeating us here in the United States.”
Recently, in a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, Charisma magazine, an avowed Islamophobe, Gary Cass, put out a call for genocide against Muslims stating categorically that “every true follower of Mohammed wants to subjugate and murder” non-Muslims. It’s impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.” Cass then asks the faithful “How many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name?” Cass’s solution is not unlike Hitler’s Nazis; “either force them all to get sterilized” or “kick them out of America, but then he arrives at the final solution; “really there’s only one solution that is biblical; overwhelming Christian just war.”
It is a sad fact of life, but the preponderance of propaganda against Muslims over the past thirteen years in general, and the last few months in particular, is finally starting to have the desired effect and is being manifest in, of all places, public schools. The problem is not students, and certainly not school teachers, but religious right parents watching Fox News and frequenting evangelical websites, as well as school administrators terrified of Christians that wield inordinate power over local school districts.
It is likely going on around the nation, and it is certainly occurring in California, where over the past couple of weeks, groups of parents, school board members, and administrators approached and accosted history, mathematics, and science teachers over what they claimed were inappropriate portrayals of Islam in the classrooms. The group informed the history department first that they had heard enough from Fox News, religious websites, and YouTube videos warning parents that textbooks teachers are mandated to use are not revealing the true intent of all Muslims to “murder every Christian man, woman, and child in America.” The parents claimed that Common Core was not teaching students that, as Michele Bachmann said, American Muslims and ISIL children sneaking across America’s southern borders were planting car bombs to kill Christians and conquer America.
The history teachers were predictably surprised they were being assailed and reminded the parents and district representatives that they had been using a nine year old “district-chosen” textbook that pre-dated Common Core by several years. They also reminded the group the textbooks were approved by the school board. The group’s spokespersons, two evangelical parents replied, “But that was before we saw Fox and YouTube warning us you all are making Muslims look like they aren’t trying to murder us, especially us Christians.” For the record, depending on the grade level, basic history class curriculum includes an overview of the world’s major religions; including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.
The group then moved on to the mathematics department and warned math teachers to stop making Muslims look civilized by telling students that algebra was first devised in the Middle East. It was the same story for the science department that made the un-Christian error of showing a portion of the Cosmos episode that revealed some of the greatest scientific discoveries in the ancient world originated in Iraq. The consensus was that if teachers had to reference the Middle East at all, they could either herald the greatness of god’s chosen people the Jews, or warn the students that Muslims, all Muslims, pose an existential threat to Americans, especially Christian Americans.
It is noteworthy that one history teacher reminded the “concerned group” that history textbooks included a brief synopsis of the Christian Crusades and Inquisitions, and it did not portray Christianity in a good light. It did not have the effect the teacher intended and elicited praise and encouragement to glorify America’s current Christian crusade against the Muslims. One among the group said they believe what they saw in a video that since America has been fighting Muslims since 9/11, children need know that “total victory doesn’t mean forcing them to convert, it means killing them all” and “if the Crusades did their job we’d be safe today.”
Most Americans, whether they are religious fundamentalists or not, likely have no idea of what Islam is about, or that it is an Abrahamic religion like Judaism and Christianity. But due to the preponderance of fear-mongering, outright lies, and hateful propaganda from the likes of Fox News, Republican warmongers, and Christian fundamentalists, they think all Muslims are extremists in the image of ISIL or al-Qaeda and “equally and irredeemably evil.” They also are so ignorant of their own religion that they believe all “real Christians” are good and righteous and that the horrors their faith committed on humanity are wholly justified simply because America is Christian and on god’s side.
Subsequently, they believe the propaganda conservative Christians, warmongers, and fear-mongering media spews incessantly and have now taken it on themselves to censor school curriculum and warn school teachers to start portraying Islam in the same negative light they see daily on Fox News, evangelical websites, and from Republican fear-mongers who studied Nazi history, learned the lessons of successful propagandizing, and are making Goebbels proud.