For more than a dozen years, I have been working to expose anti-Christian bias within America’s popular curriculum. But it wasn’t until I ran across a copy of Curriculum Standards for Social Studies,1published by the National Council for the Social Studies under a US Department of Education grant, that I realized the force of law was now driving the agenda.
According to the NCSS standards, “[I]t is clear that the dominant social, economic, cultural and scientific trends that have defined the western world for five centuries are rapidly leading in new directions.”2 The dominant trends that defined Western civilization are of course, the Judeo/Christian worldview. So what does this mean for social studies? The NCSS explains, “The United States and its democracy are constantly evolving and in continuous need of citizens who can adapt… to meet changing circumstances. Meeting that need is the mission of the social studies.” 3
Can it be any clearer? Rather than teach America’s history and founding principles for the preservation of American liberty and Western Civilization, the new mission of social studies is to prepare our children to accept the transformation of America. In fact, the NCSS are missionaries of a new religion operating in the field of American education. Unlike Christians, these particular missionaries have government backing, free reign with captive children, and operate under the guise of “education” – and thus under the radar of most Christians.
Before building a “new” structure, the “old” must be torn down. Christianity, the foundation of Western Civilization, must be bulldozed. I find three primary indoctrination methods publishers use to undermine Christianity. The first is the censorship of America’s true Christian heritage. The second method I call association propaganda – the linking of negative ideas or events with Christian principles, people, or groups. Finally contextual redefinition changes the meaning of written text in order to support a pre-planned conclusion that is different from the original author’s intention. There are other subtle methods, but most are variations of these three.
All of these methods of indoctrination have one purpose – to convince our children to reject Biblical Christianity and to accept a secular worldview:
America’s Censored Heritage
America’s foundations are rooted in the Judeo/Christian worldview. Even the few Founders who might not have been doctrinal Christian regarded these principles as the best source for moral self-government, liberty, justice, and establishing the proper function of government.
It was Benjamin Franklin, for example, who on June 27, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention called for prayer to begin each session of Congress. Quoting the Gospels several times, Franklin reasoned, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it’….”4 Founding Father Noah Webster explained the same idea in his History of the United States textbook for schools: “Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.” 5
Today, by contrast, textbooks not only omit such history, they purposely distort the facts in order to support a new idea about who we are as a people. For example, under the heading “Roots of American Government,” a popular seventh-grade Houghton Mifflin Social Studies textbook expounds: “Enlightenment thinkers in the American Colonies were excited. Here they were, the first people in history to have the chance to create an entirely new government based on Enlightenment Principles.” 6 Few elementary-school textbooks offer source-footnotes, but this particular textbook mentioned its source for the assertion: “A recent study looked at more than 15,000 political writings published in America between 1760 and 1805…. [The authors] most often quoted were… all part of the Enlightenment.” 7
Unfortunately, the textbook censored an important fact. Besides falsely characterizing some figures as Enlightenment thinkers, the textbook fails to mention that the study actually proved that the Founders quoted the Bible nearly twice as often as the top three individual sources combined. 8
Facts that get in the way of an agenda to convince our citizens of a secular basis for government are simply ignored.
A powerful method of indoctrination is to link Christian principles with negative events in order to divert thinking from the truth. Examples of association propaganda in the classroom follow, with the associated words highlighted:
- “Understanding Imperialism: [Defined as] economic and political control of other nations. …Many imperialists believed that they had a God-given mission to spread Christianity.”9
- “A total of 160,000 Spanish inhabitants, mostly men, had subjugated some 5 million Indians – all in the name of the gentle Jesus.” 10
- Ø “Among [the conquistadors] were missionaries…. At times the goal to convert Indians was achieved by force. Many were forced to work on haciendas owned by Spaniards of the Catholic Church. Life for Indians in Spanish America was shaped by missionaries.… Millions died from disease and overwork.” 11
The textbook’s goal is to associate Christianity with negative connotations of force and control. In the last example above, Christian missions and the church are made interchangeable with the Spanish and Conquest. Absent is the truth that missions protected Indians against both Spanish and slave-trading Indian tribes, and often were welcomed by the Indians – facts that do not conform to the preconception that Christianity is equated to destructiveness.
