It was a short article in the paper on page eight. “Texas Board of Education Targets Islam in Textbooks.” The gist of the article was that the social conservatives on the board were not going to stand by and let what they perceived as anti-Christian bias make its way into their social studies textbooks and passed a resolution to that effect. They demanded that more coverage be given to Christianity and faiths other than the Muslim faith. I hope that means they will devote a good chunk of coverage to the Crusades, but I’m not holding my breath.
Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 seems more and more prophetic, every time I read it. A line from the novel comes to mind after reading that article this morning: “Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it’s up to you now to know with which ear you’ll listen.” But how do we know? Where does the truth lie? With so many groups having their own agendas and biases, whom do we believe? Our quality of information is so diminished that we don’t know which way to turn anymore. At least that is true if we are truly seeking truth.
Growing up, I used to think that if you heard something on the news, then you could believe it. Weren’t we all that naive once? But we can never get all of the story. Everything we read has been filtered through someone’s bias, and there is less objectivity than ever. Just deciding what to report on often involves decisions based on what will sell, with what is the most titillating pushing out what might be more newsworthy but boring.
That article on the textbooks really bothers me because it doesn’t mention anything about what the truth is but what the social conservatives want. They are shaping the knowledge base of the young people in Texas. They don’t have to include anything that is false in those textbooks, but by leaving out other “truths,” the students will get a very skewed view of the world, and that is exactly what that majority wants. As Bradbury writes in the Coda of his novel, “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”