Chuck Norris Rewrites US History
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 09:30:51 AM EST
Since an initial, very popular post I did several months ago entitled Chuck Norris Wants To Kick Secularism's Ass, Pummel Bible Into Public Schools ?, on Chuck Norris's association with a nonprofit that's trying to get its fake-history larded Bible study curriculum into US public schools , Chuck Norris has became a favorite, convenient foil for us here at Talk To Action because he keeps trotting out, in column after column on WorldNet Daily, a procession of falsified American history. It's irresistible; Norris simply must be mocked. Nothing less will do. I'm going to walk back through a number of "Chuck Norris" posts we've made here on Talk To Action.
I didn't actually create the Chuck Norris / history abuse theme - rather, I think it was just laying around, and so I picked it up and exploited it for the inherent, cheap sensationalism. Here's where that started:

'Christian Nation' Mythos Enters America's Public Schools, As 'Bible Curriculum' Reportedly in 382 School Districts [ note: see full story for Norris video ]

chuck norris with gunsMartial arts maven Chuck Norris, legend has it, can defeat packs of savage wild animals, hordes of vicious, armed goons, and even onrushing Mack trucks with nothing more than his hands and feet. Now, Norris wants to kick secularism's ass - he wants the Bible back in public schools. But roundhouse kicks or even the "claw of death" are not especially useful for slipping a sectarian Bible course curriculum touting fake history into public schools. Stealthy, social tactics are needed. Will Chuck Norris become a Liar For Jesus ? We don't yet know but Norris has touted the work of the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools as it sneaks, in a slick wrapper of dubious and flat-out fraudulent takes on American history, its Christian nationalist Bible course curriculum into public schools, cities, and towns across America. Meet the The National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools (NCBCPS), a stealth effort associated with the far right Council On National Policy and led by a woman who has said God has commanded her to bring the Bible back into public education.

read more of "Chuck Norris Wants To Kick Secularism's Ass, Pummel Bible Into Public Schools ?"

Whereas I've milked the Norris cow for its sheer silliness, Chris Rodda, being the historian, has done the heavy lifting in terms of  identifying the many types of history falsification to be found in The National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools' Bible Class Curriculum. More Chuck Norris-ism can be found in the interstices of Chuck Norris Helps the NCBCPS Spread David Barton's Lies, and Even More Historical Revisionism in the NCBCPS Curriculum

In my slightly tongue-in-cheek Chuck Norris Fights For Bible Classes With "Mind Karate", I utilize a combination of techniques to ridicule Chuck Norris's citation of fake history and his haphazard proximity to various ridiculous forms of ideological extremism (such as "Geocentrism") and note that although Norris may be an excellent martial arts fighter, in a battle of "mind karate" I'd likely kick his ass.

People on all parts of the political spectrum abuse the Treaty Of Tripoli - some supporters of church/state separation brandish the Treaty as if it's a clove of garlic that can fend off vampires intent on sucking dry the true intent of America's founders, that the United States was to be a secular nation. On the other end, would-be theocrats try to twist the rather unambiguous nature of the treaty's rhetoric into pretzel shaped obfustication, and that's the subject of Don Byrd's Church-State Cage Match: Chuck Norris v. The Treaty of Tripoli in which Byrd, possibly riffing off my Chuck Norris can't fight "mind karate for sh_t" theme, wryly mocks Norris's clumsy efforts to explain away the Treaty of Tripoli.

Chuck Norris's latest hamfisted bout, in his serial abuse of American history, in which he mangles the context and historical significance of the Treaty Of Tripoli, has apparently provoked Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version Of American History (volume 1) author Chris Rodda, probably out of sheer exasperation, to serialize an entire chapter of her book, to be published in consecutive posts here on Talk To Action, to clear things up.

United States Treaties with the Barbary States should help immensely in terms of flushing the muck out of the swamp that current, common understanding of the Treaty Of Tripoli has become. Perhaps Chuck Norris should tone up his cranial folds by giving it a read.

