Led by a conservative majority, the Texas Board of Education is stepping into the national media furor over a rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States, gearing up to vote later this week on whether or not "pro-Islamic bias" should be banned from school books.
Granted, there's not any previously existing "pro-Islamic bias" in Texas texts, nor are there any Muslims on the board of education, let alone in the state's government.
"But the possibility that could happen is a concern for conservative activist Randy Rives. He ran unsuccessfully for State Board of Education this year," reporter Nathan Bernier explained in a recent audio segment for KUT, Austin's public radio station.
"Rives wrote a resolution that was put on the State Board of Education agenda this week by some socially conservative members of the board.
"'There’s a lot of people that think that, and I think rightfully so, that the key to terrorism comes from this jihad philosophy,' Rives said. 'We want to make sure there’s not something in our textbooks to influence our young people’s minds that takes them toward a path we don’t want them to go,' he said. When asked specifically whether he meant jihad, Rives answered, 'Yes.'"
The board's director, Don McLeroy, told Houston news station KHOU that he too is worried Texas history books carry an anti-Christian bent.
"It’s that great idea, that radical idea of Judeo-Christianity, that man is created in the image of God," he reportedly said. "So if you have world history books that downplay Christianity – Judeo-Christianity – and it doesn’t even make it in the table of contents, I think there’s a great concern."
The resolution before McLeroy's board claims there are more lines dedicated to Islam than Christianity in a particular text that has not been used since 2003. Members specifically cite instances where Christians embarking on the crusades were described as "invaders" and "attackers."
This is of course true, considering that the crusades, between the 11th century and the 15th century, were wars of aggression waged by European Christians.