Appealing Poll: Texans Stand Tall For Church-State Separation

July 14th, 2010
By Sandhya Bathija
Church Politicking

Earlier this year, we reported on preliminary survey results that showed most Texans (72 percent) did not want the Religious-Right leaning Texas State Board of Education to determine public school curriculum.

They wanted teachers and scholars to write curriculum standards, not an elected board of ideologues pushing an agenda.

The Texas Freedom Network has now revealed the full results of this survey, and the Houston Chronicle and several other news outlets have picked up the story.

The poll surveyed 972 likely voters (from across the political spectrum) and was conducted by Washington-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

The results prove the Texas State Board of Education, in making public schools a culture-war battleground, are completely out of touch with what most Texans want.

For example, two-thirds of Texans agree that the “separation of church and state is a key principle of our Constitution.” That differs greatly from what the right-wing fundamentalist bloc of the board believes, as we heard from board member Cynthia Dunbar before Texas adopted its misguided standards.

Dunbar prayed for what she hoped students would learn in public schools.

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses,” she said. “Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England…the same objective is present – a Christian land governed by Christian principles.

“I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it,” she continued.

Thankfully, Dunbar’s theocratic views are in the minority in Texas.

Here are some other highlights from the poll:

  • More than half of those surveyed do not believe in publicly funded voucher programs that funnel taxpayer money to private and religious schools.
  • 57 percent (up from an initial 32 percent) opposed the State Board’s right-wing revisions to the Texas social studies curriculum.
  • 80 percent want high schools to teach contraception, including the use of condoms and abstinence.

It’s good to see that most Texans still want the best education for their children and that they stand by basic constitutional principles.

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