Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Texas and re-writting society

I posted this at a blog in the New York Times online and because some folks were asking my opinion

As a history and sociology professor that most people anywhere do not realize that any single history is a fabrication and manipulation of facts that replaces facts with truths. By truth, I mean philosophically bound or guide representation of facts. While I cannot disagree with some of the additions to the required text; such as the internment of Japanese, German and Italian American citizens at the outset of the American involvement in WWII but to say that such an act was not motivated by racism and fear is preposterous. (By the way check out the congressional records) IF you want to balance history you do not re-write it to suit, you attempt to find all of the stories that make up the history of us and the history of the US. You accept it worts and all and move on, fixing the issues in society and restructuring the future not the past.

As for the evolutionary view points expressed by the Creationist, they should go back and review the history of the study of Evolutionary Theory, which started in the Church, funded by the Church to develop a better understanding of the workings of the earth that God created so as to honor God better. Even the Big Bang Theory was created by a priest, George Le"Maitre, and was commissioned by the Pope directly to find a purely scientific and physical way of understanding Genesis. Think about it, some point in the past the universe did not exist and then it did pretty biblical stuff and can be proved through science. The problem that most conservatives have with this is that "faith" can be scientifically supported which is problematic. Once you accept one aspect of creation can be supported by pure science then you have to accept when science does not support your idealized positions about people, society and so on.

Lastly, I personally do not know a history or sociology teacher anywhere that does not teach from multiple sources beyond the textbook but the problem does lie in the power of such conservatives to limit that action. I for one teach Dr. King, Malcolm X, Gov. Wallace, the Black Panthers and more when teaching Civil Rights. The trick is teaching the students to see who has the correct set of process and ideals and whose process, such as active non-violent protest not only worked but became an influence and model to others as well as where that influence itself comes form; i.e. H.D. Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" and Gandhi's liberation of India.

By the way insistence that this nation was founded on "Christian" principles is so ludicrous that it seems to be beneath the necessity to respond but obviously it needs to be stated. If you remove Jefferson from the "Founding Fathers" you must then remove, Washington, Franklin, Madison, Adams, and the rest because they while being "of faith," as they would have said are not strictly Christian. I am glad to see someone in the previous blogs mentioned the Treaty of Tripoli from which Article 11 states:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Which was ratified unanimously by the senate and congress and signed into law by President John Adams and published in every newspaper in the states. But let us not forget the treaty of Paris, the Constitution itself, while true does not specifically declare a separation of Church and State that many articles and Bill of Rights are set to establish the fact and then the earliest federal laws that prohibit discrimination and enforce of religion on the citizens. There are also hundreds of letters, documents, notes and even court briefs that were written by and supported by the "Founding Fathers" not to forget the Jefferson Bible. This nation was not constructed as a Christian Nation, in its earliest years was staunchly anti-Catholic but this to did pass, its people maybe Christian, but there were also Muslims, Jews, Buddhist, Animist, Deists, Atheists, and even a few Hindus in the earliest formation of our country. Religious freedom does not mean freedom to practice a specific religion it does mean the freedom to practice any religion and the freedom from the oppression of other religions too.

I am not saying we close our eyes and hope this goes away and I hope that the person who said they had to leave Texas does not because without us there would be no US. We the people need to stand up to these bullies, because that is how a bully is beaten, not by one person who fights and wins but by a community that stands together against them and will not tolerate their behavior. Let us hold the Texas School Board to their own words, force them to be balanced and include facts not truths. Remove the ones from the board who will not listen and elect the ones who will. Remember, We the People must speak up and not just in the blog-o-sphere but in our houses and offices of government, in our schools and in our work places and you MUST vote to be heard.

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