There are many things I like about Texas. The people are friendly, the winters are better than the summers, the sports teams range from excellent to pathetic, taxes are lower than a lot of places and there's plenty of space. Skies are blue, wild flowers bloom most of the year, longhorn steers are neat and we get to wear funny hats if we want.
There are some downsides as well. The influence of the Bible Belt is not as pervasive as it was during my first visits when a guy couldn't find a beer in most towns and a man's wallet bulged with the number of "private club" membership cards he needed to carry if he wanted a martini before dinner at a fine restaurant. We've still got more churches per square mile than gas stations and fast food joints have only recently taken the lead away from Baptist steeples.
But there is serious buffoonery always lurking when the state Board of Education meets to discuss curriculum and textbooks. Last year it was equal billing for "intelligent design" the oxymoronic concept of all of the universe popping up in six calendar days about six thousand years ago. Can't let scientific observation and evaluation of data get in the way of a good biblical legend.
This year we've got this one:
High School Students Might Learn About Islam
Why do you go to school? My impression has always been that it was to learn about something you don't already know. I would like to think that by the time a young Texan has gotten to high school they probably would have a pretty good idea about things Christian. They have been immersed in it for their entire lives.
Today, we are at war and the focus seems to be on or near the Muslim world. That means that finding something out about Islam might be pretty high on most intelligent folks priority list. The religion has been around for fourteen hundred years. It has at various times occupied or conquered much of the civilized world. It has contributed significantly to art, architecture, literature, mathematics and engineering. It has been violent as well.
There are only so many lines of text available for a high school history book. Apparently the crack TX BOE majority likes to count them and demand a balance for their pet perspectives, regardless of whether or not a student knows about those aspects or not. If you already know plenty about Christianity, would it not be unreasonable to avoid squandering that space on repeating information but rather use it to expand knowledge?
Are they afraid that if their children read about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews that they will abandon their family faith? Maybe their faith wasn't that strong in the first place.