America has secular public schools, so qualifiers like that may be inevitable, if not necessary.
A Little Consistency, PleaseSecular schools treating religions equally is fine: as long as some aren't treated more equally than others.
And it looks like some K-12 history textbook publishers have an "Animal Farm" notion of what "equal" means:
"In 'World History: Continuity and Change' by William T. Hanes, the Quran is defined as the 'Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God.' The Ten Commandments, on the other hand, are described as the 'moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God Yahweh on Mount Sinai.' " (The Jewish Journal)
- "revelations received by Muhammad from God"
- "moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God Yahweh"
I don't know how that sort of two-tier equality got into the books: but it shouldn't surprise anyone.
As a recovering high school English teacher, I've been inside American public schools, and the university system that's supposed to train teachers.
In the sixties, seventies, and eighties I learned to deal with an academic culture with very well-defined values and beliefs - which occasionally reflected objective realities. Collegiate fads like multiculturalism may not be as popular now as they were a few decades ago, but they seem to have left a mark.
Jesus is a Palestinian: Who Knew?So much depends on how terms are defined. And used. Here's a question from "Social Studies: The World" - " 'True or False: Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus.' " Students are supposed to answer "True."
"Palestine" can mean a few things, including:
- A former British mandate on the east coast of the Mediterranean; divided between Jordan and Israel in 1948
- An ancient country in southwestern Asia on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea; a place of pilgrimage for Christianity and Islam and Judaism
- Holy Land
- Promised Land
Saying 'Jesus is a Palestinian' MattersGiven what "Palestinian" means today, insisting that American students learn that Christianity was started by a Palestinian named Jesus may not be quite entirely accurate.
Actually, I think it's downright misleading.
Particularly since Palestinians are supposed to be 'oppressed' by Israel, in some of America's more sophisticated circles.
Which is a whole different topic.
Textbooks: Jesus is a Palestinian; Moses Claimed, Muhammad Received - A Quiet Little TopicConsidering how eager journalists seem to be, about reporting conflict and bias, you'd expect weirdness like this in American textbooks to be in the news.
It is, but just barely.
The issue is a month or so old, from what I've seen. It's possible that traditional American newspapers and broadcast news will pay attention to this controversy: but I wouldn't count on it.
It's one thing to expose hypocritical televangelists and pedophile priests. It may be quite another to point out that the Bible-thumping fundamentalists may have gotten something right, about America's schools.
That could be embarrassing.
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(February 2, 2009)
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(January 27, 2009)
- "Conservative? Liberal? Democrat? Republican? No, I'm Catholic"
(November 3, 2008)
- "The New York Times, Insularity, and Assumptions"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (October 21, 2008)
- The New York Times: A Fine Old Family Business
- The New York Times and the News: You Can't Please Everybody
- Make a Few Little Mistakes... Embarrassments at The New York Times
- 'All the News We Feel Like Printing'
- From the Pier-Bound Shores of Chelsea to the Austere Grandeur...
- "Nero Was Working for the Christians: Who Knew?"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (March 22, 2008)
- "Authors Warn That Many Textbooks Distort Religion"
FOXNews (March 7, 2009)
- "Institute Uncovers Bias in K-12 History Textbooks"
The Jewish Journal (February 25, 2009)
- "Anti-Semitic Indoctrination in the Schools"
Dakota Voice (February 9, 2009 )