The winners re-write history

It is easy to find something to say about the California law that requires public schools to emphasize the accomplishments of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people alongside those of various racial and ethnic groups. Let me focus for a minute on the mockery this makes of history.

One phrase in the bill forbids any instructional material that reflects adversely upon persons because of their “race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, and sexual orientation, or other characteristic listed as specified.” Of course, this is meant to circumvent the entire discussion of whether “sexual identity,” behavior actually, is a function of behavior or choice.

Clearly, we’d have to say that in a free society, identifying with a particular religion is a matter of will, not genetics. Millions in our nation have also demonstrated that nationality/citizenship can be changed by those who choose to do so. Sexual identification (male or female) is, in the minds of some, also a matter of choice reflected by how a person dresses or even surgically alters himself. A person’s race and ethnicity are conditions of birth, actually so is a person’s sex in the opinion of most of us. This is a mixed bag of traits—some behavioral, some not.

Neither are all the traits on this list morally neutral. Religion certainly is not. Those who hold firmly to a syncretic religion such as Buddhism or Christian liberalism definitely do not consider my John 14:6 Southern Baptist theology to be moral or tolerable. Neither do they approve of the orthodox versions of any other religion whose adherents believe themselves to know the truth. By the same token, I do not consider manmade religions, including Christian liberalism, to be moral or respectable belief systems. And you know that I cannot consider sexual behavior to have no moral aspect. The other items on the list are morally neutral. The inclusion of religion and sexual behavior on the list implies that religion does not matter and that sexual behavior is as morally neutral as race. Once again, liberals try to settle with legislation arguments they cannot win with facts.

But how would a teacher explain genocide or ethnic cleansing without “reflecting adversely” on an oppressor mostly identified by his ethnicity? A similar difficulty arises when one religion oppresses another. Can we talk about the Inquisition, Crusades, or the Salem Witch Trials? I’m sure we can, but it doesn’t appear so. Was the majority in America that upheld slavery for nearly a century of any particular race? If there is a victim defined by his race, ethnicity, religion or any other status, then there is a persecutor who can rightly be defined by his own status. I think that might reflect adversely on those who behave badly based on some twisted view of their specific status. That might be illegal in California.

Another difficulty may present itself to those who would comply with this bit of social engineering. Most history texts are already chock full of men, women, Englishmen, Africans, disabled people, Asians, and homosexuals. Unfortunately, many of these folks are identified by what they did rather than by their particular tags. Would it be easier to go through and sub-identify everyone already in the story (maybe color code their names) or sort them into discrete chapters, each containing only one subgrouping of historical figures? The latter approach seems most consonant with the thinking behind this bill. The story of great, significant events doesn’t matter so much as the affirmation of all the things people are and do. It seems a small thing that our citizens know the what or why of human events, at least compared with the weird fiction that we’re all both special and identical.

So, in California, we know who has won the culture war there, the ones who get to revise history. In Texas, the other behemoth in influencing textbook content, our State Board of Education went another way. Their more tempered approach to updating history and science books resulted in some of the most absurd rhetoric I’ve ever heard from those who prefer the worldview of California but the tax structure of Texas. 

This story from California sounds like a pretty good argument for the parents of school-age children to find I-10 and head east with all they hold dear.

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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