Stephen Bates: Republican Religious Fundamentalists Would Rewrite American History

Roundup: Talking About History

Stephen Bates is a staff writer at the Guardian. 

It is always good sport to tweak the noses of American religious fundamentalists, particularly at election time, and you can never say they don't need tweaking, as the revelation that some of Louisiana's schools are to benefit from remarkable textbooks indicates.
Under a voucher system introduced by the state's governor Bobby Jindal – a rising star of the Republican party – pupils attending 119 schools in the state, many of them run by the religious right, will be reading textbooks which tell them that dinosaurs co-existed with humans, slaves did not have it so bad and the Ku Klux Klan had some good points. Oh, and that Mark Twain was hopeless and Emily Dickinson, who spent much of her life shut up in her house in Amherst writing poetry, was presumptuous and disrespectful – both of them because they apparently had doubts about the beneficence of the Almighty.
These are from textbooks issued over the past few years by Bob Jones University in South Carolina, a bastion of segregationism and racial discrimination for decades, until it found it might lose its charitable status. It is more than a slight irony that this has come from a governor with an ethnic Indian background, who was a Rhodes scholar not so long ago at New College, Oxford, academic home of Richard Dawkins – the prof's head must be spinning that an alumnus is sanctioning science teaching that the Earth is only 6,000 years old in schools educating some of the most disadvantaged children in the US.
Walking with dinosaurs is bad enough, but what is particularly egregious is the shameless rewriting of history that is going on in some parts of the religious right...

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