KO'd in Texas: Why new textbooks may shun Jefferson

news-monticello-snow-withtj-insetWill Texas push Jefferson back to Monticello?

Because one influential education board is swayed by Christian fundamentalists, all American students may soon receive a smaller dose of the Sage of Monticello.

That's the concern, after the Texas Board of Education voted Friday, March 12, to replace Enlightenment-guided Thomas Jefferson with the more Bible-guided Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Sir William Blackstone as the thinkers whose ideas helped precipitate some of the political revolutions of Jefferson's day.

Texas, along with California, is widely seen as setting national textbook standards due to their voluminous population and consequent buying power.

And that's upsetting to Charlottesville-based historian Coy Barefoot. The author of the 2002 book Thomas Jefferson on Leadership, Barefoot contends that Texas is twisting history and tearing down the wall of separation between church and state that Jefferson erected with his Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.

Not only did Jefferson's document inspire the First Amendment, its creation was one of just three accomplishments Jefferson wanted engraved on his tombstone.

Board members, however, have denied trying to silence Jefferson, pointing out that the political Jefferson merely synthesized the ideas of other philosophers.

Barefoot isn't buying that explanation and suggests that Jefferson earned the wrath of the Board–- which includes a dentist who disputes the science of evolution–- due, in part, to the Jefferson Bible. (Jefferson so distrusted organized religion that he literally scissored up his own copy of the Gospels to remove passages he thought were added by zealots and to leave only what he considered the true teachings of Jesus.)

"We need only scan the headlines to see what can happen to people in countries that do not have a wall of separation between church and state," says Barefoot.


Thank you "Hook". You just sold a copy of the Jefferson Bible via Amazon dot com. Sadly I've been lacking in my Jeffersonian history and didn't know about that version. I've purchased a copy, and perhaps- unlike many other versions- perhaps I might actually be able to read it.

Atheism is the belief that you are smart enough to explain the unknown.

We may have all come from some explosion, but who or what lit the fuse?

and when? The begginning of time or before that?

The the advent of digital and computer generated books has drastically reduced the cost of publishing; therefore affording smaller school districts the opportunity to design their own curriculums. Good luck to all school systems willing to provide a balanced view of history.

Those who deny history are doomed to repeat it. Jefferson's message was relevant then and it is relevant now. A devoutly religious (ignorant) president caused the Iraq debacle , dismantled Federal oversight of banking, commerce, and the environment and the wrecked the economy. Belief in divine guidance is insanity, I suspect that in his latter years Ben Franklin was suffering the affects of long term alcoholism and syphilis. Wouldn't you just love to bring Thomas Jefferson up in a seance and tell him all the wonderful things that have been discovered since his time? And just for fun, bring along a Texan from that era so he can say, "I don't know nuthin' about no microscopes, and I don't want to know nuthin' about no microscopes, and them X-rays is the devil's work!".

Put the parents back into education....................make it their responsibility and you would not have this problem.

Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Sir William Blackstone. Great European thinkers but I don't see how this should change what we study in American History. Jefferson has far more influence on this nation then the above 3.

This is why we all got up durring bush's speech to remind him how domb he truely is!

Glad we got to yell while he was here.

I'm sick of texas and cali!

Keep Cali out of C'ville, and now Texas too!!!!!!!!!

"Religion is a crutch for weak minded people" Jesse "the bod" Ventura

What did our Founding Fathers say about organized religion:
ââ?¬Å?Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.” Thomas Paine
"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." - Thomas Jefferson
ââ?¬Å?Lighthouses are more helpful than Churches”, Benjamin Franklin

I would love to hear what the un-American Texas Board of Uneducation.

I wonder if the same people who are so eager to quote Jefferson's view of organized religion are equally eager to promote his view of a powerful central government..............any guess on how TJ would feel about the current administration's quest to take over healthcare?

To quote Thomas Paine from Common Sense, "in its best form government is a necessary evil, in its worst form it is an intolerable one."

Oh, and at the constitutional convenstion in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin said, as he urged attendess to go to God in prayer, said "the longer I live the more convinced I am that God reigns in the affairs of men"

Religion is man's irrational explanation of the unknown.

That's not atheism at all!

I'm not able to "explain the unknown" but that doesn't mean that god exists. Why does there have to be a "begginning" [sic] of time or the universe? Why do so many people assume that the universe and matter and time are not eternal? Why is it so necessary for people to invent a god or gods?

Not only is Jefferson downgraded, but Oscar Romero is gone.
Let's meet this board:


Now that this board has become a national joke, maybe, they'll get the picture. Wouldn't surprise me, if they end up in a textbook someday.

R. Lord: Dubya was cynically faking his devout religion. His intention looks to have been accomplished: wreck, exhaust, and overextend the remnants of limited constitutional rule. And most importantly, thoroughly discredit the good Christians within Christianity as he invited and deceived evangelicals, fundamentalists, and other like minded Christians to follow and even applaud his unitary executive prelude to the new caesarism. An unstoppable, escalating crisis management, emergency rule - virtually by decree and rushed legislation drafted & overseen by private think tanks with the intent of transforming America and fitting her to accept a North American Union modelled on the EU.

The policy for public schools can not escape this juggernaut, one that has and intends to continue to debase public education, public morality, popular culture, and prevent children from growing up to develop a self-guided sense of restraint. Instead, they face school and a culture that does little to inspire and nurture them, thus the mass of them fall into docility alternating with rebellion, even rage. The insipid textbooks all need to be scraped along with the entirety of the public school indoctrination banality. Impossible as it is now, we would be better off to return to the McGuffey Readers in small classrooms, strictly overseen by adults with a free hand, even with a 19th century, early 20th century morality and discipline. All these public schools are entanglements, not education. Mediocrity is enforced; worse, no one but a few recognize it, let alone overcome it. Too large, deenervating, bombastic and loud - just like Texas, overly dominated by, even devoted to juvenile pop culture. The same may be said even of UVA. Too big. Excellence is all too often an accident within the extended adolescence that dominates our culture. So regardless of what Texas does or does not do, we need a vast overhaul, one that can not come from the public education establishment.

And lets not forget this one: "Religion is the opium of the people- Karl Marx.
Though some of what fundamentalists of all stripes profess, whether they be Christian or Muslim, might be better compared to meth or crack cocaine.