Slaves who accepted Jesus into their hearts were better off than the ones who held on to African religions. Black people were pretty happy under Jim Crow until Northerners messed everything up. Noah brought dinosaurs onto his ark and Africans had dinosaur puppies, but the Nazis don’t want you to know that.
These are not crazy ideas; these are lessons from textbooks and workbooks being taught as facts to hundreds of thousands of children in private and charter schools across Florida. Even worse, the taxpayers of Florida are footing the bill for students to learn these alternative facts.
More than 300,000 of Florida’s K-12 students are enrolled in one of the state’s 2,000-plus private schools, according to the Florida Department of Education (pdf). The Orlando Sentinel reports that 140,000 of these children receive state scholarships or vouchers to attend these schools, costing taxpayers nearly $1 billion.
While the state subsidizes these students’ education, Florida’s notoriously conservative Legislature prohibits the state’s Education Department from asking about the curriculum at these schools. But when the Sentinel looked at the curriculum used by some of the private Christian schools, it found that many of the companies that supply the textbooks and lesson plans were staunchly conservative to the point of rewriting history.
But this is not just Florida. This is a national epidemic.
Educators who reviewed textbooks published by the three most popular sources of Christian education—Akeba, Bob Jones University Press and Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE—found that they offered materials that not only were below the standards required by Florida’s Department of Education but also contained lessons that were skewed and just plain untrue.
The Root purchased some of these materials and found a completely new form of white-Jesus-based education.
ACE’s science curriculum, for instance, discouraged scientific experiments, connected the theory of evolution to the Nazis, and included the notion that the so-called gay agenda hides the fact that homosexuality is a sinful learned behavior, explaining:
Some people mistakenly believe that an individual is born a homosexual and his attraction to those of the same sex is normal. Because extensive tests have shown that there is no biological difference between homosexuals and others, these tests seem to prove that homosexuality is a learned behavior. The Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin. In Old Testament times, God commanded that homosexuals be put to death. Since God never commanded death for normal or acceptable actions, it is as unreasonable to say that homosexuality is normal as it is to say that murder or stealing is normal.
Connecting the Bible with science, ACE revealed how Adam and Eve basically lived in God’s version of Jurassic Park; how Noah managed to get dinosaur puppies on the ark; categorized the Loch Ness monster as a plesiosaur; and indicated that African “bushmen” kicked it with the hungry, hungry hippo, Geoffrey, the Toys R Us giraffe and an early version of Barney the dinosaur.
Abeka’s website indicates that the company’s materials “present political conservatism as the Christian’s proper response to America’s glorious heritage because of our biblical perspective.” The textbook publisher says its entire history class is a “lesson in patriotism and biblical character training.”
In its eighth-grade history course, Abeka explained the forced exodus and genocide of Native Americans by telling students how “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Cherokee to Christ.” It also teaches how the Ku Klux Klan “boasted a membership of 5 million,” but attacked whites and blacks equally. However, it explains, Klansmen lynched people not because they were racist but because they “felt the law was slack or slow.” They literally teach that the problem of the KKK was about “due process.”
The book America: Land I Love distills the entire civil rights movement down to six paragraphs in which Martin Luther King Jr. is never killed, no one is ever sprayed with a fire hose, and the seminal moment of the entire movement was when Marian Anderson stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and sang one Easter Sunday.
ACE’s Holy Ghost-infused gospel of history and social studies starts from the beginning, teaching women that they should listen to their husbands to know whether they are doing wrong or right. However, God will tell them whether or not their dresses are too short.
All three books cover slavery very briefly. While they mention that it’s “bad,” they never talk about the brutality of slavery and Jim Crow. One text even teaches that “most black and white Southerners had long lived together in harmony” until “power-hungry individuals stirred up the people.”
Make no mistake about it. This is publicly funded white supremacy.
One of the common themes in the educational materials is that American, Christian and European cultures are good for the world. Many of the lessons explain how the brutality of colonization, slavery and war ultimately helped spread Christianity to the world. Lessons ask students to complete assignments like, “Contrast Aztec beliefs with biblical truth” (pdf). The module on Africa integrates the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus into African tradition.
These books are prevalent in religious and charter schools across America, despite the fact that the lessons often don’t pass the academic standards of many state and local school systems. However, many of these schools boast higher graduation and college acceptance rates because of the less-than-rigorous curriculums, meaning that the students ingrained with these philosophies are often more likely to get the opportunities to spread these ideas.
And if you’re thinking, “But no teacher would teach this crap,” well, in Florida, and most states, teachers are not required to be certified to teach at private schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education (pdf).
The next time someone tells you to “get over” slavery, oppression and the discrimination of the past, it is entirely possible that they have no idea what they are talking about. They might truly believe that slavery was a choice.
After all, if their white ancestors could fight off a Tyrannosaurus rex, choose to be heterosexual, and bring Caucasian Christ to the savages of Africa, Asia and North America, then why are black people still whining about the free rent, universal health care and zero percent unemployment of slavery?
And I know all of this is true ...
I read a book about it.