A coalition of Secularist and Freethought groups will host a rally on the steps of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin, TX, to protest new guidelines authored by a religious-right faction on the state Board of Education. The new standards, which have according to some observers made the Lone Star State "the laughingstock of the nation," downplay important American figures like Thomas Jefferson and the teaching of important events such as the Enlightenment. Instead, students would be given half-truths about religious figures like John Calvin, and falsely informed that separation of church and state is not part of the American law.
The Board has been accused of promoting a fundamentalist religious agenda at the expense of historical and scientific accuracy. Some warn that the guidelines could lead to creationism being taught in public schools, erosion of scientific information about evolution, and a biased revision of American history. Professional academics have circulated a letter calling for postponement of the new guidelines which significantly alter the content of textbooks used in Texas public schools until qualified, academically-trained experts can respond further.
"This is about whether to teach a politically and religiously biased account of history and science in favor of sectarian religious doctrines. This is about substituting miseducation and indoctrination for real education," said Dr. Ed Buckner, the Texas-educated President of American Atheists.
Kathleen Johnson, Vice President of the group and a Texas resident, said that the rally is inviting participation from secular and religious groups.
"The Board faction which has promoted these new standards for what may be taught in our public schools represents an extreme faction," said Johnson. "Many religious leaders and groups are speaking out against this faith-based censorship, and we welcome their participation. Though we're proud of our own Atheism, this is not a rally for Atheism – it's a rally for strong education."
Joe Zamecki, Texas State Director for American Atheists, declared that the public schools "should not become pulpits or vehicles for promoting one religion over another, or religion in general."
WHAT: "Texas for Truthful Textbooks" rally on the steps of the State Capitol, Austin, TX.
WHEN: Sunday, May 16, 2010, 11:00 AM
MORE INFO: See above, also Kathleen Johnson (email@example.com),