Dispatches from the Creation Wars

If you enjoyed Don McLeroy and Terri Leo in the first Texas Intellect Massacre, where they butchered the science standards with the Chainsaw of Jesus, wait till you see the sequel. These murderers of reason have now set their sights on the social studies curriculum and they’re appointing a panel of “experts” — read “wingnut ideologues” — to screw up that subject too. My friends at the Texas Freedom Network report:

The Texas State Board of Education is set to appoint a social studies curriculum “expert” panel that includes absurdly unqualified ideologues who are hostile to public education and argue that laws and public policies should be based on their narrow interpretations of the Bible.


Who’s going to be showing up in the sequel for more than a cameo appearance? Get a load of these villains:

TFN has obtained the names of “experts” appointed by far-right state board members. Those panelists will guide the revision of social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. They include David Barton of the fundamentalist, Texas-based group WallBuilders, whose degree is in religious education, not the social sciences, and the Rev. Peter Marshall of Peter Marshall Ministries in Massachusetts, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality.

The two have argued that the Constitution doesn’t protect separation of church and state and hold a variety of other extreme views related to religion, education and government, TFN President Kathy Miller said.

“It’s absurd to suggest that Texas universities don’t have accomplished scholars in the field who are more qualified than ideologues who share a narrow political agenda,” Miller said. “What’s next? Rush Limbaugh on the ‘expert’ panel? It’s clear now that just appointing a new chairman won’t end this board’s outrageous efforts to politicize the education of our schoolchildren. It’s time for the Legislature to make sweeping changes to the board and its control over what our kids learn in public schools.”

“With Don McLeroy’s confirmation hanging in the balance in the Senate and lawmakers considering 15 bills that would strip the state board of its authority, these board members continue trying to push extremist politics into Texas classrooms,” she said. “It’s as if they’re daring the Legislature to call them on it.”

Barton, former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party, is a self-styled “historian” without any formal training in the field. He argues that separation of church and state is a “myth” and that the nation’s laws should be based on Scripture. He says, for example, that the Bible forbids taxes on income and capital gains. Yet even such groups as Texas Baptists Committed and the Baptist Joint Committee have sharply criticized Barton’s interpretations of the Constitution and history.

You can read some of Marshall’s insanity here. And more on Barton here.