Texas Republicans Would Murder Truth – And the Biblically Unapproved

Book-Burning-ChristianThere appears to be no state so determined as Texas to return to the Thirteenth Century. It is already run like a feudal march land along the borders of empire, with the bold if somewhat deranged Rick Perry as its lord, and he is backed by the stalwart Church, ever wary of the stray pagan or heretic.

You may have been following the controversy over Texas schoolbooks. Fifty years ago, a man lurked in the Texas Schoolbook Depository to murder a president. Now the plan is to murder the minds of a generation – and a few “biblically unapproved” people.

Creationists have been wanting to strike critically important information about climate change and evolution from textbooks in the state and replace it with creationism. This is despite a 1987 Supreme Court ruling (Edwards v. Aguillard) that deems teaching creationism in public schools unconstitutional.

Thankfully, just last month, the Texas State Board of Education approved science and banished creationism to the Dark Ages.

And if you thought Rick “Pray Away the Drought” Perry was extreme, you haven’t met some of the up-and-comers looking to follow in his footsteps.

There are four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor in Texas and to a man – Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, State Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Agriculture Commissioner (you know, the department of government Republicans have assigned to women’s affairs) Todd Staples – they say they support teaching creationism in state schools.

Watch the video courtesy of The Raw Story:

Larry Patterson, in fact, says separation of church and state is not in the Constitution, arguing that somehow separation of church and state is not the same as banning the establishment of religion and that somehow a state run school teaching children Christian doctrine is not the same thing as establishment of religion.

Now that would be a miracle.

During the American Revolution, nonconformist minister Richard Price, an Englishman, lauded the rebels, writing hopefully in 1778 of, “A great people likely to be formed in spite of all our efforts into free communities under governments which have no religious tests and establishments.” In his Two Tracts on Civil Liberty, the War with America, and The Debts and Finances of the Kingdom: with A General Introduction and Supplement, Price observed in a footnote,

I am sorry to mention one exception to the fact here intimated. The new constitution for Pennsylvania (in other respects wise and liberal) is dishonoured by a religious test. It requires an acknowledgement of the divine inspiration of the Old and the New Testament, as a condition of being admitted to a seat in the House of Representatives; directing however, at the same time, that no other religious test shall for ever hereafter be required of any civil officer. This has been, probably, an accommodation to the prejudices of some of the narrower sects in the province, to which the more liberal part have for the present thought fit to yield; and, therefore, it may be expected that it will not be of long continuance.

Religious tests and subscriptions in general, and all establishments of particular systems of faith, with civil emoluments annexed, do inconceivable mischief, by turning religion into a trade, by engendering strife and persecution, by forming hypocrites, by obstructing the progress of truth, and fettering and perverting the human mind; nor will the world ever grow much wiser, or better, or happier, till, by the abolition of them, truth can gain fair play, and reason free scope for exertion.

Yet this laudable stance of yesterday’s Christian ministers has turned, for Patterson, into “We need to move away from the politically correct posture that we find ourselves in all too often today.”

You mean, the constitutionally correct posture, don’t you, Mr. Patterson?

Todd Staples agreed, saying, “We don’t need to approach our school system in a manner of political correctness. We need to absolutely demand that our value systems influence our kids.”

Isn’t that what parents are for? And churches? And since when did facts get relegated to the category of “politically correct?” They’re factually correct, is what they are. And don’t our kids deserve factually correct facts?

I saw “our” because Texas, thanks to its size, exercises a great deal of influence over school textbooks and guess what? If Texas kids get taught God created the Earth in seven days, our kids will get taught the same thing.

Public schools aren’t teaching values or even arguing against values. It is teaching science. There is a difference.

Yet Dan Patrick somehow finds it possible to argue that “Our students must really be confused.” On the contrary, it is these candidates who are confused. He argues that “They go to Sunday School and then they go into school the next day and we tell them they can’t talk about God.”

Again, I beg to differ: You can talk about God. You can even pray. The Constitution prohibits neither. What the Constitution does prohibit is the school itself forcing religion down children’s throats.

It must be understood that 1962’s Engle v. Vitale determined that it was unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and require its recitation in public schools. There is a difference between being required to recite a prayer and being allowed to recite a prayer. The distinction is lost on conservatives.

Conservatives then as now have claimed that this ruling bans school prayer. It does not. Students were still free to pray individually or in groups. All this ruling did was conform school prayer to the demands of the First Amendment. Public schools do not have the right to teach our children to be Christians.

Another ruling, 1963’s Abington Township School District v. Schempp (Abington Township School District v. Schempp (consolidated with Murray v. Curlett), 374 U.S. 203 (1963)) declared school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional.

Again, it did not ban school prayer or “kick god out of schools” as has been claimed by the Religious Right. As Charles C. Haynes of the First Amendment Center writes, the ruling “requires that teachers and administrators neither promote nor denigrate religion — a commitment to state neutrality that protects the religious freedom of students of all faiths and no faith.”

Is that really so hard?

Yet David Dewhurst calls teaching creationism “fairness” but what is fair about teaching our children that God made the Grand Canyon with a flood when scientifically speaking, that’s hogwash, when other children in other countries are being taught the scientific principles that underlie our universe?

Are children from Texas going to be able to compete in the global marketplace armed with 13th century ideas in a 21st century world?

Of course, some of those kids won’t grow up to compete in the global marketplace. Some of those kids will be dead, because Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Secede Kilgore – yes, he legally changed his middle name – wants to kill gays. He says gays should be dealt with biblically.

Presumably, he will then also stone his own disobedient children. Because the Bible says so.

According to Burnt Orange Report, Kilgore said,

“The only position I have is secession,” Kilgore told Lone Star Q this week. “I am a Christian, and I have lots of Christian beliefs. However, I am trying to build a coalition of all different types of people. I look at the lesbians and the homosexual folks and I say, ‘Hey, D.C. is stealing my money just like they’re stealing your money.’ After we get our freedom, then we can decide all that stuff – hopefully at a county level. Right now, lesbians and homosexuals and Christians may have differences with each other, but we’ve got a bigger enemy.”

He has also advocated the death penalty for women who have abortions and for those who commit adultery, and he is on record as saying he wants to flog transvestites (severely flog, he says).

It is hard to know where to begin when addressing such gratuitous ignorance.

Somebody is taking Kilgore’s money to D.C.? Au contraire, Mr. Kilgore. Texas was the #1 Stimulus Moocher according to Business Insider back in 2011, using stimulus money to plug its budget shortfall, which sounds like a lot of OUR money going to your state, sir.

In fact, if you look at the biggest moocher states in the country, you find the entire Confederacy, and Texas itself is hardly a huge federal “donor” taking in .91 cents on every dollar they pay in federal taxes as compared to, say, Washington D.C., which gets only .30 cents for every tax dollar.

It is safe to say, if you want to arrive at the truth on any given subject, listen to what Republicans are saying about it, and then assume the opposite. You won’t be far off.

The other lesson to be learned is that for Texas Republicans, there is no problem that cannot be solved with a few beatings and some murder. Remember that, next time you visit.

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