THE TANDEM PROJECT
NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
Separation of Religion or Belief and State
HOW CHRISTIAN WERE THE FOUNDERS? HISTORY
WARS: INSIDE AMERICA’S TEXTBOOK BATTLES
Available in other languages: click here if the language box does not display.
Issue: Primary School Education – Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: How Christian Were the Founders? History Wars: Inside America’s Textbook Battles, by Russell Shorto, New York Times Sunday Magazine, 14 February 2010.
Excerpts: “Conservative activists on the Texas Board of Education say that the authors of the Constitution intended the United States to be a Christian Nation. And they want America’s history textbooks to say so too.
Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention. The guidelines will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next ten years.
Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. Texas uses some of that money to buy or distribute a staggering 48 million textbooks annually-which rather strongly inclines educational publishers to tailor their products to fit the standards directed by the Lone Star State.
The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however-perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists-some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas board put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
Primary School Education &Freedom of Religion or Belief
A Tandem Project Recommendation for the United States of America Universal Periodic Review 26 November 2010:
Excerpts: The Tandem Project has three proposals for UN Member State Universal Periodic Reviews. The third proposal is on a public, private and religious primary school option to include tolerance for diversity of religion or belief in its primary school curricula. This is based on the following quote from an address by Mr. Piet de Klerk, then the Netherlands Ambassador-at-Large for Human Rights to the 25 year celebration of the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, in Prague, Czech Republic:
“Our educational systems need to provide children with a broad orientation: from the very beginning, children should be taught that their own religion is one out of many and that it is a personal choice for everyone to adhere to the religion or belief by which he or she feels most inspired, or to adhere to no religion or belief at all.” - Mr. Piet de Klerk: Ambassador-at-Large of the Netherlands on Human Rights.
The Tandem Project Follow-up builds on twenty-seven Community Strategies, action proposals by organizations in 1986 to implement the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief: http://www.tandemproject.com/tolerance.pdf .
3. Apply International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief in education curricula as appropriate in all grade levels, teaching children, from the very beginning, that their own religion is one out of many and it is a personal choice for everyone to adhere to the religion or belief by which he or she feels most inspired, or to adhere to no religion or belief at all.
Attachments: How Christian Were the Founders? History Wars: Inside America’s Textbook Battles; United States of America Universal Periodic Review & Freedom of Religion or Belief; The 25 Year Anniversary of the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief.