Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Texas Textbooks and American Exceptionalism - Part II

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Yesterday, I outlined several of what I felt were the more important changes that will occur in the Texas social studies and history textbooks. Because many other states use these textbooks adopted by Texas, what they do impacts not only their state but many others across the nation.

The lead up to adopting the new narrative for the texts has been very contentious and this will continue into the future as people with different views vie for influence in what we will tell our children in the public classroom.

I quoted Education Secretary Arne Duncan as being negative toward the adopted changes and suggested that what a person believes about America may be at the very heart of this debate and others as well.

The ACLU also weighed in last Friday saying the new curriculum, "Is more ideological than ever, despite pleas not to politicize what is taught to Texas school children."

This sounds noble and above the fray if you are unaware of the ACLU's activities over the past 50 years. No single organization has done more harm to our culture and our freedoms, in my opinion, than the ACLU. It just isn't going their way on this issue, so they are calling for restraint and discipline, something they know little to nothing about.

Is America exceptional? Does it have a special destiny?

Our Founding Fathers believed that it did.

Even Thomas Paine, not known to be a Christian activist for sure said, "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, some say, is the King of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above."

Daniel Webster saw the results of the Founder's actions and said, "Let us not forget the religious character of our origin."

He was reminding his colleagues of their past, so the future could be better understood. His admonition for the future?

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

Exceptional nation with a special destiny.

President Obama apparently does not agree with him.

A reporter for the Financial Times, questioning President Obama at a news conference during a NATO summit in Strasbourg, France in April 2009, asked the President if he subscribed to the belief that America is "uniquely qualified to lead the world." President Obama responded, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

America has no special or unique destiny or purpose.

James Rosen, reflecting on the Texas textbook debate says, "Clashes among members of the Texas Board of Education over the content of students' textbooks have come, in part, to focus on a once obscure intellectual concept---'American exceptionalism'---that has now seen the President of the United States weigh in."

President Obama does not stand alone in his "broader view" of America.

Best selling author and Princeton University professor, Joyce Carol Oates, takes exception to the belief that there is a distinctly American idea, one that is distinguishable from the core concepts that have animated Europeans, Scandinavians and other cultures.

In an article in the Atlantic Monthly in November 2007, Rosen quotes Oates saying, "Travel to any foreign country and the consensus is: The America idea has become a cruel joke, a blustery and bellicose bodybuilder luridly bulked up on steroids...deranged and myopic, dangerous."

This is the kind of thinking your child or grandchild is often hearing in the classroom. No wonder we have become a culturally conflicted country.

She continues: "American exceptionalism makes our imperialism altruistic, our plundering of the world's resources a healthy exercise of capitalism and 'free trade'."

"From childhood," Ms. Oates says, "we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that America is superior to other nations; that our way of life, a mass-market 'democracy' manipulated by lobbyists, is superior to all other forms of government; no matter how frivolous and debased, our American culture is the supreme culture, as our language is the supreme language; that our most blatantly imperialistic and cynical political goals are always idealistic, while the goals of other nations are transparently opportunistic."

This is what is wrong with the American classroom. Barack Obama is a product of this kind of thinking and belief system.

Fortunately, not all educators buy in with Professor Oates.

Andrew Roberts, a British historian and best selling author says in his book, "Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won The War in the West,1941-1945," that this idea plays well for postmodernists who believe everything has to be related to something else and nothing is truly exceptional. It also plays well to the anti-American folks in Europe and, unfortunately, in this country.

Roberts says, "America is not like any other country. It wasn't born like other countries. It didn't come to prominence like other countries. It's not holding imperium like other countries...It probably won't lose it's supremacy like other countries. And so in that sense it is completely exceptional."

If America is indeed exceptional, and I believe it is, we must look at preserving and restoring our Judeo-Christian cultural as a matter of biblical stewardship. An application of Christ's teaching on the talents.

About an hour ago I re-read John Winthrop's sermon, "A Model of Christian Charity." It was written on board the ship "Arbella" crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It was in this famous sermon that he said, "For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all the people are upon us."

Indeed.

The message from the Board of Education in Texas? "Keep the concepts of American exceptionalism and preserve the Judeo-Christian values that have impacted our law and government."

God help us.

