The Texas Board of Education announced Monday that it will order new Bibles for Texas schools that remove all references to Jesus on the grounds that his teachings are “too liberal” for the classroom. The changes will likely impact Bibles sold throughout the U.S. because Texas buys more Bibles than any other state.
The board approved the changes in a 10 to 5 party-line vote with unanimous support from Republicans. Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist and leader of the board’s conservative faction, said the changes were approved without any input from theologians, in keeping with the board’s practice of editing schoolbooks on its own and ignoring experts.
“I know there’s folks who will say we in Texas have no business teaching religion in the classroom, well frankly a bunch of ignorant zealots like us have no business meddling with textbooks either but that’s didn’t stop us from doing so,” McLeroy said. “Here in the republic of Texas we don’t give a lick what the rest of the country thinks, unless of course we need federal money or help with stuff like hurricanes.”
While the move to strike Jesus from the Bible took some board members by surprise, McLeroy said it was important to restore a sense of conservative balance to what he called “an awfully preachy book.”
“I finally sat down to read my Bible and you know what? Jesus told people to give all their money to the poor, hell that’s communism,” McLeroy said. “I thought for sure he would be telling us to stick our noses into everyone else’s business and hate those who are different. It turns out Jesus said you should love your enemies, what kind tree-hugging hippie crap is that?”
Many of the removed references to Jesus will be replaced with passages by conservative author Ayn Rand, known for her philosophy of objectivism. The theory contends that people should only look out for themselves and ignore the needs of others. The addition of Rand to the Bible was suggested by board member David Bradley, a conservative Republican.
“Ayn Rand said you should be selfish, look out for only your own happiness and not give a damn about the poor. She questioned whether we needed values at all,” Bradley said. “She must not have had any kids so it was easy to not care what kind of world they inherited, now that’s my kind of religion.”
Among the changes in the revised Bible, the story of Jesus feeding thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish was replaced with Rand stealing the food, eating it herself and then laughing at the starving masses around her. McLeroy predicted the new Bible would be a big hit with religious conservatives as they would now have a book that justifies their actions instead of conflicting with them.
“Rand was a strong supporter of individual liberty. As religious conservatives we’re supporters of individual liberty as well, namely my individual right to tell other individuals how to live their lives,” McLeroy said. “We support freedom for ourselves to live as we want and freedom for everyone else to do as we say.”
The move follows an earlier decision by the same board to approve highly edited history books that removed all references to Thomas Jefferson because he supported the separation of church and state. The changes also removed any reference made by the founding fathers that proved the U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation. References to the Atlantic slave trade were changed to “the Atlantic triangle trade.”
“Removing Thomas Jefferson from the history book makes it easier to pretend the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation. The founding fathers were adamant in their belief that the U.S. should be a nation for the freedom of religion, but not to favor one religion over any other,” McLeroy said. “After all, that’s the reason the pilgrims came here in the first place, to worship how they wanted and not have it forced on them. Now that we’ve removed these facts from the history book it’ll be a lot easier for us to spread misinformation and raise our kids to be as ignorant and closed-minded as we are.”
History book additions include the claim that Joseph McCarthy was right in his persecution of innocent Americans over alleged ties to communism, a section titled “liberals are always wrong” and three chapters declaring that Texas is “a kick-ass state.”