“Some board members and the non-expert ideologues they appointed to a review panel have made it clear that they want students to learn that the founding fathers intended America to be an explicitly Christian nation, with laws based on their own narrow interpretations of the Bible,” Kathy Miller said before the hearing. Miller is president of the Texas Freedom Network, which opposes initiatives pushed by Christian conservatives.
Former board chairman Don McLeroy, a Republican from College Station, had said the conservative efforts have been misconstrued.
“I don’t see anyone wanting to say that this is a Christian nation or anything like that,” McLeroy said. “The argument is that the principles on which [the nation] has been founded are biblically based.”
Historians also signed up to testify and will be monitoring the amendments.
“An education without some understanding of the profound role of religion in our nation’s history and its contributions to our nation’s success is an incomplete education, and our courts have often said as much,” said Derek Davis, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
“What violates the Constitution is presenting material that either prefers Christianity over other faiths or depicts the United States as a Christian nation in some legal or constitutional sense.”
Doing so would infringe on the religious liberties of students across Texas, said Davis, who is also dean of the College of Humanities at the school.
Texas State Board of Education