In Texas, they go by the book when it comes to textbook banning. Facing gridlock over how to handle excessive mentions of Islam in Texas textbooks, the state’s educational establishment did the next best thing to eliminating the references, an option some feared might violate the constitution. The Texas Board of Education adopted a resolution 7-6 Friday demanding that textbook publishers stop putting facts in text books that school children might read.
Board of Education members were quick to defend their banning of facts in textbooks.
“How can we properly indoctrinate them if text book publishers insist on putting facts right there in the textbooks?” board member Ima Christian complained. “We want a faith-based curriculum, not facts.”
It wasn’t the presence of facts alone that got the goat of the majority of the board, however. It was the comparative number of facts mentioning Islam.
Pouted one evangelical board member who asked not to be named, “They got more pages than we did! And on page 473, there’s a picture of mosque. That’s not fair, my church didn’t get it’s picture in there.”
The creeping mentions of the existence of Islam in American textbooks cited by the Board is suspected to have resulted from a plot by Middle Easterners hellbent on jihad against the textbook publishing industry. And in the textbook industry, Texas is the market of all markets. What gets published for the sizeable Texas school population gets distributed throughout the country. It follows that Muslims seeking to influence mainstream America would set their sights on Texas.
“I got nothing against the ones who aren’t terrorists,” said liberal board member Heddy N. Sand, “but if everyone reads about Muslim contributions to science and the humanities in school, who’s going to believe it’s Muslims responsible for America’s problems?”
“First, it’s a casual mention of Omar Al-Khayyam, next thing you know, they’ll put “caliphate” on the spelling test and hold gym class on sajjadas,” fellow board member P. Ray Sothelord agreed.
A compromise solution offered by a coalition of three board members who voted against the resolution failed to pass. The compromise would have allowed one mention of Islam for every 10 mentions of Christianity. At first the compromise seemed to have the support of the majority of the board, but arguments broke out over how many mentions other religions should get.
“Only the well-known ones like Jews and Buddhists should get textbook mentions,” Sothelord insisted. “There’s not enough space for all the little ones. What are we supposed to do, give the less important ones half a mention? That doesn’t work. Look, if you only put in half of the name of Baha’i, you get Bah,” he explained. “Bah! You can’t write Bah! in a school book.”
For a brief moment, simply listing world religions in a textbook glossary was considered. But Board members dropped the discussion after someone compared it to filling a glossary with swear words, drawing children’s attention to the very material you don’t want them to see in the first place.
Eager not to appear as religious bigots, the Board crafted the concept of eliminating facts altogether. It’s the perfect solution, the majority of the board reasoned. It complies with constitutional requirements, it stops complaints about textbook accuracy in their tracks, and leaves teachers free to teach what’s really important.
For information on the Texas Board of Education’s Friday decision, click here.