Sundays With The Christianists: U.S. History Textbooks In Leisure Suit Denial
Happy 420 Easter (also unfortunately Hitler's birthday), everyone! This week, a bit of a surprise: we had anticipated that our textbooks for the Christian-school market would lead off their discussion of the 1970s with a lot of excuses and soft-pedaling of Watergate, perhaps depicting it as the destruction of a good man by radicals in the liberal media. But we were wrong! There's almost nothing in their coverage of Watergate that you wouldn't find in a secular text. Once we got over being puzzled, it occurred to us that these texts are both products of the 1980s' Moral Majority/Reaganite camp, and so of course they'd have no particular reason to whitewash Watergate -- Nixon wasn't their kind of Republican anyway, so there wasn't much incentive to try to rehabilitate him in a textbook. Besides, the real fun will come after 1976, when they can bash Jimmy Carter and hail the Advent of Reagan.
And so we won't say much of anything about the books' coverage of Watergate, except of course to note that while their discussion of the Nixon administration's handling of the cover-up is accurate, neither book goes into the sort of detail that would help a reader truly appreciate the man's sleaziness, for which we need to once again recommend you read Rick Perlstein's Nixonland. Just about the only surprise is that neither text suggests that Nixon's moral failings were a symptom of the overall moral decline brought about by secular humanism or evolution.
Our two books actually disagree on one aspect of Watergate, however. Our 8th-grade text, America: Land I Love (A Beka, 2006), says simply that Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed in the cover-up because Ford wanted "to leave the Watergate affair behind him and get on with the nation’s business." Our other text, the 11/12th-grade United States History for Christian Schools (Bob Jones University Press, 2001), says that "after only a month in office, Ford dashed his popularity with one stroke" by pardoning Nixon, noting that Ford wanted to spare the nation "the agony of enduring the trial of a former president," but that the pardon also bred cynicism about a possible deal and led to a sharp decline in Ford's popularity.
Ah, but there are other aspects of the '70s that our books can decry. For instance, Land I Love is very, very concerned about how the environmental movement turned into "Nature Worship." You see, where most normal Godly Americans were "rightly concerned about clean air and water and wanted to practice wise stewardship of our nation’s natural resources," they also "realized that technology and development had improved their lives," so they didn't get all goofy over stupid owls and unnecessary endangered fish that might block the building of an awesome hydroelectric dam. Sadly, they explain, the environmental movement was misguided from the start, because of a bug in God's intelligent design:
God has built into the human heart an understanding that there is more to the universe than merely "matter in motion." Because everyone is inclined to worship something, pantheism (the worship of nature) has always appealed to mankind. In the 1970s, the spiritual emptiness brought about by evolution and other liberal ideas caused many people, including some scientists, to put their faith in a kind of pantheism called New Age environmentalism. In 1970, the first international "Earth Day" was celebrated. Earth Day continues to be a major celebration for the environmental movement.
Oh, thank goodness we finally found something else to blame on "spiritual emptiness" -- now, if only we could actually find huge numbers of these alleged pantheists outside of the looniest caricatures of the tree-hugging hippies, who apparently included Richard Nixon, who signed into law the EPA and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The real terrorists, of course, are "radical environmentalists" who
began to view mankind as the enemy of nature. They became more concerned with preserving nature than with nature benefiting mankind. Radical environmentalists seemed to worship nature."Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, ... they ... changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things." (Romans 1:21-23)
And what terrible consequences resulted from all that nature-worship (much of it probably naked, and accompanied by witchcraft)? Oh, dear, it was horrifying:
By the 1970s, political environmentalists had enough support to pass laws that hurt private property owners and hindered the advance of technology. Building contractors, business owners, and home owners had severe restrictions placed on the use of their property as costly government inspections, licenses, fees, and regulatory agencies brought tight government controls.
Apparently, everything was being managed just fine without government intervention, and quirks like the Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969 were vastly exaggerated. Let's have a song.
U.S. History tries for a bit more context, leaving out the nature-worship stuff and noting that there were serious problems with pollution and endangered species that needed to be addressed, but also adding that there were economic impacts as a result -- and so we get this careful, "balanced" paragraph:
These actions helped reduce pollution of the environment, but they also increased the demands on the nation’s energy resources. Many industries, for example, began to switch from highly pollutant coal to oil as a power source, straining American oil resources even further. Likewise regulations aimed at reducing air pollution by cars required adding emission-control devices which reduced fuel efficiency along with the pollution. For environmentalists, of course, their goal was worth the higher energy costs. Many industries, on the other hand, began to plead for delays in implementing the environmental regulations to give them time to make the costly adjustments.
And of course, by 2014, we all know that the time has not yet arrived to make such adjustments, apart from adding the adjective "clean" in front of "coal."
We were also surprised that only U.S. History addresses another Culture War topic from the 1970s, the women's movement. You won't find a word about the Equal rights Amendment or '70s-era feminism in Land I Love, which you'd think would have been delighted to attack those hairy-legged man haters. U.S. History makes this stab at providing some context:
Since blacks had made dramatic gains in securing their civil rights, many other minorities attempted to broaden their legal rights, with varying degrees of success. American Indians, for example, held protests to dramatize their plight: a high rate of unemployment and lower life expectancy. One of the most publicized protests was at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973, on the hundredth anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
No real details of course, since that might get into icky stuff, but at least it's mentioned. And then we get this:
Some "rights movements" of the era were less legitimate. One of the worst was the "gay rights" movement, in which homosexuals tried to remove legal prohibitions to their immoral lifestyle and to gain legal recognition of homosexual "marriages" for purposes of adoption and the like.
Silly perverts, acting as if they had "families"! The only surprise here is that we don't get a longer denunciation of just how horrible those Gays are -- presumably this is something left up to the individual teacher or parent.
Also somewhat surprisingly, U.S. History actually acknowledges that women in the '60s and '70s had legitimate grievances:
It was not at all uncommon, for instance, for a woman to receive less pay than a man working at the same job simply because she was a woman. In some states, a married woman could not own property in her own name, whereas a married man could. A widow would discover after the death of a spouse that the excellent credit rating they had built as a couple no longer existed, but a widower’s credit rating continued unimpaired. With such injustices as illustrations, feminists (advocates of women’s rights) successfully appealed to the public’s sense of fairness to address these problems.
Ah, but you see, these worthwhile changes were only the tip of the proverbial man-hating baby-aborting Jesus-defying iceberg:
The women’s rights movement was complicated, though, by a radical element which generally preferred the name women’s liberation movement. These extreme feminists portrayed modern American marriage as a form of slavery in which wives labored in the "demeaning" roles of mother and homemaker. They wanted to "liberate" women from this "slavery" and looked down on women who preferred the traditional role of wife and mother in the home. To achieve yheir vision of equality, women’s liberationists advocated a platform of bold immorality: "free love" (premarital and extramarital sex), easier divorce laws, recognition of lesbian "marriages," and above all a woman’s unquestioned right to abortion on demand. State laws had long restricted or even prohibited the practice of abortion. In the landmark case Roe v. Wade (1973), however, the Supreme Court struck down most state abortion laws. As a result of the Court’s decision, the slaughter of unborn children by abortion rose to over one million a year by 1978. Women’s liberationists were elated with the decision.
We also learn that the Equal Right Amendment looked nice on the surface, since Section 1 of the amendment simply stated that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," but that sinister possibilities lurked in Section 2, which gave Congress "the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." That's where everything could go tits up, because it could "open the door to an enormous growth of abusive government power":
Opponents feared that the amendment would break down the traditional protections that women enjoyed, such as laws against rape, and would increase intrusions into individual privacy, such as matters of adoption and child custody.
Yep, sure made a lot of sense to fear that those crazy feminists would want rape legalized. Sadly, even in the accompanying full-page text box on Phyllis Schlafly, there's no mention of the other beautiful lies used to stoke opposition to the ERA, like unisex public restrooms, eliminations of laws against child molestation, the banning of Boy and Girl Scouts, mandatory family planning/abortion, the seizure of children from their families so they could be raised in communist collectives, sending women into combat (funny how that one happened anyway), and of course the jailing of all conservatives who disagreed with feminazis. Happily, the amendment was defeated, and women are now completely equal to men without it.
Besides, any fool knows that those things will only happen if gay marriage is allowed.
Next Week: Jimmy Carter, the worst president in history, because these books were published before Barack Hussein Obama unconstitutionally seized power.
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.