Friday, July 18, 2008

Textbooks Leave Out Religious Contributions to History

In the Alabama case Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County (1987), the subject of school text books and history books was discussed. Expert testimony was given that our public school text books today leave out many significant events because of their religious connection.

The virtually unanimous conclusion of the numerous witnesses, both expert and lay, party and non-party, was that textbooks in the fields examined were poor from an educational perspective. Mere rotten and inadequate textbooks, however, have not yet been determined to violate any constitutional provision, much less the religion clauses. The Court points this out to demonstrate the predicament confronting the people who must select textbooks. As to the history books, Dr. Smith and Dr. Vitz testified that all of them omitted numerous significant facts about religion and religious contributions to American history. Their expert opinion was that religion was so deliberately underemphasized and ignored that theistic religions were effectively discriminated against and made to seem irrelevant and unimportant within the context of American history. Some of the books were worse than others, according to Dr. Smith, but none were good. His opinion was that, except for one text, each of the books reviewed conveyed an historical picture biased against theistic religions.

See Excerpts from Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, 655 F.Supp. 939 (S.D. Ala. 1987)

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