Printed letters, January 27, 2013

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While it is locally unfashionable and usually futile to question the popular myth of America’s divinely-inspired historical perfection, Bill Grant’s expose (“Radical right-wing history has no place in School District 51’s curriculum”, January 23, 2013) demands the attention of SD 51’s supporters and those who would relocate to the Grand Valley planning to enroll their children in our chronically under-funded public schools.

Note, first, that Marcia Neal—our elected representative to the Colorado State Board of Education – appeals to familiar nativist parochialism by implying that any U.S. history text or television series that exposes the warts of our political development is somehow “anti-American” (“Teachers also informally use Zinn’s slanted history book”, January 27, 2013).  A true educator – absent evidence of factual inaccuracies – would regard Zinn’s and Stone’s “slant” as factual fodder for teaching the essential skills of critical thinking. 

Similarly misguided is Cody Davis’s retort (“Founding Fathers deeply invested in faith in God”, January 27, 2013).  Contrary to Davis’s contrived misinterpretation, Bill Grant’s “revisionist” history accurately insists that “this country was founded by men” who were guided by Enlightenment principles while hortatively citing their religious beliefs – not that the latter had “no bearing on their moral compasses”.

In 1787, our Founders were politicians seeking to replace the decentralized framework of the Articles of Confederation with a more centralized federal government.  Opposed by the “anti-Federalists”, they garnered public support for the Constitution by appealing to “divine guidance”.  Even with no knowledge of “Darwinism”, they also prohibited any religious tests for public office.

“Enlightenment principles” sought to transcend centuries of internecine warfare and intra-Christian intolerance.  Pilgrims and Puritans were persecuted by other “Christians” – and killed Indians and each other in God’s name.  That is why our Constitution implies a “wall of separation” between Church and State – which is about to be retested in our Supreme Court in connection with “ObamaCare”.

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