Even during lessons on the Roman Empire, the tables are cleverly turned against the Christians. For example, in one textbook lesson on the Roman Coliseum, “persecution” is simply defined as “the act of being harassed for differing beliefs”12 The lesson plan instructs the teacher to “Tell the students that persecutionof Christians in the early days was occasional and local…” but makes no mention that Christians were martyred for their faith. Instead, students are to “discuss why minorities… face persecution in times of trouble.” In the teacher’s margin, “background information” helps make the discussion question “relevant” by identifying Christians as the true persecutors: “[In early times] Christians made fun of [rural people and their old beliefs in gods and goddesses] by calling them pagani, meaning ‘country people’ or ‘hicks.’ This is the origin of the word pagan.”
Obviously, the lesson’s motivation is not the teaching of accurate history (or accurate Latin), but a social agenda: to build sympathy for politically favored groups today that might think they are under persecution by Christians. The lesson ends with a Role-Playing exercise (another form of association propaganda); students are directed to “take the role of a traditional Roman disturbed by the rise of Christianity, and write a letter explaining why he or she is opposed to the new religion.”
One very powerful form of association propaganda is to accurately list Christian ideals and then associate those ideals with a group such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Textbook publisher D.C. Heath has been especially good at this. In the middle of a lesson on the Scopes “Monkey Trial”13 in Dayton, Tennessee (where “Fundamentalist Christians” are painted in a negative light), a sidebar highlights “another fundamentalist group” – the KKK. A quotation, not dissimilar to complaints of Christians today, is presented: “One by one all our traditional moral standards… were disregarded. The sacredness of our Sabbath, our homes, chastity, even our right to teach our own children in our own schools fundamental facts and truths, were torn away from us.” The attribution is to “Hiram Wesley Evans, Imperial Wizard of the KKK, in 1926 moving describing the cultural grievances that inspired the Klan…”14
Whether or not Evans actually said this is irrelevant; four minutes of research will prove these were not the grievances that inspired the Klan to form. A textbook publisher that knowingly repeats a lie is party to it. The point, again, is not accurate history; rather it is to teach children to distrust or reject Christians who make similar complaints.
When censorship is impossible or association propaganda too obvious, publishers simply change the meaning of texts to fit the desired outcome, even for well-known documents like the Declaration of Independence. For example, Houghton Mifflin teaches, “When Jefferson wrote ‘all men’ are equal, he really meant ‘all citizens,’ women and blacks were not included.” 15
Nonsense! First of all, Jefferson wrote all men are “created” equal, suggesting that all people are equal in God’s sight. Second, the term “men” was often used to denote the species “man-kind,” not a specific gender, in Jefferson’s day. Finally, Jefferson did make clear his views on slavery; his words on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial, written in reference to slavery, proclaim, “God who gave us life, gave us liberty! And can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God…”
Historians have access to facts, but “facts” aren’t the point of social outcome-based studies. Undermining our Founders is necessary in order to bulldoze the Founding Christian principles – the true source of liberty.
Contextual redefinition even colors textbooks when they address Church history and doctrine. Publishers recently have been under pressure to include some aspect of Christianity in the name of “multicultural” balance. Unfortunately Christianity is undermined while every other religion is presented in a positive light. For example, by redefining terms, the textbook My World – Adventures In Time and Place gives Humanists credit for the Reformation of the church; Martin Luther becomes just one more “angry monk”: “Starting around 1500, Humanists such as Erasmus began to criticize the Roman Church. He especially questioned the Church policy concerning indulgences.… In Wittenberg, Germany, the sale of indulgences also made a monk, Martin Luther, angry. He felt that the money, often given by people who were poor, should not be spent on the building of Saint Peter’s, a great cathedral in Rome.”16
According to the text, Luther’s only complaint was how the indulgence money was spent. While pretending to explain Christian doctrine, this same textbook demotes Jesus to a “teacher who learned the Jewish religion and then started his own religion.” Notice what is missing from these examples:
- “…the Bible says, Mary gave birth to a son, Jesus.” [Missing: Virgin Birth]
- “According to Jewish belief, the Messiah is a special leader to be sent by God…to set up God’s rule on Earth.” [Missing: He came to save us from our sin and said, “My Kingdom is not of this Earth.” Instead, the emphasis is on politics, building a fear of Christian involvement.]
