Oct. 5, 2010

The Texas State Board of Education has been the center of controversy over textbook adoption. And since Texas buys so many public school textbooks, what happens in Texas affects the rest of the nation.
Earlier this year there was a battle over curriculum standards. The latest battle was over a resolution over what is perceived as a Muslim bias in the textbooks. The resolution that was passed over a week ago alleges that some older textbooks are “politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization.”
Those are pretty strong words, and so my first inclination was to check out the charges and see if they were true. Unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction of the left and the media was to dismiss the accusations without even investigating them.
I collected articles from Internet Web site such as MSNBC, FoxNews, and WorldNetDaily. And you can add to that various newspaper accounts. The Christian or conservative sources at least took the time to interview the man responsible for the resolution before the Texas State Board of Education. The others did not. Oh, they did take the time to get some comments from the Texas Freedom Network or other liberal groups that condemned the resolution as erroneous and politically motivated.
If you took the time to dig through all the charges and accusations, you would find a few facts that were relevant to the resolution. The concerns seemed valid because of the space and tone of the presentations. The textbooks devoted twice or nearly twice as much space to Muslim “beliefs, practices and holy writings” as to Christian beliefs. And the tone was different. For example, Christians during the Crusades were called “violent attackers” while Muslims were called “empire builders.” The resolution also called attention to what it called “sanitized definitions of jihad.”
The fact that the resolution barely passed illustrates that trying to identify and document religious bias in our textbooks may just be too controversial. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view.

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