At issue is whether new social studies textbooks should include information about the religious influences on people who had historical significance. All of us who even faintly remember our American history know that religion and religious beliefs played a large role in history. That is an undisputed fact. Some members of the Texas State Board of Education want the textbooks to include information such as a the fact that during the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin called on the delegates to utilize prayer as they considered how to build the framework of the constitution.
People who wear their religion on their sleeve and think everyone else should, too, are pushing for those facts to be included. They are also pushing to include the Christian belief of creation versus evolution in the science textbooks.
People who are a bit wary of those people, and maybe rightly so, don’t want any mention of religion in textbooks. They believe that if it is written that George Washington was a Christian, that somehow that is endorsing a particular religion. Some of these people also believe that the mention of a religion is imposing that religious belief on students.
How absurd is that? If I tell you I am a Christian does that mean I am saying you have to be a Christian, too?
An integral part of educating young people is to encourage a broad world view and critical thinking. A Christian, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, or Jew should be able to read about another religion without feeling threatened. And if a threat is perceived, then maybe that says something about the person doing the reading.
Hopefully, there is a middle ground between these two groups on the Board and this issue will be resolved in such a way that it benefits the students, not a faction.
As always, I am open to another point of view. What do you think about this issue?