Archive for the ‘Cynthia Dunbar’ Category

Perry’s First Endorsement

June 15, 2011

Cynthia Dunbar, of course.

So what could potentially be so unique about a “Perry for President” bid? Being a Texan, I can clearly say that while Perry has admittedly made a few mistakes, he legitimately has both a backbone and a moral compass. But again, these traits could be seen in other candidates. So what could be the defining difference really?

It would appear to be his unquestionable ability to be arguably extreme and yet appeal to the masses through his extremeness. His boldness to be outspoken even to the point of threatening succession from the Union garnered him the love and respect of those seriously disenfranchised with this current administration’s willingness to trample on our Constitution. Perhaps it is a trait that can only be fully implemented by a Texan, a conviction that conjures up the image of bravery and unrelenting passion exhibited at the Alamo, who knows? It does appear that perhaps the rebel with a cause, true to Texas grit of Governor Perry may be just the type of leadership necessary to take on a slick community organizer Obamaesque campaign. I think the Republican Party just might be ready to embrace the following image: an unrelenting Texas gunslinger bearing down on Obama with a take no prisoner’s attitude in the 2012 presidential election.

Putting aside the inscrutable grammar and grade-school spelling errors (what Perry threatened was “secession,” Cynthia. “Succession” is what Marsha Farney did to you when she took over your seat on the Texas State Board of Education), it’s hard to disagree with Dunbar’s analysis. Gov. Perry’s ability to be “extreme and yet appeal to the masses through his extremeness” does indeed make him a unique candidate for president. But while Dunbar celebrates it as strength of character, it scares the hell out of those who believe “extremeness” does not lead to sane, common-sense government.

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Cynthia Dunbar’s Reading List

June 2, 2011

Our friend Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches points us to some juicy information we overlooked when writing our recent post on former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar: the required reading list for the law professor’s “Foundations of Law” course at Liberty Law School. Through the magic of the Internet “Way Back Machine,” you can find the assigned reading list from her course in fall of 2010. It’s revealing:

Foundations of Law I (Law 501) –Professors Lindevaldsen & Dunbar

Required Texts:
Rousas Rushdoony, This Independent Republic (Ross House Books) ISBN: 1879998246

Frederic Bastiat, The Law (Foundation for Economic Freedom) ISBN: 9781572462144

Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (American Vision) ISBN: 0915815842

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity (Zondervan Publishing House) any edition is acceptable

Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (Crossway Publishers) any edition is acceptable

David Barton, Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion (Paperback) (5th ed., 2008 WallBuilders) ISBN: 9781932225631

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Catching Up with Cynthia Dunbar

May 23, 2011

When former State Board of Education member — and perennial TFN nemesis– Cynthia Noland Dunbar left the board last December after declining to run for a second term, some wondered if she was withdrawing from the culture wars, which she repeatedly stoked during her tenure on the board. She has been notably (and thankfully) absent from the Texas political scene this spring, so we were curious about what she was up to these days.

Turns out, she didn’t retire — she just took her act on the road. (more…)

Cynthia Dunbar and the Laws of Nature

April 11, 2011

Former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar is still proud of the way she helped vandalize the new social studies curriculum standards for the state’s public schools last year. She’s especially happy that new standards for high school government classes require that students learn about “the laws of nature and nature’s God” in a section on the Declaration of Independence. The previous standard had instead referred to “natural law” and “natural rights.” Dunbar believes the difference is important.

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Cynthia Dunbar’s ‘Parting Gift’

November 19, 2010

On Thursday outgoing Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, offered what she called a “parting gift” to fellow board members. Her “gift”: a proposed board resolution attacking federal involvement in education as unconstitutional and calling for state “nullification” of “unconstitutional directives” from the federal government.

Not surprisingly, the resolution reads like a long anti-federal government screed. One section, for example, warns about “the establishment of tyranny” by the federal government. Other examples:

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Board Takes Up Anti-Muslim Measure

September 24, 2010

The Texas State Board of Education is about to take up a proposed resolution attacking Islam and claiming that social studies textbooks are anti-Christian. TFN Insider will keep you updated on progress.

9:53 a.m. – We notice that board members Barbara Cargill and Don McLeroy have been going through world history textbooks currently used in Texas publics schools. Cargill has them stacked at her desk. We anticipate that she and McLeroy will use examples from those books to try to prove that they reflect an anti-Christian, pro-Islamic bias. But those textbooks were approved for Texas schools by this board in 2002, and social conservatives at the time were very happy. Why? Because, as news reports from the time explain, they were able to force publishers to make numerous changes, including the addition of positive references to Christianity and the deletion of neutral or positive references to Islam. From a Houston Chronicle article dated Oct. 30, 2002 (now archived on a conservative Christian website):

The discussion of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., by Muslim extremists was closely read by many reviewers. Raborn criticized a passage in the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill book that discussed how Osama bin Laden’s instructions to his followers to kill Americans was not supported by the Quran, which tells soldiers to show civilians kindness and justice.

