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California Versus Christian Textbooks

By PHS Staff
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #96, 2010.

The California University system has decided that certain Christian textbooks are unacceptable.
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Here’s another follow-up article. In August 2008 a federal judge ruled that the University of California can refuse credit for high-school courses whose textbooks teach their subject from a Christian perspective.

Robert Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom pointed out, “This case is very significant as it relates to the future of private Christian education because there's been a longstanding principle that governmental agencies cannot discriminate against a person or entity because of the viewpoint they espouse.”

The textbooks rejected by the University of California system included books by A Beka, BJU Press, Association of Christian Schools (ACSI), and others. Burt Carney, an executive of ACSI, talked with university officials and was told that the problem was not with the actual facts in one disallowed BJU Press physics text, and that if the Scripture verses at the start of the chapters had been removed, the text would likely be acceptable.

Textbooks with religious perspectives accepted by the university were, “Western Civilization: The Jewish Experience” and “Intro to Buddhism,” while “Christianity and Morality in American Literature” and “Special Providence: American Government” were not accepted, even as electives.

With all that as background, you can see why it’s so discouraging that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear this case in October, letting U of CA’s policy stand.

The mass media reported this as a victory for educational integrity. The San Francisco Chronicle went so far as to report UC as saying the textbooks sought to “replace science with the Bible.”

Actually, the issue was that the textbooks taught secular content and a biblical analysis of the facts. Worse, the textbooks urged students to believe and follow the Bible.

Here’s the real reason, in our opinion, for the urgent need to keep consumers of biblical education out of the taxpayer-funded university system:

The College Board reports that students from religious schools in California significantly outscore students from public schools on the SAT. This means that, using objective standards, religiously-trained kids ought to, on the whole, be accepted at U of CA schools in higher numbers than their secularly-trained peers. Can’t have that!

Now, according to an October 3 WorldNetDaily story,

Under [a] proposed federal rule change, institutions of higher education “would be required to have a document of state approval to operate an educational program, including programs leading to a degree or certificate.”

Two former Colorado legislators wrote in the Denver Post,

The [Department of Education]’s power grab carries with it an implicit invitation for various pressure groups to seek legal mandates requiring colleges and universities to implement their pet theories about curriculum, degree requirements, faculty qualifications, teaching methods, textbooks, evolution, phonics, ROTC, climate change, family policy, abortion, race, sexual orientation, economic theory, etc.

Please note that we already have a system of regional accrediting agencies for colleges. However, regional accreditors don’t exercise political oversight over colleges.

Just think how easy it would be to make all colleges refuse biblically-educated students if the Department of Education gets this kind of control.

The final printed rules seem to exempt religious schools. But some kids want to go to non-religious private and state universities. Even in California.

This battle has just begun. And now you know what it’s about.

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