____________
Gary Randall
President
Faith and Freedom

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16 comments:

  1. Outstanding. Thank you.

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  2. I'm forwarding this to all on my list. God bless you Gary.

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  3. How ironic that Gary rants about alleged "revisionist history" yesterday but then engages in some of his own today.

    Only the first part of the quote Gary attributes to Thomas Pain ("The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind.") appears to be an actual legit quote, it appears in the introduction to Common Sense. The remainder of the quote as presented by Gary can only be found on this site and a Dominionist website.

    Also, being as how he was only a boy of nine when the Constitution was ratified, Daniel Webster is by no stretch of the imagination a founder of this nation.

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  4. Please note that Daniel Webster was born Jan. 18, 1782 and died Oct. 24, 1852. Gary is well aware of these dates. He did not refer to Daniel Webster as a Founding Father. Gary said he, "saw the results of the Founders actions and said,'let us not forget the religious character of our origin'."

    Staff

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  5. while it is important that citizens of the u.s. portion of the american continent strive to be exceptional, there have been many historical instances that this country has engaged in behavior that was contrary to the teachings of Jesus, and it not only violates God's law to teach children lies, but also will lead to future leaders to commit the same sins.

    Shame upon those who would propagate lies to cover for past sins - it only teaches our children to be ungodly.

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  6. RALPHINEVERETT5:51 AM, May 26, 2010

    How can it be said that the United Stares is exceptional
    when it had such a hard time solving a fairly simple problem of affordable health care for all citizens.

    Where is the compassion of Christ in fighting against the health care bill?

    Where is the compassion of Christ in the DONUT HOLE
    on prescription drugs?
    The DONUT HOLE targets the most vulnerable seniors
    that are the sickest.
    "HONOR THY MOTHER AND FATHER."

    If the text books are teaching that the United States is an exceptional country they are teaching a lie.

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  7. Yikes Ralph. If your fellow citizens do not support a government run health care system that proves your point we are not a nation worthy of respect .
    Could it be that many people just happen to believe government run programs are not efficient in comparison to free enterprize.

    Or perhaps to someone like me who thinks we should have a mix .

    That over all the quality and even the quanity of health care will be less to the average citizen if government is too much involved .


    We lead the world in research and coming up with advances in medicine . We have corporations and industries in the United States that have mass produced items that at one time were so expensive average citizens could not afford them . Free systems work for the good also.

    Freedom comes with a price , and sometimes it means allowing the KKK to march in a city , having greedy corporations exploit their work force.

    But I happen to think the average American does have compassion , they to make sure all citizens can obtain health care , that greedy corporation pay their fair share , that workers are treated with dignity . That gays be treated equally, but all of us for that matter also.


    If we don't all want your government solutions forgive us . If you read your scriptures you will see that Honor Mother and Father has something to do with Loving God and one another.

    I don't think we are an evil country if we chose to make medical care one payer, I just think we made a mistake . Good people can make mistakes Ralph .

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  8. "Shame upon those who would propagate lies to cover for past sins - it only teaches our children to be ungodly"


    I am not sure about that Alice , but I dod agree teaching about our past problems and sins as you put them . Not sure about all of this except I do know that public schools often find quite a bit indoctrination in them .

    My wife is in day care. Pre school Director , NAEYC.... NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE, provides learning tools for teachers . Headstart , etc. They promote the books about expanding gender awareness that cause so much controversery.
    During holidays like Halloween the teacher is instructed to show the witch as a healer , actually instruct the teacher to bring in herbs, mint, clove , etc and set up a healing table . Make potions . This way witches will be taught they are good.

    ThanksGiving Traditions are considered hatefull.

    This is how they instruct teachers to celebrate Christmas

    1> celebrate all December Holidays
    2> Celebrate all December Holidays but Christmas
    3> Don't do December Holidays at all


    I understand your belief that we should learn about our sins of the past as a nation . But education that has been recently used in many cases simply sees any kind of respect for some traditions and beliefs as discriminatory and also Bibical Foundations of a young person seen as something not to respect or include in diversity. At one time public schools actually supported Bibical Foundations . Now those days are compared to promoting slave mentalities. The liberal critical thinkers do not separate Bibical Foundations and prejudice . They make it appear as one. I think that is why we have a back lash here . I think if more people were perhaps conscerned with the sins of the present in public education , you would find more people open to the reasoning you have to make sure we include the sins of the pass.

