Earlier, the Klan in Georgia told a similar story about the Bishop of Savannah. (My grandfather, from an old -- in fact, the oldest -- Southern family of European descent, had taken a second wife from an Italian-American family, and so T.C., my grandfather, ended up on a peacemaking mission to get the Georgia Grand Dragon to tone down his vile attacks on Catholics. This was around 1912.)
By the time I came along most younger Southerners with any pretensions to education no longer believed in the tunnels, although their attitude toward Catholics was as hateful as ever. The level of hatred of Catholics has cooled a little, although if you listen to "To Every Man An Answer," which is available on radio in almost every community in the country, you will find it still exists, along with even greater hatred of Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses and a complicated but basically hateful attitude toward Jews.
All this is by way of introducing a report on the Texas Board of Education mandate that textbooks, to be acceptable in Texas public schools, must subscribe to the old Southern standards of ignorance. This concerns you because Texas is the largest purchaser of schoolbooks, and publishers tend to make the rest of the country follow Texas practice. (It seems to me that it would be a good idea for a foundation, or even a money-making business, to produce and sell non-Texan schoolbooks, but so far that hasn't happened.)
Texas young'uns are to learn that separate-but-equal really was equal, that Islam spread by conquest but Christianity by the gentle force of its message, that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War and many similar delusions held by most Southern rightwingers today. A big push is on to sneak the Ten Commandments into the public schools, despite the fact that, as the report notes, the Founders explicitly excluded the first four commandments from our governmental framework:
The Framers, for instance, were not influenced by the first four Commandments, which deal with matters of religious belief and practice. In fact, notable framers such as James Madison led the battle against government punishment for unorthodox religious belief.And, as the report does not say, had nothing to say about the rest. Ox-coveting is not mentioned in the Constitution, and, if rightwing Christians were honest with themselves, they would acknowledge that their economic ideas not only permit but require ox-coveting.
The report by the Texas Freedom Network Educational Fund is scornful. On the chance that you think I have been too scornful, I invite you to look at this loving, Christian message from Robby Gallaty, senior pastor at the Baptist church down the road from where I grew up, in which he calls for murdering homosexuals.