A few days ago, I posted my belief that Indiana’s dismal education policies were the result of Hoosier legislators simply not understanding the difference between education and job training. A couple of commenters disagreed; rather than ignorance and inadvertence, they saw the GOP’s attack on education as intentional. Keep the peons ignorant, and they’re easier to exploit.

Evidently, those commenters were onto something.

Florida–led by “Florida Man” Ron DeSantis–has been one of the Red states leading the way back to the 1950s. That path back to a “Christian” paternalism has been paved by persistent attacks on educational institutions. DeSantis began by appointing far Right ideologues as university trustees, and working with his compliant legislature to threaten librarians and forbid teachers from “saying gay.”

But those measures–unAmerican as they were–were apparently just an introduction. Now, Florida’s schoolteachers are being instructed in how to teach Christian Nationalism.

Training materials produced by the Florida Department of Education direct middle and high school teachers to indoctrinate students in the tenets of Christian nationalism, a right-wing effort to merge Christian and American identities. Thousands of Florida teachers, lured by cash stipends, have attended trainings featuring these materials.

A three-day training course on civic education, conducted throughout Florida in the summer of 2023, included a presentation on the “Influences of the Judeo-Christian Tradition” on the founding of the United States. According to speaker notes accompanying one slide, teachers were told that “Christianity challenged the notion that religion should be subservient to the goals of the state,” and the same hierarchy is reflected in America’s founding documents. That slide quotes the Bible to assert that “[c]ivil government must be respected, but the state is not God.” Teachers were told the same principle is embedded in the Declaration of Independence.

The site Popular Information obtained the slides from the Florida Freedom to Read Project, which received them from the Florida Department of Education after filing a public records request.

The next slide in the deck quotes an article by Peter Lillback, the president of Westminster Theological Seminary and the founder of The Providence Forum, an organization that promotes and defends Christian nationalism. The group’s executive director, Jerry Newcombe, writes a weekly column for World Net Daily — a far-right site known for publishing hundreds of stories falsely suggesting Obama was a Muslim born in Africa.

Popular Information asked Amanda Tyler to review the presentation. Tyler is the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and an expert on Christian nationalism.

Tyler said that the “focus on the mythological founding of the country as a Christian nation, this use of cherry-picked history… is very much a marker of Christian nationalism.” According to Tyler, the aim of the presentation is “to solidify this ideology that equates being American to being Christian.” Tyler noted that the presentation does not address why, if religion was so essential to the structure of the government, the Constitution does not mention God at all.

Robert P. Jones, the president of the Public Religion Research Institute and the author of a newsletter on American Christianity, agreed, saying that the language in the slide deck is similar to what one would hear at “Christian nationalist rallies.” The term “Judeo-Christian,” Jones said, is frequently deployed in Christian nationalist circles as code for a white European Christian worldview.

One Florida middle school teacher who attended the civics training in 2022 and 2023 told Popular Information that, in one session, presenters used the King James Bibles to illustrate their points. Another said there was a heavy emphasis in the training on “dispelling the separation of church and state.” Teachers attending the training were told “that there was no such thing because the founders were Congregationalists,” (an assertion that is factually untrue and– had it been true– would hardly have supported a rebuttal of the constitutional separation of church and state.)

The training ignores John Locke and other Enlightenment figures. Instead, the slides claim that the basis of U.S. law is the Ten Commandments and that the phrase “all men are created equal” is derived from the biblical concept that “man is made in the image of God.”

Instructors were drawn from places like Hillsdale College, a Right-wing Christian institution seeking an overhaul of K-12 education that aligns with its conservative ideology. Hillsdale’s ideology downplays the role of slavery in American history and compares progressivism to fascism and the school is intimately connected to the Christian Nationalist movement.

Here in Indiana, clones of “Florida Man” include Republican culture warriors like Mike Braun, Jim Banks and Todd Rokita. If Hoosiers elect any or all of them, it will be an endorsement of the appalling “education” being pursued in Florida.


  1. Call’em Nat C’s for short. Sounds like the term for the 1930’s & 1940s German version of these loons.

  2. “…rather than ignorance and inadvertence, they saw the GOP’s attack on education as intentional. Keep the peons ignorant, and they’re easier to exploit.”

    Rachel Maddow’s program last night was downright frightening; leaving little hope of surviving the “Trump effect” on America for the past eight years, it has to be much, much more than vouchers and the education system in general. He is being supported by the educated and the wealthy; armed with a Bible in one hand and an assault weapon in the other. How has the Ultra-Right infected European countries at the same time Trump support has become epidemic in the U.S.? It appears to me to be at Pandemic levels and Trump’s dangerous connections to allies and enemies alike are making deep inroads into democracy globally. We can only fight it here and our only plan of attack now is the November 5, 2024 General Election; the battles between now and then will lead to the win or loss of again fighting a war of Revolution, now against ourselves.

  3. Trump is a psychopath. DeSantis is a Nazi. Alito is a traitor. Thomas is beyond corrupt. Roberts is a spineless facilitator of the right-wing cabal of Justices. So, yeah … We gotta throw in religion to our education to make sure the peons stay in line. These ideological moles have been waiting for their time, and they see their time as now.

    Watch for the civil war to begin on November 6, 2024 when rational and sane people elect rational and sane and honest leaders. The fascists won’t be able to stand for that. How can I be so sure? I’m not “sure”, but the symptoms of rebellion and civil war are everywhere, especially in Georgia where their state legislature is passing measures to question and overturn the will of the voters. Texas keeps talking about secession. Tennessee is run by racist morons.

    The table is set.

  4. It’s like the US will have another Civil War 2, JoAnn. Instead of slavery, it will be a political war.

    Speaking of education, haven’t any of these fanatics read a history book? The folks who came to America fled from many things, mainly the oppressive Church of England. The Pilgrims wanted a new country where people could follow whatever religion they wanted – free to believe.

    Do these right-wing zealots understand that freedom means freedom from religion? You would think the Libertarians would have a talk with them about it since the last thing they want is to swap government oppressors with religious ones. It was this secular mentality that permeated this country from its very roots.

    Remember Pastor Pence and his preacher who read morning devotions for Trump. Pence has not said one word about Israel slaughtering women and children in Gaza. He can’t even come close to condemning Bibi, the war criminal. SMDH

  5. Contrary to assertions by fundamentalist Christians, the United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation.
    1. The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1788. This document is the bedrock of every law in America. It guides how we think, act, and govern as a country. The words “God”, “Christian” and “Jesus” do not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
    2. The first amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1791, specifically guaranteeing free exercise of religion and banning the establishment of a national religion. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    3. Our Founding Fathers went further to distance the government of the United States from religion when they directly stated in Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797, “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religious or tranquility of Musselmen (i.e. Muslim), and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan (i.e. Muslim) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

  6. It’s up to us!

    Interesting to note that the Catholic Biden is fighting the Evangelicals who support the felon in chief wanna be. Back in the good old days, Catholics understood the separation of church and state. It’s what I was taught in Catholic school. We thought it was a good idea. How times have changed.

  7. Sam Carman. How dare you try to confuse them with the facts? Don’t you realize they are entrenched in their alternate reality?

  8. For some Republicans, one way to promote Christian Nationalism in the United States is through private schooling. This is a multi-front effort, largely channeled through churches and schools.

  9. A real mind is “a terrible thing to waste”. What if we hadn’t given up teaching critical thinking for standardized test scores and STEM?

    “No Child Left Behind” or “All Thinking Left Behind”?

  10. Absolutely!
    “Exploit,” control, lead by the nose…it’s all the same, and the aim of the long-term drive to even rid the country of the Dep’t of Education.
    These religious Nazis know exactly what they are doing, and exactly where they want it all to go. And, within their religious delusion they believe that they are doing it for their imaginary god-thing. Religion is culturally supported delusion.

  11. The Republican Party wants to provide cheap labor to its business supporters. What better way to do it than to limit funding of education and talk down its benefits.

    In Indiana it’s very evident in the numbers. The percentage of high school grads in Indiana who go on to college is down, especially for boys.

  12. Knowledge breeds knowledge, ignorance breeds ignorance.

    Civility breeds civility; ruthlessness breeds ruthlessness.

    Freedom breeds freedom, power breeds power

    Peace breeds peace, war breeds war.

    Woke is woke.

  13. Public funds for religious schools are the “nose under the tent” toward the establishment of religion.

  14. So the apostle Paul states in Romans the 13th chapter, exactly what a Christian’s kind of is supposed to be towards government. Not to work against it, but, to obey the laws of the government. To pay your taxes, to pay tribute, to give honor to those who expect it….

    “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. 3 For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.

    5 There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience. 6 That is why you are also paying taxes; for they are God’s public servants constantly serving this very purpose. 7 Render to all their dues: to the one who calls for the tax, the tax; to the one who calls for the tribute, the tribute; to the one who calls for fear, such fear; to the one who calls for honor, such honor.

    8 Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. 9 For the law code, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder, you must not steal, you must not covet,” and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this saying: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore, love is the law’s fulfillment.”

    So there you have it, it doesn’t take that long to read, but it’s one of the basic tenets on Christianity.

  15. Separation of power works to keep all sides in check. Catholics use to be glad to have freedom to practice their religion in US, even though they were discriminated against by KKK types. Once government mandates/favors a certain religion, non-believers are being dis enfranchised and it divides the country’s unity.
    Charles Carroll a Catholic from Maryland signed the Declaration of Independence: his cousin John was the first catholic archbishop in US. They were here due to persecution of religion in Europe.
    Maga cult religion is offensive to I think the majority of Americans. It’s authoritarian, dogmatic and blurs the lines between church/state. The Maga politicians with their air of sacerdotal importance are aiming for undemocratic and un-American policies.

  16. If your child spoke as Trump does, you would discipline him/her. You would not want your offspring to be like him. Or do Christian Nationalists see him as a role model? I am perplexed that people forget the founders were more Deist than Christian and were impressed by avoiding religious wars as Europe had experienced.

  17. You can be sure Indiana’s legislators will be introducing this sort of “cutting edge reform” in the near future. The legislation will be sent to them already written and ready to pass!

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