The conservative reviewers say they believe that children must learn that America's founding principles are biblical. For instance, they say the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution stems from a scriptural understanding of man's fall and inherent sinfulness, or "radical depravity," which means he can be governed only by an intricate system of checks and balances. - The Wall Street JournalThe context here is a review of the recommended curriculum for teaching U.S. history in Texas. This is the position of three of the six curriculum reviewers reporting to the Texas State Board of Education. They posit that the reason for the American system of government is scripture and the fall of man, and that thesis should be reflected in the history curriculum.
I guess when you can't rewrite scientific theories, you turn to rewriting history. After all, there's no "scientific method" of history. There is high-quality scholarship and the accepted and validated facts as written by the framers themselves, which state clearly that the structure of the system was the result of big-state/small-state compromise and the need to balance of interest against interest. But there's no repeatable experimentation yielding the same results the way there is in science. Never mind that there is nothing in any original source documents about about Christ and the fall of man. History is what we say it is, nothing more!
This is as insidiously dangerous as creationism, and perhaps more threatening to the foundations of our country. Kids and adults understand who they are through the lens of history. Having lost one creationism battle (though they still fight that war), religious conservatives are opening a new front in the teaching of history. The end result could be curriculum that makes many students of non-Christian faiths uncomfortable with the idea of being an American. That outcome flies in the face of the whole purpose of public education. Being an American is not about being Christian, or any other ethic, cultural or religious designation. Being an American is about upholding the Constitution, standing for civil liberties and civic responsibility, and always striving for a More Perfect Union.
Of course, when you actually look at the changes the conservative curriculum reviewers specified, some more practical things become clear. So I will leave you with one of their suggested changes as the last word.
Some suggestions put forth by outside analysts appointed to review Texas K-12 social studies standards. Read the full report by each reviewer at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/social/experts.html
* Replace references to America's "democratic" values with "republican" values
Reviewer David Barton suggests swapping out "republican" for "democratic" in teaching materials. As he explains: "We don't pledge allegiance to the flag and the democracy for which it stands." - The Wall Street Journal