Thursday, April 04, 2013

Denial & Revisionism

These days, education in Louisiana is not only plagued by the current ease with which the law enables any public school to slip some non-scientific creationism in with its science courses, there is now a possibility that history itself may be challenged by a nifty bit of revisionism embedded in HB-660, as Lamar says:

Not content to let House Republicans monopolize unconstitutional legislation, Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) recently filed HB 660, which she’d like to be known as “The Parental Choice Historical Prayer and Pledge Act.”

A. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or “state board”, shall establish a policy and develop procedures to allow public school students to participate in the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” at the commencement of each school day. Such policy and procedures shall include but not be limited to provisions for the following:
(1) Student participation in the recitation of the prayer and pledge shall be voluntary.
(2) Students shall be reminded that the Lord’s Prayer is the prayer that the pilgrim fathers recited when they came to America in search for freedom.
(3) Students shall be informed that these exercises are not meant to influence an individual’s personal religious beliefs in any manner.
(4) The recitations shall be conducted so that students learn of America’s great freedoms, including the freedom of religion symbolized by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
B. The state board shall develop a program of instruction for public schools with regard to the pilgrim fathers.
"Revisionism" is the nicer term for what Representative Jackson is proposing. Much of what is in HB-660 is an outright denial of what those "pilgrim fathers" had in mind for this country, which didn't include separating church and state at all. In fact, the history of religious tolerance in this country is a far messier business than most people like Ms. Jackson and others around the country who have introduced similarly-worded bills in their states would have us believe. As this Smithsonian article says of those pilgrims:
The much-ballyhooed arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was indeed a response to persecution that these religious dissenters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not countenance tolerance of opposing religious views. Their “city upon a hill” was a theocracy that brooked no dissent, religious or political. 
The most famous dissidents within the Puritan community, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, were banished following disagreements over theology and policy. From Puritan Boston’s earliest days, Catholics (“Papists”) were anathema and were banned from the colonies, along with other non-Puritans. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston between 1659 and 1661 for persistently returning to the city to stand up for their beliefs.
In a state that, last time I looked, still has a significant number of Catholics in it, I don't think many of them look to the pilgrims as practitioners of freedom of religion.

Also, to get a much larger, more frightening view of what outright, downright insanely stupid denial is, I direct you to Exhibit A. There's a reason why I and my fellow Jews are taught never to forget about the Shoah - remembering the truth of such horrible times is a great tool for helping see the truths about proposed blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution as outlined in bills like HB-660.

The truth about this bill? It's based on lies.

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