HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Sharlet: I took a course ...

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 04:24 PM

Sharlet: I took a course in "patriotic education" for my book THE FAMILY. Here's what to expect




Unrolled thread here

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1306941956019322880.html

"Patriotic education" is Stephen Miller's fascism + Mike Pence's fundamentalism. Some years ago, I took a course in "patriotic education" for my book THE FAMILY. I spent a season reading its textbooks & talking to its teachers. Here's what to expect... A thread.

It'd be cliché to quote Orwell were it not for the fact that fundamentalist intellectuals do so w/ such frequency. At a rally to expose the “myth” of church/state separation Orwell was quoted at me 4 times: "Those who control the past control the future." 2/

1st time I heard Orwell quoted at a patriotic education rally was from William Federer, author of America's God & Country, which then had sold 1/2 mil copies--cherry picked, distorted, & fabricated quotes for students "proving" U.S. founded as Christian nation... 3/

"Patriotic educators" teach that Jefferson's wall of separation between church & state is misunderstood. It was meant as a "one-way wall," Federer claimed, to protect church from state, not the other way around. 4/

The first pillar of American fundamentalism is Jesus; the second is history, and in the fundamentalist mind the two are converging. We heard that at the White House "History" conference, the notion we need more Christ in our schools, that our past is Christian... 5/

"Patriotic education" is a fundamentalist concept. Just as fundamentalist religion supposes that divine truths are literal & determined by (white male) authority, so fundamentalist history discards the ongoing work of knowing the past. 6/

"Patriotic education" proposes, as did the White House conference, that the Constitution is divine, "god-breathed," as some say, & thus impervious to expanding ideas of rights. That's the religion behind Clarence Thomas' constitutional "originalism." It's false. 7/

Textbooks already written for "patriotic education"--those used in Christian nationalist schooling--emphasize Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which declared “religion” necessary to “good government” & thus to be encouraged through schools. This is cherry picking. 8/

The Christian nationalists aren't wrong that Protestantism was a central part of education for much of U.S. history. It wasn't until the 1930s that public ed veered away from biblical schooling. Because the 1st amendment. Because liberty of conscience. 9/

When I began reading the Christian nationalist school curriculum over a decade ago, it was already being taught to more than 10% of U.S. kids. That number has grown, a lot. It's big enough now to make a bid for control of least some public schools. 10/

The modern Christian Right--without which there would be no Trumpism--began not in national politics but on school boards. Those elections matters. The Right knows that. Those dismissing "patriotic education" as 2020 tactic are themselves ignoring history... 11/

A popular jr. high "patriotic education" textbook begins: "“Who, knowing the facts of our history, can doubt that the U.S has been a thought in the mind of God from all eternity?” Trump, ystrdy: "the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization." 12/

That's from a textbook called "The American Republic for Christian Schools," published by Bob Jones University Press, a major Christian nationalist education publisher. You may remember Bob Jones as the fundamentalist school that banned interracial dating until 2000. 13/

Emphasis at White House history confab on private property. Here's a Christian nationalist high school econ textbook: “One must never come to see... free market as an end in itself. [It] merely sets the stage for an unhindered propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” 14/

"Patriotic education" likely wldn't exist w/out a man named Rousas John Rushdoony--the most radical Christian nationalist & "biblical capitalist" you never heard of. He thought of himself first & foremost as a historian, "correcting" secular, socialist education. 15/

Rushdoony taught the modern pioneers of Christian nationalist ed to teach "providential history," such as the “Protestant Wind” with which it says God helped British defeat Spanish Armada so that the New World would not be overly settled by agents of the Vatican. 16/

Rushdoony also established as bedrock Christian nationalist history idea that secular democracy is defiance of God--that real democracy means submitting to God's will as expressed by his "chosen one," the strongmen He puts in power. Sound familiar? 17/

"History is God's working in man," the director of a popular Christian nationalist education publisher told me. In fact, he preferred to call U.S. history "heritage studies." Trump loves that word, "heritage," too. (Maybe it has something to do w/ the $413 mil he inherited?) 18/

"Heritage studies," or "patriotic education," is a cult of personality. History matters not for its progression of “fact, fact, fact,” Michael McHugh, a pioneer of modern Christian nationalist ed, told me, but for “key personalities.” It's the strongman view of the past. 19/

Trump ystrdy spoke of history as an "unstoppable chain of events"--culminating in him. This isn't a '20 campaign tactic. He's been talking "history" more & more for over a year, chipping away at Rushmore's remaining raw granite to add his name, his "key personality." 20/

Trump doesn't need to know the particulars of Christian nationalist "history" to make it point to him. He surely doesn't know John Witherspoon, the only pastor to sign the declaration, from whom Christian nationalists derive a kind of "democratic" divine right to rule. 21/

Another "key man" already established in the Christian nationalist schooling that's the basis for "patriotic education" is Trump's fave general, MacArthur--fired by Truman for almost sparking WW III. That's who "patriotic ed" wants our boys to be. 22/

