Welcome to RelPol, a student peer reviewed online magazine. This magazine is part of the assessment for the module "In God We Trust" @ the University of Hull.
Back in November of 2014, the Texas School Board of Education approved textbooks that told students that biblical figures had much more influence on the U.S. government than they actually did. I would love to say that it was eventually taken off the school curriculum and that was the end of it, but it was not. This incredibly biased textbook – which underplays many of the conquests that spread Christianity, and spreads many lies about Islamic culture – is still being used.
Granted, there are many who oppose this textbook, but it seems that there is not enough opposition to fully get rid of this textbook. As my comic shows, science and history are being rewritten to put much more information from the bible in it. In one such passage, the book implies there is no such thing as the legal doctrine of separation of church and state. This belief can be harmful to the growing mind of young student. It is forcing them, at quite a young age – this book was written for elementary-school aged children – to learn something that is not necessarily true.
It saddens me to say that this is something quite normal in Texas. The Lone Star State is known for pushing their beliefs on anybody and everybody. Some conservatives believe that the book should have said more about the role violence played in the spread of Islam. So it isn’t enough for the textbook to deny the Christian crusades or avoid talking about slavery, people want it to also put other religions in a bad life. The worst thing is that it means these children will grow up thinking that the bible is truth and people should think badly of other religions.
This graph shows the belief in God among adults in Texas and as we can see, nearly 70% of adults in Texas are absolutely certain that God exists. Does this have something to do with how children are taught in schools? Possibly. In order to check, I decided to look at the state with the last amount of people believing in God without any doubt.
Massachusetts has the least amount of people who absolutely believe in God at only 40%. Massachusetts does not have any textbooks that insert bible scripture into every page. They did have one blip in education, also back in 2014, about one of their history textbooks downplaying slavery. According to that same link, however, the book was removed from schools after that was found.
I also looked at Texas science books, which critics are arguing that they are too political. After reading about what an actual student said about the books, I have to wonder if Texas is just trying to push the republican agenda onto children, rather than actually educate them about the way the world works. To give credit to the Texas board of education, their idea about teaching kids creationism was shot down by parents and teachers alike, but the fact that they were even considering teaching something that was so obviously biblical is incredibly heartbreaking.
The fact of the matter is, the Texas school board of education has many issues with the way it writes its textbooks. They do not seem to take into account what they are saying will have a dangerous impact on the way these children will think when they grow up. An even scarier idea is that they do know what they are doing and they do know that these children will grow up and not have learned how to question things.
That, to me, is the most dangerous thing these textbooks are teaching. Children need to learn how to properly question and not just follow everything blindly. Children need to learn about the Crusades and slavery as well as evolution and climate change. Sure, the school board doesn’t need to cut religion entirely out. It can talk about Christianity, as long as it also talks about the other major religions without talking about them in an entirely negative light. What the textbooks should not do is say that Moses influenced the Declaration of Independence.
The textbooks need to be fair in their teachings and not lean left or right. If children do not learn both sides, they grow up believing that only one side is right and not even considering that the other side might have some truth to it. These children grow up to be people like Kim Davis, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, or Mike Huckabee. So stuck in their beliefs that they will not even look at the other side. They will not acknowledge that they might even be a remote chance that they are wrong. And that is what scares me the most.