Religion

Proposed Texas Textbooks Credit Moses with U.S. Government, Constitution

| by Michael Allen

The Texas State Board of Education worked with debunked Christian historian David Barton to create new textbook standards that drummed up the positive influence of Christianity in the founding of the U.S.

The Texas Freedom Network reports that "some [proposed] textbooks greatly exaggerate religious influences on the American founding, with some going so far as to suggest without substantiation that Moses was a major influence, that 'the roots of democratic government' can be found in the Old Testament, and that 'the biblical idea of a covenant... contributed to our constitutional structure.'"

Barton has made very similar claims, noted NPR in 2012 (video below):

Barton says here that it's "absolutely no surprise that so many clauses in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible" and that "A Republican form of government'... came directly out of Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1:16, Deuteronomy 16:18."

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But we could not find a single instance of the Constitution directly quoting the Bible. In Exodus 18:21, Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, tells Moses to find judges to help him hear disputes brought by people. Elsewhere, Moses appoints judges, not lawmakers.

The Texas Freedom Network also claims that the textbooks "give nods to neo-Confederate arguments first promoted after the war that 'states’ rights' was the driving issue. Some also downplay the serious hardships faced by African-Americans during segregation."

According to the Texas Freedom Network, one textbook says, “the spread of international terrorism is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism,” but doesn't mention non-Islamic terrorism.

Another textbook falsely claims that at all Hindus are vegetarians, says the Texas Freedom Network, while other textbooks ignore or play down the persecution of Native American people in the U.S. Barton actually defended the genocide of Native Americans on his radio show in 2013.

The textbooks barely mention gay rights, while one textbook tries to link LGBT rights to the 1960s when society was “spinning out of control.” Barton actually claimed that AIDS was God's penalty for "shameful sexual acts" in 2013.

Sources: Texas Freedom Network, NPR (Image Credit: Tim Patterson)