- “The apostles helped spread Jesus’ teachings after he died.” [Missing: The apostles hid after he died and only found confidence after witnessing his resurrection.]17
In six pages that pertain to Christianity, there is not one mention that Christians believe Jesus was the Son of God, came to die in our place, nor that He is said to have fulfilled Jewish prophecy.
I gave this same book to a Muslim friend of mine and asked him to assess the segment on Islam. He nearly wept with happiness telling me, “school children are finally learning the deep truths of Islam.” In fact, the questions and assignments following Islam and Hinduism do require a deep understanding of their doctrines – always presented as fact. But the questions following Christianity are trivial at best and have nothing to do with even basic doctrine.
Building A Post-Christian Society
Once the Christian consensus is bulldozed, the building of secular society is possible. Humanist Manifesto II, signed in 1973 by a virtual Who’s Who in academia, explains the goal: “We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds.… The best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community.… Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and world order based upon transnational federal government.”18
The future vision of a world society based upon Humanistic principles is now fully imbedded in the public school curriculum. The goal to divorce America from our Christian roots carries with it the force of federal law. This should not surprise anyone, since it was announced openly in 1989. Dr. Shirley McCune, a US. Department of Education official in charge of the national standards in 1989, was the keynote speaker that year at the National Governor’s Association Conference on Education held in Wichita, Kansas. McCune explained: “What we’re into is the total transformation of society… what it means for education is that we no longer see the teaching of facts and information as the primary purpose of education… We must prepare children not for today’s society, but for a society that’s 20, 30, or 50 years down the road. That’s called anticipatory socialization, or the social change function of schools.”19
What Can We Do?
Christian patriots need to realize that their children are being stolen from under their noses. Most won’t realize it until it’s too late. The textbook examples offered here represent just a tiny sample of anti-Christian bias. Unfortunately, the government provides these textbooks free to Christian schools willing to take them – and many do!
Beware of any school that builds its house on sand simply because the sand is free! Put your children in schools that understand how a Biblical worldview impacts every aspect of life, and therefore every subject. Theology is just one aspect. Not all Christians hold a biblical understanding in economics, mathematics, sociology, history, and civics.
Parents alone hold the responsibility to train their children in the way they should go, regardless of who is hired to carry out that duty.
1Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies, 1994)
2Op. cit., Preface, xix
3 Op. cit., Executive Summary, vii
4 From James Madison’s diary. Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1927), 295-296
5Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1835, 1
6A More Perfect Union, Houghton Mifflin Social Studies, 1991, 82
8Donald S Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press1988), 141
9A More Perfect Union, op. cit., 534
11My World – Adventures In Time and Place (New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 1997), 470-471
12Discover Our Heritage, Teachers Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). Sixth-grade textbook. All references to Christians in Rome, martyrdom, and persecution, are from page 245
13The legendary courtroom showdown in rural Tennessee in 1925, deciding whether a schoolteacher properly was dismissed for teaching Evolution (as prohibited by the Butler Act, Tennessee Ch 27, HB 185, 1925)
14Bailey et al., American Pageant, op. cit., 740-742
15 Beverly J. Armento, J. Jorge Klor De Alva, Gary B. Nash, Christopher L. Salter, Louis E. Wilson and Karen K Wixson. America Will Be: Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Teachers Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin School, 1994), 264
16My World – Adventures In Time and Place op. cit., 343
18Humanist Manifesto I & II (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1973), 21