It is unclear exactly when some Americans became so adamantly against education, but it is likely since conservatives and the Christian Right decided any curriculum not based on the bible, or Texas revisionist history, originated from Satan the Devil. There has been a concerted effort among a certain religious hate group to spread fear and incite anger against public school history curriculum that does not portray religions unrelated to the Judeo-Christian faith as inherently evil. Last week, the hate mongers’ efforts finally paid off and drove an extremist Christian into a rage that earned him banishment from the Maryland high school his daughter attended for making what amounts to a terrorist threat against school officials.
The man, Kevin Wood, was driven into a rage when his eleventh-grade daughter came home from school with a world history assignment on Islam and its influence in the Middle East. Wood called the school enraged and threatened to disrupt classes if his daughter’s world history class continued to study the religion and its impact on human history. The history assignment dealt with the formation of Middle Eastern empires centuries ago, and both the history teacher and school vice principle told Wood the history curriculum has never been considered controversial in the past and that “the assignment has been given for years.”
Undaunted, and still in a religious rage, Wood promised to come to the school if Islam was mentioned any further and threatened to “bring down a shit-storm on them like they’ve never seen.” He also said that if his “daughter can’t practice Christianity in school, they can’t practice Islam in school.” Then he boasted to reporters that he told the history teacher “you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive]” because “the school is violating his daughter’s constitutional rights.”
Mrs. Wood, who obviously has not paid attention to the curriculum her daughter studies in a typical 11th-grade history class until the subject of Islam came up complained that “We cannot discuss our Ten Commandments in school, but they can discuss Islam’s Five Pillars? We don’t force our religious views on them, so don’t force your religious views on me.” The curriculum includes the impact and history of all the world’s major religions, particularly the Christian religion, but the Woods were convinced that Islam got priority over Judaism and Christianity.
After banning the maniac Wood from coming onto school grounds, Board of Education member Jennifer Abell posted a statement on Facebook explaining “The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith, along with politics, culture, economics and geography that contributed to the development of the Middle East. It’s part of the curriculum, and it’s part of the standards you’re supposed to learn in a world history class. We are not teaching religion. Part of those world history studies involves the economics of a region and part of that is the religion which relates to the economy of that part of the world. In the Middle East, Islam contributes greatly to the economics of the region. Religion is a big part of world history.”
This is not the first, and certainly not the last, time evangelical parents have accosted history teachers and school officials over world history curriculum even mentioning Islam. Three weeks ago a California junior high history teacher was confronted by a group of parents, school administrators, and district representatives who were outraged the parent-approved text-book did not portray Islam as a murderous faith borne of Satan the Devil. The evangelical parents informed school officials they were directed by anti-Islam websites to confront teachers and demand that “schools stop lying about Islam.”
It took about thirty seconds to locate just one of hundreds of hate sites devoted to inciting parents to, like Kevin Wood, “demand that schools stop the dangerous lies about Islam being taught to our children.” One notorious anti-Muslim who is not going to get a mention from this column counsels evangelical “Parents in these schools to demand more informed lesson plans that focus on “Islam’s history of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation, and enslavement.”
What the Islamophobes fail to understand, is that the same world history curriculum does not focus on the 6,000 history of the Judeo-Christian religions’ mass extermination, often of other Christians, cultural and literal annihilation of indigenous people around the world, and enslavement of entire nations. It is something public school curriculum, particularly in America, sweeps under the rug; particularly the past four centuries worth of Christian atrocities including German Christians’ attempt to wipe Jews off the face of the Earth resulting in the massacre of over 6 million innocent men, women, and children.
It was only a matter of time before evangelical hate-mongers’ efforts to incite rage against curriculum mentioning Islam in the context of world history produced a terrorist threat against a public school. The Maryland school officials were right to ban Kevin Wood from trespassing on school grounds; particularly after a direct threat to “bring down a shit-storm on them like they’ve never seen” unless they “stop studying Islam’s impact on human history in the Middle East.”
One wonders how evangelicals would react if public schools included, as part of their world history curriculum, the thousands-of-years of atrocities against mankind at the hands of devotees of the Christian religion. However, they will never have to address that prospect because public school history curriculum focuses on the cultural, economic, and political impact of all the world’s major religions; not their bloody history.
It is noteworthy that as a major religion, Islam has not had nearly the deleterious and deadly impact on world history as Christianity. If evangelicals cannot believe it, they can consult their faith’s holy scriptures for the beginning of a deadly six-thousand year history of bloody religious wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation, extermination, and enslavement;” something their children will never learn in school; but they certainly should.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.