It Isn’t Only Science That’s Getting Distorted

The other day, I shared a study that found over 300 publicly-funded religious schools teaching creationism while denigrating and misrepresenting science.

Today, let me share what Salon reporter–and former history teacher– Katie Halper found when she looked to see what those same schools were teaching as history. (These “lessons” are from A Beka Book, used in an estimated 9,000 religious schools, but other materials widely-used by religious schools are consistent.)

  • The Great Depression was “an imaginary crisis” invented to “move the country toward socialism.” The Grapes of Wrath was propaganda.
  • Hitler was a socialist who combined Marxist thought with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
  • When the death penalty was suspended in 1972, crime began to increase; when the Court handed down Roe v. Wade the following year, it led to “an increase in white-collar crime [and] the legalization of gambling.” Worse still, in the wake of that decision, “many psychologists began advocating the teachings of Sigmund Freud.”
  • Free speech is dangerous and encourages ungodly behaviors. “Pornographic films and books have been legalized under the guise of ‘freedom of speech.'”

There’s much, much more, but you get the drift.

Not long ago, federal courts struck down the voucher program in Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana, after schools participating in that program were found to be teaching similar materials. As I wrote at that time,

A report from Louisiana Progress, a good-government business group, is instructive. The group petitioned the Board of Education to set at least minimal standards for schools receiving vouchers–evidence that the schools have adequate physical facilities, that they not dramatically increase either tuition or enrollment in order to benefit financially from the program, etc. Calling the program “poorly thought out and poorly implemented,” the report noted that schools selected to participate were not chosen on the basis of educational quality. Most were religious, and many of those quite fundamentalist: the New Living Word School had been approved to increase its enrollment from 122 to 315 students, despite lacking physical facilities for that number; increased its tuition from 200/month to 8500/year, and has a basketball team but no library. Students “spend most of the day watching TV. ..Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses bible verses with subjects like chemistry or composition.”

Another voucher school, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, operates in “a bunker-like building with no windows or playground.”

There are 120 private schools authorized to receive vouchers in Louisiana. A significant percentage are “Bible-based” institutions with what have been characterized as “extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums” that champion creationism. (One is run by a former state legislator who refers to himself as a “prophet or apostle.” Wouldn’t that encourage you to enroll your child??) A number use textbooks produced by Bob Jones University.

Mother Jones has a list of 14 favorite lessons being taught by Louisiana’s voucher schools. Among them: dinosaurs and people hung out together; gays have no more claims to ‘special rights’ than child molesters and rapists.

Whatever the theory behind vouchers, the reality is that all too often they are diverting money from substandard public schools (making it much more difficult for those schools to improve), and redirecting that money to fundamentalist religious schools that make a mockery of the term “education.”

And this makes sense how? And to whom?


  1. It seems that at this point in history religion has become nothing more than a cancer on society desperately clinging to dogma at any cost, chasing the money and successfully infiltrating and influencing state legislatures and other political organizations – always in “his” name.

  2. How will these children be “saved”, “converted” from these lies? In retirement I have more reading time. I’m enjoying James W. Loewen’s “Lies My Teacher Told Me”. He’ll have to revise the 2007 edition, itself a revision/update, given the abomination in this study. A granddaughter graduated college last year with a degree in biology. When she learned I’ve become an environmental activist she loaned me a textbook, “An Invitation to Environmental Sociology”, written by Michael M. Bell. From my limited reading of environmental group’s publications no one will have to correct Bell’s writings, and reader’s of his book are well prepared to lead.

  3. I am utterly devestated that this is happening in 2014 and on such a large scale. I appreciate that you have shared this information with your readers. It truly uncovers a horror story and it frankly scares me to the core.

  4. The church crazies LOVE to infiltrate school board elections and put all this nonsense in schools everywhere they can. Sad. So MUCH to do. So MANY opportunities to advance our world. Yet we waste time with people who talked to Dino. I am so tired of stupid.

  5. Patmcc, and it’s not just the stupid that I’m tired of. The stupid walk among us, but it’s usually a package where ignorance just drips from them, so we give them space. It’s those people who try to pass themselves off as knowledgeable, yet where the ignorance is so blatant that bothers me. This isn’t one of those “oops, sorry for the missed detail” situations. It’s like the encyclopedia with every page blank. It’s the doctorate in math who thinks 2 + 2 = 5 or the geographer who thinks Greenland is really green.

  6. Another problem is that this kind of stuff tars everyone with the same brush. We all know of parochial (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) schools with a history of excellence in all areas, places which have produced artists, writers, scientists, public servants and scholars who have made wonderful contributions to the society. This puts into question their heritage and traditions, and the years of sacrifice and work that people have gladly given for the sake of children, along with the state which has actually enabled and rewarded that kind of behavior. This is a disgrace.

  7. It is unfortunate that what Sheila Kennedy referred to as “Science” already distorted is no science in the first place when she made reference to the Abeka Book’s publications. The world over, science is emperical! Unfortunately, the Darwinian philosophy has failed miserably all test and standards set by emperical science. This “Distorted science” is no science, but a believe system badly distorting the minds of millions to neglect the respect for the sanctity of human lives! Thanks be to God for Abeka book for ordering the path of our kids in creationisnism toward God!

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