As Christians, we are appalled at the proposed changes to the social studies curriculum standards, both for what they promote and for what they omit. We want to add our voice to many others, including members of the Christian community, who are expressing their concerns on this issue and how, in many ways, these standards run counter to the Christian faith. Although our concerns about these standards are many, following we address the most troubling.
First, in regard to the teaching of American exceptionalism, we believe that this is contrary to the words found in the Gospel of John: “For God so loved the world…” To maintain that one country is blessed by God over others is blasphemous. We agree with Dallas Morning News writer William McKenzie when he states that “board members are bordering on idolatry by placing America on the same plane with Christianity.”
As people who believe it is an essential part of our faith to be in relationship with those who have been oppressed, the rejection of the proposed inclusion of Archbishop Oscar Romero from social studies textbooks is disturbing. Archbishop Romero was a Christian leader who “took up his cross,” as Jesus calls us all to do, and died for his love of all of his people. All Texas schoolchildren would benefit from learning about him, about his courage and his unwavering commitment to “the least of these.”
And finally, we are concerned that you have rejected the teaching of a fundamental freedom in this country which, above all, protects faith communities from the imposition of a state religion. We are disturbed that this omission opens the door to the possibility that a troubling ideology, which may call itself Christian, would attempt to impose its beliefs on others and persecute people of faith in this nation, contrary to our nation’s founding document.