Texas Keeps Moses in the Study about Founding of America


High school students will continue to learn in government class that Moses influenced the United States founding documents, after the decision made by the Texas Board of Education. Moses is going to remain the part of the social studies curriculum that discusses historical figures important to the founding of the United States, along with William Blackstone, John Locke, and Charles de Montesquieu. In September, the Board's preliminary vote recommended keeping Moses and removing Hillary Clinton from the overall curriculum, but the final decision is to keep them both a part of it despite a recommendation by a working group to remove Moses.

The Republican-led board voted to keep Moses in the curriculum while its members gave different explanations about Moses' influence on the founding process. “In the United States, the most common book in any household in this time period was, in fact, the Bible.  And people who didn’t necessarily believe in religion as such … still had a great knowledge of the Bible. In referencing Moses in the time period, they would have known who Moses was and that Moses was the law-giver,” said board member Pat Hardy (R-Fort Worth), as Patheos reports.

The Bible was, in fact, popular when the United States was founded, but the reason behind this is the lack of religious diversity and freedom back then. Just because something was popular, that doesn't mean it influenced such an important thing as founding of a country. Also, Moses' "laws" were just simply modified versions of moral codes from people who lived close to him, so he should not be represented as the "law-giver."

According to Patheos, Democrats on the board said that keeping Moses, a prophet in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, wasn’t factual and that members should follow the board-appointed working group’s recommendation to strike him. “Maybe he was a law-giver, but that doesn’t mean he influenced our Founding Fathers,” said board member Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville. “That doesn’t mean we can make a giant leap that someone from an entirely different continent centuries ago … was somehow responsible for drafting … these founding documents.”

Claiming that Moses influenced the founding documents is opposite to secular history of the United States and its secular constitutional practice.  Though teaching board-approved lessons aren't always mandatory, board-sanctioned curriculum can affect what's published in textbooks, which then affects what students learn, and learning rewritten history can have some long-term consequences.

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