Sundays With The Christianists: American History Books With The Accuracy Of A Florida Election
Hey, folks, are you ready to relive the 2000 election? As if some of us didn't spend most of 2000 through 2008 doing that already? Go dimple your chads, because it's time for some butterfly ballots, Christian-textbook style!
But first, let's wrap up some other 1990s weirdness from last week, as promised. Our 11/12th-grade textbook from Bob Jones University Press, United States History for Christian Schools (2002), has some important moral scolding for us, in the form of a full-page text box on “The ‘Gay Rights’ Movement,” printed on a hot-pink background for good taste. The very idea of "gay rights" is of course so absurd that it is placed in scare quotes throughout; the text carefully explains that
The term gay has been used in reference to homosexuality since the early 1900s, although that use was not widespread until the 1970s. Sometimes it is used just of male homosexuals and sometimes of homosexuals in general.
Obviously, the preferred term is homosexual, which the book uses at all times except when it highlights the silly notion that "gay rights" could even be a thing. We learn that the Stonewall riot occurred when the patrons of a homosexual bar in New York violently resisted a police raid, and that "For homosexuals, this event marked the beginning of a war for public acceptance." And while there were some successes, like the 1973 American Psychiatric Association decision to no longer list homosexuality as a mental illness and some local anti-discrimination laws in "cities with large homosexual populations," most Americans opposed such nonsense, because of course of the Bible (Romans l:26-27, not Leviticus for a change), but also because "Even non-Christians could see that the behavior was unnatural and immoral."
Oh, but those crafty homosexuals (we should perhaps be grateful the book doesn't prefer "sodomite") knew how to manipulate public opinion, so they "enlisted the entertainment industry and news media to portray homosexuality as normal and to demonize those who opposed it as “hate-mongers" and “homophobes" (people who irrationally fear homosexuality)." And it worked -- why, even some open perverts got elected to office! And so, by the time of the Clinton administration,
homosexuals had succeeded in normalizing their behavior to a large segment of the American people. Doing so allowed them to present legislative favors as simply their "rights." Attempts to redefine marriage to recognize homosexual "unions" was such an effort, which activists likened to the African American civil rights movement. When critics pointed out that homosexuality is a behavior, not an inherited characteristic like race, the pro-homosexual lobby contended that everyone is born with a "sexual orientation" about which the individual has no choice.
Isn't that a lovely one-paragraph summary of fundagelicals' bizarre logic? Not getting fired or thrown out of an apartment is not a right, it's a "favor." That's just logic. And of course sexual orientation is naturally straight, because no matter how much Bob Jones students try to be gay, they just can't.
The section ends with a bog-standard reminder that Christians must "think biblically" about the issue and to "not allow public opinion, no matter how strong, to reshape their view of sin." But also -- and this just shows how forward-thinking and kind the folks at BJU are! -- they insist that "Christians cannot condone violence against homosexuals or any other group and must not allow their abhorrence of the sin of homosexuality to quench compassion for the sinner." We bet they're pretty pleased with how brilliantly they've taught children to love here.
Now, back to history stuff! The 2000 election is actually the last historical event covered in this edition of U.S. History, published in 2002 (we've just been too cheap to shell out 50 smackers for the 2012 4th edition). As usual, U.S. History tends to be fairly accurate, with occasional rightward nudges, while our other textbook, A Beka's 8th-grade America: Land I Love (2006), happily informs children that in 2000,
the American people had a choice to make: would they continue on the path toward socialism and moral decline, or would they demand a return to free enterprise capitalism and more traditional values? The decision that voters made in the coming election of 2000 would determine the direction of the United States for the new millennium.
Or at least until 2008, when Americans inexplicably chose socialism and moral decline once more, probably because of demonic mind control or something.
U.S. History is a bit less apocalyptic in its discussion of the electoral stakes, noting that Al Gore tried to distance himself from Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal and that George W. Bush "ran on a theme of “compassionate conservatism." Hahaha, remember that phrase? The book also notes that while both candidates tried to appeal to the electoral middle, Bush was "pro-life" and Gore was "pro-abortion," of course. The text also has this hilarious summary of their positions on taxes:
Both wanted tax cuts, for example, but of a different nature. Gore wanted tax cuts for selected groups while Bush favored cuts for all taxpayers.
And maybe Bush's biggest tax cuts went to selected groups of people at the top, but at least he reduced income taxes an eensy bit for everyone, so he was TONS more fairer.
Land I Love has this eminently balanced account of the campaign, in a section headed "Election 2000: A Close Call":
While the Democratic party and the liberal media promoted Al Gore, the Republican party and most conservatives rallied around Texas Governor George W. Bush, son of 41st President George Bush. The Republican candidate identified himself with the traditional values and interests of conservative, mainstream Americans, promising tax cuts for families, a stronger military defense, less government interference in the economy and better educational standards in the public schools. Most important, Bush unashamedly identified himself as a "born—again Christian," testifying publicly of his faith in Jesus Christ, and he took a bold stand against moral evils such as abortion and gay rights.
Yes, we remember how the liberal media was unfailingly pro-Gore, especially with its promotion of the idea that he was a serial exaggerator who claimed that he built the internet all by himself.
As to the actual election and the Florida clusterfuck, once again, U.S. History does a somewhat adequate job, noting that Gore won the popular vote but that the tally in Florida would decide the electoral vote. Neither book mentions the insanely poor design of the "butterfly ballot" in Palm Beach County that resulted in something like 2800 votes that were probably meant for Gore to go to Pat Buchanan instead. U.S. History sticks to the claim that the Florida vote was simply too close to determine, without mentioning any irregularities like the "Brooks Brothers riot" in which GOP operatives tried to interrupt the recount in Miami-Dade County, or the fact that George Bush's brother was the governor, or Kathleen Harris's interventions on Bush's behalf, much less her pre-2000 purge of eligible black voters. Instead, U.S. History focuses only on the tangle of lawsuits and partial recounts that took place, noting that the partial recount whittled Bush's lead in Florida to about 500 votes before the Supreme Court decided the election in Bush's favor. The textbook notes that the country was politically split, that the Senate was tied 50-50 after the election, and closes the chapter with this passage that we bet got some revisions in the most recent edition, so as to prevent snickering:
George W. Bush during his campaign had promised to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington, saying, "I’m a uniter, not a divider." A divided Congress and a slender electoral mandate would give Bush the opportunity to prove this claim.
Land I Love, on the other hand, goes full Ministry of Truth on the outcome of the 2000 election. Not only does it not bring up the irregularities in Florida's election, it doesn't even mention that Gore won the national popular vote. Seriously. You'd think that fact might be something to include, since it was the only time since 1876 that a candidate won the popular vote and lost the electoral vote (they do at least get that right in the chapter on that election), and their discussion of the 1960 election is careful to note that Kennedy only won "1/10 of 1 percent more of the popular vote" than Nixon.
Instead, we learn that Democrats are whiny titty-babies who tried to steal the election:
As the final election results came in, George W. Bush was declared the victor. However, a great controversy soon developed when Democrats disputed the vote and demanded a recount in certain key Florida counties where they had expected better results. More than a month later, the dispute finally reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against a manual recount. The liberal media accused President Bush of "stealing" the election and raged that the Republicans had manipulated the outcome. But later recounts would prove that George W. Bush had, indeed, won the election fairly, even in those disputed counties.
So shut up, you stupid liberals! Also, please ignore any evidence that suggests otherwise, because George Bush won fair and square, and most importantly, was a Christian. The end.
Next week: George Bush wins the Iraq war and provides hope for the future.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.