Texas Social Studies Standards Question Church-State Separation

Church & State, July-August 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Texas Social Studies Standards Question Church-State Separation

The Texas State Board of Education has given final approval to a new set of social studies standards that cast doubt on the validity of separation of church and state.

The board voted 9-5 May 21 to approve the standards. One of the standards will require Texas students to "examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed it free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase 'separation of church and state.'"

Prior to the vote, the board listened to member Cynthia Dunbar offer an invocation about her view of America and its history.

"I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses," Dunbar said. "Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England ... the same objective is present - a Christian land governed by Christian principles."

She continued, "I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it. I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country."

Dunbar, who will leave the board next year, is the author of One Nation Under God, in which she argues the Founders created "an emphatically Christian government" and that the government should be guided by a "Biblical litmus test." A law graduate of TV preacher Pat Robertson's Regent University, she considers the public school system to be a "subtly deceptive tool of perversion."

Texas' troubles began last year when the fundamentalist-dominated board asked David Barton, a Texas-based Religious Right "Christian nation" propagandist, to help draft new standards. The right-wing faction also appointed Massachusetts minister Peter Marshall, who holds similar views, to the review committee along with American University professor Daniel Dreisbach, who has written widely on Thomas Jefferson's wall of separation, calling it "mythical.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Texas Social Studies Standards Question Church-State Separation


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?