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Texans for Truthful Textbooks Rally, May 16, 2010
On Sunday, May 16th, over 200 people came to the Texas State Capitol for a "Texans for Truthful Textbooks Rally" in protest of the recent ideological- and religious-based curriculum changes proposed by the Texas State Board of Education. The Board has been promoting a fundamentalist religious agenda at the expense of historical and scientific accuracy. If adopted, these guidelines could lead to Creationism being taught in public schools, erosion of scientific information about evolution, and a biased revision of American history.

The Texas State Board of Education has proposed a large number of controversial curriculum changes including:

  • Removal of Thomas Jefferson from a World History standard about Enlightenment thinkers who have influenced political revolutions around the world, replacing him with John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, and William Blackstone.
  • Rejecting a proposed requirement that students learn why the nation's founders banned government from promoting one religion over others.
  • Changing standards to suggest that the anti-communism "witch hunts" led by Joseph McCarthy were justified.
  • Changing date references from BCE (Before Common Era) to BC (Before Christ).

The rally was sponsored by American Atheists and organized primarily by Kathleen Johnson. Many atheist and freethinker groups from Texas were well represented among the participants. Speakers included:

Joe Broome provided music between speakers. Author and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens was unable to attend due to a conflict, but he wrote a special essay for the event, which was read by Dr. Ed Buckner later in the event. The text of Mr. Hitchens speech is available here.

The majority of the participants were atheists from around Texas, with many Texas atheist groups coming en masse for the event. The crowd was enthusiastic with many holding signs in support of unbiased history. Many wore two-dollar bills in support of Thomas Jefferson's many contributions to the United States.

After the rally, the ACA hosted a meetup at the Dog & Duck pub where over 60 atheists from around Texas gathered to network. Amie Parsons, director of Camp Quest Texas was a special guest on the Atheist Experience, which was shown at the meetup. Thanks to Jen Peeples for organizing this part of a successful day.

Pictures from the Event

Organizer Kathleen Johnson gets the crowd going.

Amie Parsons talks about the importance of education.

Dr. Ed Buckner gave a great speech on the contributions of Thomas Jefferson.

The crowd was comprised of many groups from around Texas, including the ACA.

The diversity of banners showed the breadth of interest in education.

Around 200 people came to the rally.

One sign that summed up the feeling of the event.

A sign that explains why Jefferson was a target.

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