New Cultural Revolution Courtesy of the People’s Republic of Oakland

In another misapplication of the American doctrine of the separation of church and state, a California school district is ushering in a Cultural Revolution a la Mao by censoring founding documents because they contain references to God and religion. A principal in Oakland is requiring the redaction of the Declaration of Independence, diaries of George Washington and writings of John Adams, as well as state constitutions to expunge such references.

The Alliance Defence Fund is suing the school district for this unconstitutional censorship of history, and for good reason. In relation to the district’s actions, the ADF has stated that

[t]he district is simply attempting to cleanse all references to the Christian religion from our nation’s history, and they are singling out Mr. Williams [a school teacher who had handed out the Declaration of Indepence as supplemental reading for his students] for discriminatory treatment. Their actions are unacceptable under both California and federal law.

The reason that this is not only shocking in its leftist audacity but also downright dishearting is that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is indeed a necessary and beneficial doctrine. The separation of church and state stems in large part from Europe’s blood-drenched experience with established churches. But the idea of the separation of church and state was not meant as a vehicle for the political sanitization of history. It seems that even the most devoted ACLU lawyer or other adherent of “Living Constitution” notions of constitutional interpretation should realize this.

This is a serious perversion of the doctrine of the separation of church and state. It is an instance of the state being entirely hostile towards religion, rather than simply neutral as between different religions. It is absurd to think that the Declaration of Independence runs afoul of the First Amendment. Jeff Lindsay’s humor does justice to this ridiculous attempt at censorship. The Constitution in no way prefers atheism to religiosity, neither does it require a cleansing of history to expunge references to religion out of its tomes.

That is why I have compared this with the Cultural Revolution. It is an attempt to rewrite history or to deny its import to the students who are learning about their heritage. It is scary to think that someone would actually want to cleanse historical documents in this manner and deprive students of an accurate depiction of their heritage as Americans. Even if the parents of these children are atheists, it causes reason to stand still for those children to receive a politically sanitized version of history. That many of the founders were religious people is merely a historical fact: it does not imply that the students learning about them need to become religious.

8 Responses to New Cultural Revolution Courtesy of the People’s Republic of Oakland

  1. Anonymous says:


    Posted by john fowles

  2. Anonymous says:


    Posted by john fowles

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, school administrators manage to read the First Amendment as a directive to censor our founding documents and rewrite history. And we let these people teach our kids? Something is wrong here.

    As to the People’s Republic theme, that crosses my mind every time I drive past the colorful and official-looking “Nuclear Free Zone” signs as I drive into Berkeley. It’s not just nukes they’re missing.

    Hey–new template? Seems like you’ve upgraded since my last visit. 

    Posted by Dave

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I combined Ronan’s United Brethren template with the elements I liked from the old Blogger Rounders template.  

    Posted by john fowles

  5. Anonymous says:

    I like the new template mr. fowles. Looks good! :) 

    Posted by danithew

  6. Anonymous says:

    “The Declaration of Independence, sections of the United States Constitution, and other historical documents are re-printed in our textbooks, displayed in some of our school buildings, and taught in our social studies curriculum and lessons. There has been no ban of such documents or their underlying principles in the Cupertino Union School District.”

    That text was taken from a press release (PDF format) from the Cupertino Union School District, the home of the “Maoist” insurgency referenced above (as much as the East Bay would play better into the desired storyline, Cupertino is in fact south of San Francisco, in radical leftist Silicon Valley).

    Just thought I’d inject a bit of fact (or at least contrary opinion) into a story that has otherwise spiralled out of control. Sure, had the story taken place as analyzed above (which is how I first heard it, myself), I too would be outraged. But it seems that at best we really don’t know what’s going on in this case, and we should probably wait to see what all the facts are (which likely won’t happen until the lawsuit is over).

    I have no doubt that many in this country would love to remove God completely from it. But I think that if this will be accomplished, it will not be with shocking, sweeping changes from on high in our system of government, but rather from quiet, gradual acquiescence on the part of our nation’s citizens. It’s how sin works best.

    For what it’s worth, by the way, I’ve never understood the desire on the part of so many Christians to engage every bit as much in historical revisionism as the aformentioned administrators are accused of by way of pretending that most of America’s founding fathers and a good deal of its presidents were all Christians in the modern sense of the word. Can anybody read a decent amount about Thomas Jefferson and conclude that he would ever step foot into a modern Christian church? I mean, really? 

    Posted by tODD

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the update and the good news that this school district isn’t as insane as it seemed from the initial news report about the lawsuit. 

    Posted by john fowles

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kaimi has noted a link over at T&S to a blog that says that the teacher in question was using American history and misinformation associated with it (such as attributing Christian/Bible friendly quotes to the Framers) as a cover to proselytize for his brand of evangelical Christianity. If that is true, then I can say that I find the teacher’s actions deplorable and find it justifiable that the school district demanded to approve of his curriculum before he went forward with it.

    Also, if this is true, it speaks against the reliability of a Christian online news source (WorldNetDaily appears to be such) for getting to the facts of an event (I should have been wary of trusting a Christian source given the blatant misinformation that they often publish about Latter-day Saints).

    Anyway, if it is true that the school district is trying to excise any reference to God or religion from founding documents in a bizarre application of the doctrine of the separation of church and state, then it is in the wrong and is engaged in a frightful cultural revolution. But it is more realistic to believe that this Christian teacher was inappropriately using misquotes and misinformation regarding the history of the Founding Era to proselytize to the schoolkids. This is actually a relief, since I am well acquainted with Evangelical antics in distorting history to proselytize, and the suppression of that kind of thing is only proper in a public school. 

    Posted by john fowles

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