"the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians." - from Bob Jones University Press American history textbook
How to explain the growing polarization of American, into two different cultural and political camps, each with almost diametrically opposing worldviews and contradictory sets of facts?
One overlooked possible reason - schools.
Consider the following claims, from the A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press fundamentalist textbook lines used in Christian schools now subsidized with state tax money in over a dozen states across America:
- Only ten percent of Africans can read or write, because Christian mission schools have been shut down by communists.
- "the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross... In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians."
- "God used the 'Trail of Tears' to bring many Indians to Christ."
- It "cannot be shown scientifically that that man-made pollutants will one day drastically reduce the depth of the atmosphere's ozone layer."
- "God has provided certain 'checks and balances' in creation to prevent many of the global upsets that have been predicted by environmentalists."
- the Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.
- "Unions have always been plagued by socialists and anarchists who use laborers to destroy the free-enterprise system that hardworking Americans have created."
- Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential win was due to an imaginary economic crisis created by the media.
- "The greatest struggle of all time, the Battle of Armageddon, will occur in the Middle East when Christ returns to set up his kingdom on earth."
These claims are from the Accelerated Christian Education textbook line, also used in state-funded Christian schools:
- Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior
- The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution
- No Transitional Fossils Exist
- Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed
- Evolution Has Been Disproved
- A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur
- Solar Fusion is a Myth
As I detail in my new story Nessie a Plesiosaur? Louisiana To Fund Schools Using Odd, Bigoted Fundamentalist Textbooks
, Louisiana is the latest front in the expansion of government funding of religious schools that use fundamentalist textbooks filled with dubious, factually incorrect, politically tendentious, and racially and culturally insensitive material.
This 2012-2013 school year, thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.
read full story
On the list of schools approved to receive funding through the new voucher funding, that critics warn could eventually cut public school funding in half, are schools that teach from the Christian fundamentalist A Beka Book, Bob Jones University Press, and Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.
What's in that curriculum? Last year, researcher Rachel Tabachnick and I co-produced a 35-minute documentary on the spread of a similar voucher program in Pennsylvania and other US states, titled "School Choice: Taxpayer-Funded Creationism, Bigotry, and Bias". Embedded at the end of this post is an eight-minute video segment from that documentary with scans from material in currently used A Beka Book and Bob Jones University Press texts (in this May 25, 2011 story Tabachnick provides quotes from those textbooks.)