The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund (TFN), a nonpartisan research and citizen education organization, released a revealing report that shines a light on the impact the Bible and right-wing fundamentalists teachers are having in several Texas Public Schools.
Mark Chancey, a religious studies professors at Southern Methodist University and author of the report, found 57 school districts and three charter schools teach Bible courses that go well beyond the mandate the Texas Legislature set in 2007.
Some key finding of the report show students "learning" the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old, Judaism is a "flawed and incomplete religion," and the United States is a Christian nation founded on Christian biblical principles, based on inauthentic quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers:
In a few districts, Bible courses echo claims made within the Religious Right that the Founding Fathers were largely orthodox Protestant Christians who intended for the United States to be a distinctively Christian nation with laws and a form of government based on the Bible. This logic is implied, for example, in a Dalhart ISD daily lesson plan: “The student understands the beliefs, and principles taken from the Biblical texts and applied to elements of the American system of government.” These claims are problematic not only because they are historically inaccurate but also because they figure prominently in attempts by the Religious Right to guarantee a privileged position in the public square for their own religious beliefs above those of others.
TNF also found material in two school districts tracing racial diversity back to Noah's sons. In the Book of Genesis, Noah curses his son Ham's decendants to be slaves, which various Jewish, Christian and Islamic writers came to use as a biblical justification for anti-black racism and slavery.
"Academically, many of these classes lack rigor and substance, and some seem less interested in cultivating religious literacy than in promoting religious beliefs," said Chancey. "Their approach puts their school districts in legal jeopardy and their taxpayers in financial jeopardy.”