Behind the Campaign To Purge Textbooks of "Pro-Muslim Bias" in Texas

Illustration for article titled Behind the Campaign To Purge Textbooks of "Pro-Muslim Bias" in Texas

Science groups have been working to prevent the Texas State Board of Education from adopting controversial textbooks that misrepresent climate change. But now another organization has joined the fray, demanding extensive edits in science, geography and history textbooks to purge them of "pro-Muslim" bias.


Six months ago, a self-described grassroots group called Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) began mobilizing "volunteer scholars" to conduct a sentence-by-sentence assessment of 32 textbooks being used in the state's schools. They've just published a 469-page review of their research, declaring that they found a pattern of factual omissions motivated by a pernicious leftwing bias.

TTT, which has gotten high marks for its efforts from right wing sites like Breitbart, was, in fact, founded by members of Act! For America. As described by the Anti-Defamation League:

ACT! For America is an organization dedicated to combating what it describes as "the threat of radical Islam" to the safety of Americans and to democracy. ACT! promotes the idea that Islam is a backward and seditious political ideology and that Muslim immigration to the U.S. must end.

ACT! argues that there is a "rising tide of Islamofascism in our midst" and that it is "political correctness that is aiding its advance."

Though its leaders have denied being motivated by bigotry against Muslims, the group often argues against the distinction between radical and mainstream Islam.

ACT!'s national structure, which includes dozens of chapters across the country, enables it to effectively spread its message and work with various groups, including those affiliated with the Tea Party movement. The group claims to be "the largest national security grassroots organization" with "500 chapters and 155,000 members nationwide."

Following the efforts of other ACT! state chapters to purge textbooks of "anti-Christian, pro-Islam bias," TTT has not only gone after Muslims, but science lessons that lend credence to climate change and evolution.

I've read through TTT's 469-page review, and here are a few highlights from their review of the World Cultures and Geography textbook, published by National Geographic:

  • What the textbook says: "Geography is more than names of places on a map. It involves 'Spatial Thinking," or thinking about the space on earth's surface.
  • What TTT says: "Space" is equated with air and atmosphere.
  • What the textbook says: "Religions have also spread due to work of missionaries, people who convert others to follow their religion."
  • What TTT says: Religions spread because people accept the teachings—unlike Islam, which converts by conquest.
  • What the textbook says: Photo of an oil spill. Caption reads: "It killed or injured thousands of marine animals, and cost the Gulf Coast billions of dollars in damages and losses."
  • What TTT says: No facts or statistics to verify these statements.
  • What the textbook says: "The current cycle of global warming is changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely upon.
  • What TTT says: Global Warming is still a theory and this textbook promotes it as fact.
  • What the textbook says: "What is global warming? While we struggle to figure it out, the face of the earth as we know it —coasts, forests, farms and snow-capped mountains— hangs in the balance."
  • What TTT says: Establishing fear in our children without any facts to allow the student to make his/her own decision.
  • What the textbook says: "Increasing forest lands and making changes to the way we farm, could increase the amount carbon we are storing."
  • What TTT says: "Could" does not represent facts.
  • What the textbook says: "Fossils, or preserved remains, found on Java suggest that human life existed there as early as 1.7 million years ago."
  • What TTT says: Other scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old. Evolution is a theory not a fact. Students need to be given both theories, creation and evolution.
  • What the textbook says: "Fossil fuels are formed by buried plants and animals that have been dead for millions of years."
  • What TTT says: Many scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old. A growing list of scientists consider young earth creationism (YEC) a fact and evolution as bunk.
  • What the textbook says: "Settlers carried diseases such as smallpox, which the native people could not fight. Disease killed a large percentage of certain Native American populations."
  • What TTT says: Who are these Native Americans? Are they Indians? No mention that the Indians also had diseases that spread among the settlers. "Large percentage" does not represent facts. "Certain Native American populations" does not represent facts.

If you'd like to prevent groups like this from rewriting textbooks, it's still not too late to sign this petition.


These fucking assholes should go home and reconsider their life choices.

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world...and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn....

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although "they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertions".

—Saint Augustine, "On the literal meaning of Genesis"