Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chuck Norris a Veteran of Fundagelical Endorsements

Chuck Norris' endorsement of Mike Huckabee is not his first foray into fundagelical politics. He and his wife Gena are the prime spokespersons for an outfit called The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS). Take a look at two of their promotional spots on the NCBCPS website.

NCBCPS, like most things in the fundagelical universe, is not, of course, what it seems to be at first glance. The story for general public consumption is that it just wants students to learn about the Bible as literature, history and an essential part of our cultural heritage. It's really a stealth movement to put the most extreme brand of fundagelicalism into public school classrooms. The organization boasts enormous success, claiming, for example, that 423 school districts have adopted their curriculum in 37 states and that 95% off all school boards they have approached have voted to implement it. They currently say on their website that over 221,000 students have already taken the course.

People for the American Way has been tracking these folks for some time, however, and have noted that in their public pronouncements they have played very loosely with their numbers, avoiding publication of a full list of school districts using their program but claiming that number has grown from 45 to the current 423. So no one really knows how successful they are. People for the American Way notes other discrepancies and some of the fundagelical powerhouses who are really behind the movement, including D. James Kennedy (now deceased), Pat Robertson, Howard Phillips and David Barton (I'll get around to Barton in a later post).

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) has done the best job of researching the NCBCPS agenda and has a detailed analysis of their curriculum (which is very difficult to come by) available on line. Glance only at the Executive Summary, if you wish, but I recommend at least scanning the full report (in pdf format). You should especially check out pp. 18-19 where they cite Dr. Carl Baugh (no scientific doctorate, just one in education and another in theology) and plug his Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas. Dr. Baugh has a weekly program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and has the "evidence" that the earth is just 6,000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

A few years ago, The Daily Show sent Mo Rocca down to Glen Rose to interview Dr. Baugh at his Creation Evidence Museum. Dr. Baugh seemed delighted to be on the Tv and proudly showed off his "museum" which turned out to be housed (so help me) in a double-wide trailer. The interview used to be up on YouTube, but Viacom made them take it down, and not even a transcript is available anywhere, including the official Daily Show website. But take my word for it, that segment was a thousand hoots.

I assume Dr. Baugh is still operating out of his double-wide since his website currently states that "contributions toward our building of a permanent museum facility are greatly needed and appreciated."


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