If it’s textbook, it must be wrong

It used to be that people respected textbooks. We referred to “textbook examples” as the ones that were the most reliable. If someone was skeptical of something we said, we could tell them to look it up in the textbook.

But not in Texas. In Texas, the Textbook must be wrong, and we can thank Jesus for that. Or at least Texas Jesus.

Texas Jesus is a different breed of Jesus than the Jesus I read about in my Bible. Texas Jesus believes that if people don't do what you want, bully them into submission. Rick Perry preaches his message when he turned away federal health care dollars and vetoed an equal pay bill. The Texas Board of Education preaches this message when they use their purchasing clout to dictate science.

It's a familiar story, but in this round of textbook adoptions the Texas Board of Education assigned creationists to the textbook review process. If the books don't score high enough, schools don't adopt them in Texas. If they don't adopt them in Texas, they don't get adopted. So publishers are forced to concede to some dubious content changes, including:

  • No transitional fossils have ever been discovered (sure, we would always like more, but none?)
  • No evidence that the fossil record implies evolution occurred.
  • No evidence that climate change has affected the environment.

True Texas science (courtesy of allposters.com)

For all of their complaints about being abused and maligned, the religious right, especially those in my home state, are an especially arrogant lot. They suffer under the delusion that society must cater to them and they should dictate what others are taught to believe.

The Christian Right constantly whines that it isn't the government's responsibility to feed the poor, or regulate health care, but they seem to believe it's the government's responsibility to make sure children are taught the world according to Jesus. That is the world according to Texas Jesus.

There is an essential arrogance in the Christian Right that was lacking in the real Jesus or the original Christians. It never occurred to Christians that the government would be responsible for teaching the faith to their children. That was their responsibility. The government was the enemy and the world was hostile to them. It was only when they seized control of empire that their attitudes changed.

In Texas Christians control the empire, hence our lack of humility. But to lose our humility is to lose an essential element of our Christianity. The government isn't responsible for teaching our children or making our textbooks Jesus friendly. The Bible says God appoints government for the care of everyone. That includes those who don't believe. So get over it, and teach your kids the right way yourself.



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