A conservative Christian bloc on the Texas Board of Education wants to revise history textbooks to teach children that the Founding Fathers established the U.S. as a "Christian nation," according to an article in The New York Times Magazine. Critics say the activists are trying to push religious views on public school children by ignoring the founders' desire to separate church and state. But the board members pushing for change say secular liberals are suppressing the truth about the founders' religious views to advance their own agenda. Did the founders really intend the U.S. to be a Christian nation?
Absolutely not: "If the Founding Fathers had wanted America to be a Christian nation, they would’ve said so," says Lewis Grossberger in True/Slant. Instead, they went out of their way to suggest the contrary, which should be enough to blow this "nutty right-wing concept to smithereens." Besides, the founders left it to future generations to abolish slavery -- even if they said they wanted "a statue of Jesus in every home," we "wouldn't have to do it."
"Did the Founding Fathers want America to be a Christian nation? Is the Pope Hindu?"
Our founding principles are undeniably Christian: It was the Christian church that taught the founders that all people possess "fundamental human rights" endowed by God, says Deacon Keith Fournier in Catholic.org. They recognized that, and said so. It's the people who deny the role of Christianity in the birth of the United States who are really twisting history.
"We do not need a conservative revolution. We need a Christian revolution"
Christianity had a role, but don't exaggerate it: Fine, let history textbooks "place the founding of our nation in its proper religious context," says Nicole Stockdale in The Dallas Morning News, "explaining what the Pilgrims believed, what the founders believed, etc." But it "crosses a line" when Board of Education members say "Christianity should be portrayed as the driving force behind what makes America great."
"Texas Board of Education and our Christian founders"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
Subscribe to the Week