ADL Disappointed at Actions of Texas State Board of Education

Houston, TX, May 21, 2010 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is troubled, and disappointed by the actions of the Texas State Board of Education today, which voted to adopt an inaccurate Social Studies curriculum, and started its hearing with a disconcerting invocation promoting the Christian religion over all others.

Inaccuracies in the Social Studies curriculum include Don McLeroy's amendment that implies the Founding Fathers did not intend to create a wall of separation of church and state. In our testimony submitted to the board, ADL cited numerous writings of the Founding Fathers that clearly indicated their interest was to protect every American's right to practice the religion of his or her choice, and the only way to do that, they felt, was to keep government out of religion.

ADL also expressed concerns about the curriculum lending equal weight to the Gettysburg Address, and the Confederacy President Jefferson Davis' speech in which he implies states' rights were the main reason for the Civil War, and not slavery.

Additionally, our testimony noted with dismay the amendment which would equate the experience of Japanese Americans in World War II to that of Italian and German Americans, when many more Japanese Americans were interned and faced much more discrimination and prejudice.

Finally, we are extremely troubled by Board Member Cynthia Dunbar's invocation this morning, in which she called our country a "Christian land, governed by Christian principles," and stated "I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses." While Ms. Dunbar certainly has the right to her own religious beliefs, her prayer shows a misunderstanding of history and a clear bias toward one religion over another. By Constitutional law, every American, Christian or otherwise, is entitled to individually worship the religion of his or her choice, or no religion at all.

"We are extremely disappointed in the State Board of Education's actions today," said ADL Southwest Regional Director Martin B. Cominsky. "We at ADL believe we are like every Texas citizen. We want an accurate history taught to our students, one that shows our warts as well as our triumphs. Students should know that our Founders did not want the government to encroach upon their religious freedoms. Conversely, it's not easy to look at the injustices our country has perpetrated, but if we don't look at them and understand them, we could very likely repeat them."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.