The Rev. Peter Marshall is one of the “experts” appointed by the Texas State Board of Education who has come under fire for his lack of academic credentials and unapologetic right-wing Christian agenda.
Testifying today at the board of ed hearing on controversial new social studies standards, Marshall didn’t disappoint. He got things started with a rousing 10-minute tour through a Christian-centric version of US history.
“It is obvious beyond contradiction that [the founders] structured American government on the natural rights of mankind, which they firmly believe were the gift of God,” he said.
Asked by an African-American board member about his objection to the inclusion of Thurgood Marshall in the textbook standards — Rev. Marshall called the jurist not “a strong enough example” — Rev. Marshall responded: “He’s known primarily for that one very important Supreme Court decision.”
And he seemed to draw a hard distinction between historical figures who are minorities and historical figures who are sufficiently accomplished for inclusion.
“My plea simply is again, with the hundreds of historical American people, I think it’s very important to emphasize to children character,” he said.
“I’m concerned about the modern trend of just identifying people as members of groups — whether minority groups or whatever,” Marshall said.
Marshall had also objected to the inclusion of Cesar Chavez in the new standards, but, curiously — to make a point, perhaps — suggested listing Pedro Flores, who Marshall falsely described as the inventor of the yo-yo. (In fact he is regarded as the first yo-yo manufacturer in the United States).
Asked by another board of ed member about the yo-yo matter, a flustered Marshall couldn’t come up with a response, saying “there’s an awful lot of people you can include.”