“This is going to great length to put a positive light on Muslim teachings considering other passages in the Quran. Either leave this material out alltogether or present more balance,” Raborn said in written comments submitted to the state board.

The publisher replaced the deleted passage with a statement that al-Qaeda’s anti-American beliefs were not shared by all Muslims. “The attacks on the United States horrified people around the world, including millions of Muslims who live in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere,” the book now reads.

Other examples are found in an Oct. 27, 2002, Fort Worth Star-Telegram article in our files (apparently archived on a subscription-only website). The article notes that publishers were forced to delete this passage from one textbooks, World Explorer: People, Places and Cultures:

“But many more other teachings in the Quran, such as the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for their families, govern their daily lives.”

Another textbook, World Civilizations: The Global Experience, added this passage:

“Christianity, for example, appealed to educated people, as it adopted a complex set of ideas about God and life. Its spirituality and its promise of eternal life also appealed to many other groups.”

That article summed up the changes:

“Some new Texas textbooks no longer teach that the Quran stresses honesty and honor, that glaciers moved over the earth millions of years ago or that Communists felt their system of government offered workers more security. “

The reference to glaciers was changed in one textbook to “in the distant past” because creationists insist that these rivers of ice could not have moved over the earth millions of years ago when, they argued, earth didn’t even exist.

Conservatives quoted by the article expressed their delight with the changes they forced publishers to make throughout their textbooks. Here’s what Chris Patterson of the far-right Texas Public Policy Foundation had to say:

“For the most part, we are delighted with the changes. The publishers made very substantive changes in adding content and correcting errors.”

Today, however, the State Board of Education’s bloc of social conservatives claim that social studies textbooks the board adopted eight years ago are anti-Christian and pro-Islam.

10 a.m. – Gail Lowe, state board chair, brings up the resolution. She says this resolution is just about the balanced treatment of “divergent religious groups.” Really? Then why does the resolution specifically attack Islam and make untrue claims about coverage of Islam and Christianity in the standards?

10:01: Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is testifying. We’ll reproduce her testimony on here later. She’s making a sharp criticism of this inflammatory resolution: “It’s hard not to conclude that the misleading claims in this resolution are not the result of ignorance or are instead the result of fear-mongering.” She says: pass a neutral resolution that calls for on publishers to treat all religions fairly and accurately. Attacking Islam in the resolution is unnecessary and divisive.

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Only ‘Real’ Christians Need Apply?

August 11, 2010

Religious-right pressure groups and their leaders regularly encourage Christians to get out to the polls and vote for candidates who support their political agenda. On Monday, for example, the far-right organization Restore America sent out a mass e-mail calling for churches across the country to register Christians to vote in the November general election. Of course, we applaud all institutions — Christian or non-Christian, religious or secular — that seek to increase civic involvement among their members. But this part of Restore America’s e-mail caught our eye:

“Of the 52 million voter eligible Christians in America, 10 million were not registered to vote for the 2006 Election, and over 20 million who were registered, did not vote! . . . Bible believing Christians in America who are eligible to Vote, make up 24% of all eligible voters.”

Really? Only 22 million Christians voted in 2006?

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Independence Day and Religious Freedom

July 4, 2010

We hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Independence Day and recalling the freedoms on which our nation was founded and is still governed. So please take a few minutes to read the words that heralded the birth of our nation.

We also thought it would be appropriate to note the words of two of our greatest American thinkers and heroes, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson, of course, authored our nation’s Declaration of Independence. Madison is often considered the father of the Constitution. We recall the words of both (below) at a time when members of the Texas State Board of Education threaten one of our most cherished and important freedoms by insisting that public schools promote one particular religious perspective over all others. Indeed, some board members, like Cynthia Dunbar, and other influential political activists, like David Barton, even insist that our government, laws and elected officials essentially be judged by religious tests. Jefferson and Madison strongly argued otherwise.

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Expertise = ‘Pre-Holocaust Germany’?

June 25, 2010

Now Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar says giving precedence to teachers and scholars when revising curriculum standards for public schools would be like what the Nazis did in Germany during the 1930s. Really? Seriously?

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Church, State and Cynthia Dunbar

May 27, 2010

In an article on the website of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar is pretending to give history and constitutional lessons about the principle of church-state separation. The article explains that Dunbar’s critics — it focuses largely on the Texas Freedom Network — have been critical about her tasteless attempt to use prayer to score political points at the state board’s meeting last week. As we explained at the time, Dunbar’s prayer to open the meeting came before the board was to decide what, among other things, students would learn about separation of church and state in their social studies classes. Dunbar and other far-right board members don’t accept that separation of church and state is a key constitutional principle.

