Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just the Facts, Please

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

This week, I’m reading history textbooks for Proclamation 2015, which will be recommending and approving textbooks via the State Board of Education for the schools in Texas and the rest of the United States. Yes, you read that right. Texas is such a huge market that publishers gear their content towards the Texas requirements and standards, and then disperse the books to other states that don’t have as much sway. “As goes Texas, there too go we all,” as the saying probably goes by the poetic types. And it is important that the progressive, processive voice is heard in these deliberations.

Last year, I spoke as a clergyperson in favor of excluding creationism and intelligent design from science textbooks — I like the separation of church and state, and actual science, A LOT — and I am ashamed to say that I think I was the only clergyperson who did. Other clergy testified, don’t get me wrong; they just testified in favor of it. And there was this chance, were the room not flooded with people standing up for science and demanding that science be taught in science classrooms and catechism be taught in churches, that this “junk science” could have been put in to texts for Texas and therefore the rest of the country.

So now we face the same challenge with history. Revisionism is a clear and present danger that threatens not only our origins, but our future and present. The disproportionate inclusion of some people, or the intentional exclusion of others from the historical narrative helps capitulate our heritage and worth as a society to the control of a political agenda or social ideology. The beauty of history, and the study of it, ensures that we do not repeat the same mistakes, that we grow from our failures, and that we continue to strive to be a just and compassionate society.

I’m getting on my soapbox, sorry. Can you believe I’m writing this a week ago?

So that’s why I’m in Austin. I’ll be back for Sunday services, of course. This week for Science Sundays, we’ll be talking about heliocentricism — the whole “earth goes around the sun” thing that the church once called a heresy — and why it may be really comforting to know that the universe does not revolve around us. (As goes Texas, as goes EVERYTHING?) I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Shalom y’all,


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