    Mick

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  9. So, Gary didn't say that Webster was a founder, just tried to give that impression.

    What about the quote falsely attributed to Thomas Paine? Is Gary or the "staff" going to address this?

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  10. For the right wing, American Exceptionalism means that whatever we do, it's right because it's us doing it and we are the chosen nation and we do so much good.

    Kinda like, if the President does it, then it's legal because it's the President (Nixon).

    Unfortunately, the rest of the planet has a different opinion and judges us by our actions - good and bad.

    Life would certainly be more convenient if this exceptionalism thing were that way, but we're the only the ones that think our waste doesn't stink.

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  11. 12.11 said
    "So, Gary didn't say that Webster was a founder, just tried to give that impression."

    Sounded to me like that was written was Webster commenting on America's origins . Talking about America's past not its present Founding . ....... Obviously your not concerned about being coherent or being humble enough to admit your human and made a mistake. We all do it .


    ===================================

    Daniel Webster saw the results of the Founder's actions and said, "Let us not forget the religious character of our origin."

    He was reminding his colleagues of their past, so the future could be better understood.

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  12. To 12:36 (another Anonymous), I will pray for you. I find it sad that all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, status, etc. isn't grateful for the advantages our unique heritage has provided, massive warts and all. Have you, or would you, consider face-to-face ministry with orphans, prisoners, widows, the persecuted, maybe within the 10-40 window, or in any third world country enduring life under tyrannical rule? Brings most of us to our knees in humility and gratitude to be living in this land.

    Monday, remember all who have fallen for the very freedoms so many take for granted.

    And Mick - too true.

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  13. To 12:36 (another Anonymous), I will pray for you. I find it sad that all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, status, etc. isn't grateful for the advantages our unique heritage has provided, massive warts and all. Have you, or would you, consider face-to-face ministry with orphans, prisoners, widows, the persecuted, maybe within the 10-40 window, or in any third world country enduring life under tyrannical rule? Brings most of us to our knees in humility and gratitude to be living in this land.

    Monday, remember all who have fallen for the very freedoms so many take for granted.

    And Mick - too true.

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  14. Having a realistic perspective on our nation doesn't mean I don't realize how lucky I was to be born into this circumstance. However, I would have been equally fortunate to have been born in Canada, England, Norway, etc, etc.

    If fact, my preference would have been to be born in Norway. I can't think of any freedom or opportunity I would miss and I wouldn't be struggling to pay for health insurance for my family and college for my children. Plus, it's a much better environment for small entrepreneurs. And people there tend to be happier.

    America is truly a great nation. And in some areas, it's the greatest, just not in all of them.

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  15. America was founded as One Nation Under God-the Biblical Understanding of the very Sinfulness of Mankind was the Guiding Principle behind the US Constitution.We were Great from 1620-with the Mayflower Compact-"In The Name Of God"--Andrew Jackson-Our 7th President-stated-"The Bible is the Rock upon which our Republic Rests."--One of the listed Objectives of the Puritans-led by John Winthop was -"To Be a City on a Hill,a City of God, a Holy City in America"-The Secular Revisionist/Progressives of today are mentioned by President George Washington when he stated-" Any Person trying to Remove Religion or Morality -the Pillars of Our Government--IS NOT A PATRIOT".-WE have found the Enemy of America and it is those Within Our Country.-The 3 Legs of the "Stool"that our founders stated that America Rests Upon- Religion, Morality, and Knowledge(Education)--What have become of them Today ??--As A Veteran I am Proud to have Served Our Nation-yet WE need to Clean house Within. In 1947, in the Everson Case the Standard of going by "Common Law" was changed to "Statuatory Laws" decided by Judges Legislating Law from the Bench Unconstitutionally !!! Abortion-Roe v. Wade 1973--Sodomite(Homosexual) Rights, and Gay Marriage -are All Examples of Laws Passed without the Vote of the People !!WE need to have a 3RD "Great Awakening" in America or Surrender America to the Forces of Satan Himself--!!! --What Kind Of Legacy Are We Leaving to Our Children and Grandchildren ???

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  16. Technically, we've only been 'one nation under God' since 1954. It had nothing to do with the founders and more to do with hating those 'godless' communists.

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