In the Liberty University article, Dunbar cackles over the fact that the prayer she recited was originally given in 1954 by the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. From the article:

“This is a huge story in that it exposes the bias of the liberal media and organizations that blasted me for saying ‘Christian land governed by Christian principles,’” Dunbar said. “These were not my words, but C.J. Earl Warren’s. TFN [Texas Freedom Network], a horribly liberal organization, tried to save face by saying that I had made a mockery out of religion. I beg to differ; I think the only thing of which I made a mockery were liberal organizations such as TFN, that simply do not know our nation’s history.”

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‘Christian Land Governed by Christian Principles’

May 21, 2010

Even before the Texas State Board of Education took up its expected debate today over what students will learn about separation about church and state in their social studies classrooms, board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, made her position clear. She offered the board’s opening prayer this morning and removed any doubt about what she and other far-right board members want students to learn: America’s laws and government should be based on the Christian Bible.

Laying out in blunt language the “Christian nation” vision of American history that the board’s powerful bloc of social conservatives espouses, Dunbar threw down the gauntlet:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses.”

“Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England…the same objective is present — a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”

“I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”

You will recall that Dunbar, in her 2008 book, One Nation Under God, argued that the Founders created “an emphatically Christian government” (page 18 of her book) and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test” (page 47). Even more damning, this State Board of Education member wrote that public education is a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion,” tyrannical and unconstitutional.

And today she will help decide what the next generation of Texas students will learn about separation of church and state in their public school classrooms.

UPDATE: This isn’t the first time Dunbar has used prayer and religion to push an agenda.

Dunbar Takes New Trip on Extremism Train

April 26, 2010

Good grief. Cynthia Dunbar has demonstrated once again the kind of religious and political extremism that currently dominates the Texas State Board of Education — and the reason academic experts and classroom teachers should be guiding the process of revising curriculum standards for public schools, not politicians with personal agendas.

Speaking last week on a far-right talk show, The American View, (read more about the show here) Dunbar — a Richmond Republican representing a state board district that stretches from west of Houston to Austin — attacked public education and even the religious faith of people who don’t agree with her. She also repeated her infamous attack on President Obama as a terrorist sympathizer. And as the state board prepares to take a final vote next month on social studies curriculum standards for public schools, Dunbar suggested that supporters of separation of church and state don’t understand the Constitution and that the drafters of the First Amendment had no concerns “whatsoever” for the nonreligious.

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Pants on Fire, Ken Mercer

April 25, 2010

Maybe Texas State Board of Education member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, should work on controlling his temper. When you’re mad, as most of us probably heard from our mamas growing up, you often say things that, well, aren’t always completely accurate.

In an e-mail from his re-election campaign today, Mercer charges that the “major print media” is lying about the board’s revision of social studies curriculum standards.

And then Mercer defends the board by … shading the truth.

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Bad Day for the Religious Right in Texas

April 14, 2010

Texas voters on Tuesday dealt two big blows to the religious right in Republican nomination battles for the State Board of Education and the state Supreme Court. Perhaps the state board loss stings the most for the religious right, which effectively took control of the important education panel after the 2006 elections — and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that controversial actions by the board’s fringe-right members in recent years angered and mobilized voters in opposition, even in GOP contests this year.

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They Support Religious Freedom? Really?

April 13, 2010

It looks like Texas State Board of Education members Don McLeroy, R-College Station, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, don’t mind speaking to Republican organizations that discourage — intentionally or not — non-Christians from becoming members. McLeroy and Dunbar will be joining other far-right speakers at an education “conference” hosted by Golden Corridor Republican Women in the Dallas area April 24.

The Golden Corridor group covers Dallas, Collin and Denton counties in North Texas. Check out the group’s logo, which includes a Christian cross positioned over an American flag and an outline of Texas:

Of course, we defend the right of all Americans and private associations to show their faith as they see fit. But we imagine Jews and other non-Christians might not feel very welcome joining a party organization that seems exclusively for Christians. For that matter, we suspect mainstream Christians might feel a bit out of place as well. In any case, Golden Corridor is yet another example of how the Republican Party of Texas is increasingly an exclusionary organization that welcomes primarily conservative Protestant fundamentalists (and others who don’t mind having their personal faith slighted or ignored).

The conference’s audience will also hear from representatives of a variety of far-right state groups. According to the Golden Corridor Republican Women website, the audience will “learn practical and effective ways to improve your school district.” Among the topics: “protecting free speech & religious freedom.”

Yeah. Sure.