If "patriotic education" wants our boys to be "violent men [who] take it by force," as a popular Christian nationalist Bible verse puts it (Matthew 11:12), what does it dream for girls? That they be *subject* to what Christian nationalists--& Stephen Miller--dub "chivalry." 23/

Another "key man" in "patriotic education" is Sgt. Alvin York, a WW I hero repurposed by Christian nationalism as the greatest Christian sniper in U.S. history. "God uses ordinary people," teaches the lesson. Reminds me of a popular Trump t-shirt I saw reporting ralies... 24/



"Patriotic education" proposes he greatest "key men"--Washington, Lincoln, &, now, Trump--as divine. Popular Christian nationalist art often depicts them attended by a ghostly Christ or angels; & texts offer "proofs" of their chosen-ness. This is also known as "fascism." 25/

During Iraq War, Christian nationalists erected 100s of billboards depicting a U.S. soldier backed by a ghostly Washington. Now it's cops, heroes in nationalist imagination of a new war, backed by angels & patriotic ghosts. 26/

As w/ Texas state legislator other day, "patriotic education" repackages defeats--the Alamo--as victories & men who renounced U.S.--Confed. generals--as American heroes. "America" in nationalist imagination *isn't* united; it's "red states," it's whatever strongmen say it is. 26/

"Patriotic education" has always meant preparing for war as a lens through which to view world, whether the Civil War then or a prospective one now. "Boys, are you ready for warfare?" asks one homeschooling video, "Putting on the Whole Armor of God." 27/

Such terms come straight outta R.J. Rushdoony. Christian nationalist apologists, "responsible" conservatives, insist Rushdoony was fringe. & yet he was in many ways father of 2 major ideas: Christian homeschooling, & "providential history"--aka modern "patriotic education." 28/

This gets wonky: Rushdoony in turn studied a turn-of-the-century Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was complex--but 1st Rushdoony, then Watergate felon Chuck Colson, & now today's Christian nationalists--twist his thought into a proof for nationalist education. 29/

They take Kuyper's idea of "presuppositionalism"--in essence, subjectivity--as proof that neutral governance is impossible. Then they declare that subjectivity an objective "fact" to conclude that govt can only be for God or against him. Trump on Biden: "against God!" 30/

Even tho he was an anti-Catholic Christian nationalist, modern "patriotic ed" pioneer Rushdoony loved JFK's rhetoric for its framing of U.S. as a redeemer nation (JFK: "God's work must be our own." So, too, QAnon now cherry picks JFK for prophetic proof of Trump's glory. 31/

A big part of my course in "patriotic education," like Christian nationalist education in general, was consumed by Stonewall Jackson--who got more ink in U.S. History For Christian Schools textbook than even Lee, much less Grant (forget all about Douglass). 32/

A nationalist magazine called Practical Homeschooling used to (& may still) offer instructions for Stonewall Jackson costumes in honor of his birthday. A text called Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend is--well, hell, do I need to explain how f'd up that is? 33/

What's up w/ Stonewall Jackson & Christian nationalist education? The modern version partly began w/ him, when Rushdoony discovered a forgotten bio that framed him as fighting NOT for slavery, or the South, but the supposedly Christian ideals of the founders. 34/

Within "patriotic education," Confederate generals like Stonewall Jackson aren't the traitors they objectively were, they're men who transcended partisanship in the service of Christian ideals. Christian nationalists do denounce slavery, too. Lotta cognitive dissonance. 35/

"Cognitive dissonance" is maybe a good place to pause this thread on Christian nationalist roots of Trump's "patriotic education" initiative. My 6th grader's remote classes are over; time for homeschooling. We *won't* be studying Stonewall Jackson. 37/

10 replies, 800 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sharlet: I took a course in "patriotic education" for my book THE FAMILY. Here's what to expect (Original post)
Nevilledog Sep 18 OP
Thekaspervote Sep 18 #1
intrepidity Sep 18 #2
hedda_foil Sep 19 #3
Nevilledog Sep 19 #5
hedda_foil Sep 19 #6
Volaris Sep 19 #8
hedda_foil Sep 19 #9
dalton99a Sep 19 #4
scipan Sep 19 #7
hedda_foil Sep 19 #10

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 04:26 PM

1. This will squashed like a bug. Will never see the classroom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2020, 04:44 PM

2. I read his book. I trust he knows of what he speaks nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 12:54 PM

3. This is what we called Dominionism and Trump is its savior.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 01:11 PM

5. And you know doesn't know what Dominionism is, nor does he care.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 01:16 PM

6. As long as he gets to be God king, he could care less.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hedda_foil (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 04:44 PM

8. I dont give a fuck what they want to call it.. its Christianitys taliban.

Its end point is a terror state capable of replacing the republic.

Fuck that noise.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Volaris (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 06:51 PM

9. Kick!!!!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 01:09 PM

4. Kick

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 03:44 PM

7. Authoritarianism, in a word.

Teach subjugation to a god, then subjugation to a leader. Women are subjugated to their husbands.

Never think for yourself. Critical thinking is an enemy. This is anti enlightenment, and they ignore that our government was founded on the principles of the Enlightenment.

They are all about power.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 06:52 PM

10. Kick! Get back up there!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread