For Immediate Release


Joe Conn, Rob Boston or Sandhya Bathija
202.466.2587 fax

Americans United Urges Texas State School Board to Reject Resolution on ‘Pro-Islamic/Anti-Christian’ Bias

Measure Undercuts Democratic Values And Stirs Up Fear And Intolerance, Watchdog Group Charges

WASHINGTON - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today urged the Texas State Board of Education to reject a resolution that criticizes publishers for allegedly promoting "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" in world history textbooks.

The resolution, put forward by an ultra-conservative faction on the board, vows to reject textbooks that "offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others." It warns that discriminatory treatment of religion may increase "as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly."

Advocates of civil rights and civil liberties said the measure is based on faulty and misleading analysis and is merely the latest attempt by right-wing board members to politicize public education in Texas.

"This clearly is just an attempt to add fuel to the anti-Islam rhetoric currently circulating around the country," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "The right-wing faction on the board needs to recognize that it is their duty to make the best decisions for students, not to push a political agenda.

"Once again, the Texas school system is being turned into a culture-war battleground," Lynn continued. "When will these board members drop the political stunts and focus on improving education?"


Our Summer Campaign Is Underway

Support Common Dreams Today

Independent News and Views Putting People Over Profit

In a letter today, Americans United called on the board to shelve the resolution.

The letter, drafted by AU State Legislative Counsel Dena S. Sher, urged the board to oppose the resolution because it is based on dubious analysis, focuses on out-of-date textbooks and "undermines core democratic values of inclusion and respect for all religions."

"We urge the Board to oppose this harmful resolution," wrote Sher. "Although the purported goal of balanced treatment of religion is commendable, the resolution actually achieves the opposite result - it has the effect of disparaging Islam. The Board should focus on giving Texas school children the best education possible and not stir up fear and intolerance."

The resolution has been placed on the agenda for the board meeting being held today and tomorrow in Austin. Americans United's Austin Chapter President Brian Spears plans to provide testimony opposing the measure.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Share This Article

More in: