Faithandthelaw's Blog

The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Contrary to University of Chicago Professor’s Rant: U.S. History includes our Faith

Posted by faithandthelaw on April 17, 2010

University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone recently wrote an op-ed titled “The crazy imaginings of the Texas Board of Education,” which sought to warn an unsuspecting America that there is “a coterie of Christian evangelicals who are attempting to infiltrate our educational system to brainwash our youth.” His fretful missive was prompted by the Texas Board of Education’s efforts to restore balance to the teaching of American history after decades of successful “progressive” efforts to erase from history and the minds of children the place of Christianity in the founding of America.

The Chicago Tribune decided to publish this piece on Easter. I can only ask: Really — on Easter Sunday?

It has become so commonplace to read denigrating comments about Christians that the offensiveness of such comments barely registers on our tolerance meters. Imagine hearing these words come from the mouth of a professor at a leading American university on Passover: “a coterie of Reform Jews is attempting to infiltrate our educational system to brainwash our youth.” Or imagine these words appearing in the Trib on Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic celebration that concludes Ramadan: “a coterie of Muslims is attempting to infiltrate our educational system to brainwash our youth.”

Stone’s words almost sound bigoted and intolerant. When you look around at our leftist-dominated educational system, his words are laughable.

In the service of bolstering his thesis that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles, Stone could be accused of cherry-picking his quotes. For example, Stone recounts that Jefferson “condemned the details of Christian dogma as ‘dross,’ ‘abracadabra,’ ‘insanity,’ ‘a hocus-pocus phantasm,’ and a ‘deliria of crazy imaginations.’ ”

Stone’s apparent concern for historical accuracy might be more credible had he included these quotations:

“The fundamental truths reported in the four gospels as from the lips of Jesus Christ … are settled and fixed moral precepts with me.”

Abraham Lincoln

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. “

John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers; first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proof 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 labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

John Quincy Adams

Stone in all his paranoid hand-wringing about the “infiltration” of education by a coterie — or did he mean “cabal” — of Christian evangelicals is apparently unconcerned about the use in public schools of Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States” to teach American history, a book that is roundly criticized for its bias.

Dr. Gary Scott Smith, chair of the Grove City College history department and author of “Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush,” offers a different view from Stone’s:

“Two recent books, edited by Daniel Dreisbach, Jeffry Morrison and Mark David Hall … explained that many who played leading roles in the nation’s Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress, and the devising and ratification of the Constitution were devout Christians, as evident in their church attendance, commitment to prayer and Bible reading, belief in God’s direction of earthly affairs, and conduct. … virtually all the founders maintained that morality depended on religion (which for them meant Christianity)…. While we must be careful not to overstate the role of religion in the founding of our nation and the Christian convictions of the founders in textbooks or public discourse, the tendency in many scholarly circles has been to ignore or discount these matters.”

With a coterie of “critical pedagogy” proselytes having successfully infiltrated schools of education decades ago, Stone need not fear the 15 Texas school board members.

Laurie Higgins is the Illinois Family Institute’s director of the division of school advocacy.

// <![CDATA[Courtesy of Chicago Tribune at  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped-0408-response-20100408,0,3352683.story?page=2
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