Religious Battle Brews over Textbooks Used in Texas Schools

Religious Books

As the Texas Board of Education comes to a decision about what will be included in their students’ textbooks next year, a religious battle is brewing over some of the study material used in Austin. The debate revolves around whether dozens of history, geography, social studies and government textbooks have unnecessary references to religion. While some say that the books are in fact skewed in favour of Christianity, others say the study materials are perfect just the way they are.

Southern Methodist University religious instructor David Brockman, who was hired by Group Texas Freedom Network, a activism group fighting for religious freedom, reviewed the current books to find a subtle Christian leaning in them, where the study material seems to assume that its readers and teachers are themselves Christian.

Other critics put forward similar points of view where they believe the role of religion in America’s democracy has in fact been overplayed in school textbooks. For instance, one book compares the founding fathers of the nation to Moses and the existing legal system with a moral system mentioned in the Bible.

Some critics also pointed out that certain texts portray Muslims as being inherently violent.

“The spread of international terrorism is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism, which opposes western political and cultural influences and western ideology,” reads one text.

Lawanda Williams, parent of one of students, said it is very important what children are taught in their schools. She also said, irrespective of how the debate turns out, education in Texas schools must go beyond mere textbooks.

“Of course, because the children here are our future. So we want them to have clarity in their education because if not, you’re going to walk around confused. We look into it in depth. Sometimes there are things she doesn’t understand, and if the book don’t (sic) have a clear explanation, we go to the computer or I send a note out to the teacher or email or something,” said Williams.

Photo Credits: University of Virginia

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