texas textbook

Unearthing Right-Wing Treasure

People For the American Way is preparing to move its headquarters to another location in Washington, D.C. , after more than 20 years in the same space. That has meant a monumental effort to sort through decades of accumulated paper and figure out what to do with video recordings in more formats than you could imagine – and endless save-or-toss decisions.

Fortunately, earlier this year PFAW’s huge library of primary source materials on the Religious Right political movement was transferred to the University of California Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, where it will be more accessible to scholars and journalists. But even still, preparing for the move has meant weeks of memory-triggering moments while plowing through file cabinets and finding hidden stashes of materials.
 
Among the random bits of right-wingalia I stumbled across:
  • a letter from Jerry Falwell urging his supporters to call Congress and oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa in order to prevent a Communist takeover (an  accompanying 16-page “Fundamentalist Journal – Special Report” included a Falwell interview with the foreign minister saying that the West “has been doing the work of Moscow.”);
  • a 1990 Christian Coalition leadership manual that includes the assertion that the relationship between employers and employees should be based on Bible verses telling slaves to obey their masters, no matter how harsh;
  • a 1982 PFAW report on the Religious Right’s efforts to use the Texas textbook process to foist their ideology on American students nationwide (sound familiar?);
  • books and campaign plans for the takeover of America by once-obscure Christian Reconstructionist figures who are now in the news thanks to the frightening ascension of followers like Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann;
  • candidate questionnaires from Religious Right groups in the 1980s demanding to know whether politicians would support across-the-board tax cuts, a reminder that the Religious Right has been pushing Tea Party economics for a long time;
  • a lavishly produced press kit for the 2006 opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, where a disturbing number of Americans have flocked to be mis-educated about biology, geology, and history; and
  • in honor of Rick Perry’s recent prayer rally in Houston, a 1985 campaign flyer from the "Straight Slate" of candidates for Mayor and City Council, warning that Houston “has become the Southwest capital for homosexuality and pornography” and insisting that “We must not allow Houston to become another San Francisco!” (Current Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who was sworn in last year, is a lesbian who parents three children with her partner.)
It’s also been a reminder that the Religious Right has been declared dead more often than Freddy Krueger, usually by someone who is focusing on one organization in disarray or one election defeat for conservatives. But as our current political climate makes clear, the Religious Right and its political and economic allies have built a massive infrastructure of national and state-level think tanks, legal and political organizations, radio and TV networks, universities and law schools, and elected officials they have helped put into office at all levels of government.  They aren’t going anywhere. And neither are we – well, just a few blocks across town.

Keyes: Slavery Was All About Guaranteed Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Jobs

Is it just me or does Alan Keyes' attempt to claim that President Obama desires to turn us all into slaves utterly dependent upon the government rely on a rather odd understanding of the institution of slavery: 

Keyes compared the institution of slavery with liberalism and socialism.

“What did it mean to be a slave?” Keyes asked. “It meant that you actually had guaranteed shelter, guaranteed clothing. Your master guaranteed your food, your clothing, your shelter and a job. “Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?” he said. “That’s exactly what the Obama faction and the leftists and the socialists and the so-called ‘liberals’ want to pretend is what all Americans should aspire to."

Keyes said he grew up wrestling with the heritage of slavery and understanding its true meaning. As a result, he said, "I have seen through that phony promise of socialism, that government-dominated largesse. It simply means that we shall all become slaves on the government’s plantation."

Is that what slavery was all about?  An effort by white landowner to provide food, shelter, and jobs to blacks? 

Did Keyes get that idea from a Texas textbook or something? 

Fox News: "Fair and Balanced"

On Tuesday, we received a media request from Fox News, asking if someone from People For the American Way would be willing to appear on their program "America’s Newsroom" the following morning to discuss what they are calling "Texas Textbook Wars."

As we have been following the issue closely, we felt prepared to discuss it while being fully aware that Fox's coverage of the issue has been, top date, somewhat less than objective. Nonetheless, we agreed to appear on this segment, only to be informed shortly thereafter that the segment would have to be bumped from Wednesday's program, due to the need to cover the results of Tuesday's various primary elections. 

That seemed entirely reasonable and when Fox asked if we'd be willing to re-schedule the segment for the same time on Thursday, we agreed.  But then, late on Wednesday, we were informed by Fox that the segment was being dropped entirely and that we wouldn't be appearing on the program to discuss this topic. 

Again, that was perfectly understandable as these things happen. 

But all of that took place behind the scenes at PFAW, leaving me was unaware that our participation in the segment had been canceled.  As such, I tuned into Fox's "American's Newsroom" yesterday morning expecting to see our Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery on the program discussing this issue ... but instead, this is what I saw:

Fox had dropped us from this segment and instead decided to just give "concerned parent" Terry Ann Kelly three minutes to explain how conservatives simply want to add some "balance" to the curriculum by teaching children about their religious freedoms.  

Of course, Kelly is a bit more than just some "concerned parent":

Terry Ann Kelly has an expansive background in public speaking, radio and television. Over the past twenty years she has been the host for numerous local, regional and nationally syndicated radio programs. She has taught public speaking and Business Communication classes at the university level for Baylor and Dallas Baptist University.

Inspiring audiences to impact their world, Terry Ann enjoys speaking to organizations and women’s events across the country on topics varying from home and family life to moral and social issues. She has appeared on programs such as Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, seen by over 5 million viewers. She is the co-author of the book, The Power of a Positive Friend (Howard Publishing) and writes articles for magazines and newspapers. She founded Students Standing Strong in 2004.

So after asking us to come on to debate this issue, Fox canceled on us, telling us that they weren't going to run the segment ... and then proceeded to still run the segment, with only the conservative side represented.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Texas Freedom Network: California Advances Anti-Texas Textbook Bill.
  • Think Progress: Rep. Brian Bilbray Says He Can Spot Undocumented Immigrants Based On The Shoes They Wear.
  • Sarah Posner: Family Research Council's Restoration Of "Christian" Morality.
  • Bruce Wilson: Christian Right Claims Both 2010 Hawaii Gubernatorial Candidates.
  • Alvin McEwen: How to scare the bejesus out of Christians with a failed game plan.
  • David Weigel: J.D. Hayworth disavows ALIPAC -- sort of.
  • Good As You: American Family Association viciously slurs 'sick queers'.
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