In Texas Textbooks, Moses Is a Founding Father
David Barton’s Wall builders theological revisionism is wrecking Texas Textbooks.
Careful analyst by Justine Esta Ellis (a scholar who was not part of the TFN group) finds the strategy of starting with Moses is aimed at presenting the United States as a unique “redeemer nation,” predestined among all others to act out God’s will. Arch-conservative David Barton, who has no historian’s credentials but who nonetheless has had a huge impact on TEKS, maintains that verse after verse from the Bible is quoted “verbatim” in the Constitution. Checking Scripture demonstrates quickly that this is just not so. The language and the ideas do not match. Any professor of history teaches history majors not to make that kind of mistake.
But the State Board of Education wanted nothing to do with professors. More than a dozen from Texas colleges and universities volunteered to take part in reviewing texts this past summer. Almost all were turned down.
One of those historians, my colleague and former Southern Methodist University department chair Kathleen Wellman, testified at the SBOE public hearing this month. She told the SBOE that the effect of the TEKS requirement to find biblical origins for the Constitution would be to make Moses the “first American.” Some historians give that honor to Benjamin Franklin. Whoever might merit it, Moses definitely does not qualify.