On another serious note, in The Plot To Destroy Public Schools In Your State I note that, while the nonprofit Chuck Norris stumps (or stomps, perhaps more accurately), for The National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools is trying to "theocratize" public schools, another related ideological and political wing of the Christian right is simply trying to destroy public schools or phase them out altogether, by promoting the "voucher" movement.

As a footnote, Chuck Norris makes a cameo appearance in one of a series of warhorse pieces I did last spring, excoriating Time Magazine's Dave Van Biema for a piece he did on the push for Bible curricula in public schools.


If you are interested, Talk To Action features a considerable collection of posts on the ongoing effort to falsify American history. You can access these posts here and here

Why should you care about the falsification of US History ? Well, one place to start is the fact that leading US Senators and Congress members, in both political parties, apparently cannot identify fake US history when it is declaimed on the Senate and Congress floors. Was the US founded as a "Christian Nation" ? When leading US politicians appear to be muddy on the point we've got problems.

Talk To Action co-founder Frederick Clarkson has written perhaps the definitive summation of why fake history matters, in History is Powerful: Why the Christian Right Distorts History and Why it Matters

The notion that America was founded as a Christian nation is a central animating element of the ideology of the Christian Right. It touches every aspect of life and culture in this, one of the most successful and powerful political movements in American history. The idea that America's supposed Christian identity has somehow been wrongly taken, and must somehow be restored, permeates the psychology and vision of the entire movement. No understanding of the Christian Right is remotely adequate without this foundational concept.

But the Christian nationalist narrative has a fatal flaw: it is based on revisionist history that does not stand up under scrutiny. The bad news is that to true believers, it does not have to stand up to the facts of history to be a powerful and animating part of the once and future Christian nation. Indeed, through a growing cottage industry of Christian revisionist books and lectures now dominating the curricula of home schools and many private Christian academies, Christian nationalism becomes a central feature of the political identity of children growing up in the movement. The contest for control of the narrative of American history is well underway.

History is powerful.

Chuck Norris, I'd add, is powerful too. But in a different way.

When do we teach history? History appears to be falling into an abyss. Respect for historians is low and interest in their work seems even lower. History is almost never well funded. For a variety of reasons, professional historians very rarely engage in public discourse on "fake history" and the "falsification of US history" (wonderfully descriptive terms!). I will not comment on how much most historians participate meaningfully in any public discourse. A few years ago, I heard a history professor nearing retirement telling three newbies, myself included, that it did not matter what we taught the freshmen in the "general ed" courses, as none of them would major in history anyway. I feel certain none of his students ever did major in history. I recently heard a presentation given by a professional historian to a well educated and well read audience (of mostly non-historians). The presentation was horrible, the historian was poorly prepared, assumed wrongly that the audience knew nothing, and appeared not to care. The audience knew and responded accordingly. We all need to take more responsibility for the rise of "fake history".

by gertrudes on Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 07:41:23 PM EST
And, I've been a history ignoramus myself. But, history matters....

Where did our government come from ? What were its philosophical origins ? I'll defer here to Chris Rodda:

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 10:15:32 PM EST

The threat posed by NCBCPS is disturbing. However, I would like to see Talk to Action address the fundamentalist and neocon attacks on higher education as well. Though different, the threats are just as real and just as serious. Right wing groups and students pressure, sometimes successfully, for the censure and even firing of "liberal" professors and instructors. Fundamentalist students file complaints against professors who express views that differ from the students' religious beliefs (eg., be careful how you talk about the Salem witch trials, Puritanism, the First Amendment, etc. . . .). Right wing academic "reform" organizations tell students, parents, politicians, and community groups that they just want "the facts" and nothing more taught in history classes (translation: traditional history of famous, Christian, western, white men with the professor never daring to mention any of his/her opinions, recent research, or newer interpretations). This is not academic freedom. And history is not the only discipline targeted. The far right also targets the sciences (evolution, stem cell research, and the like), English, and the social sciences. Take a look at David Horowitz and his campaigns against liberalism as he sees it. Has your state legislature considered a so-called "academic bill of rights"? These "bills of rights" are far from what their name suggests. The fundamentalist contamination of the public schools spread upward into higher education several years ago. If a non-academic group claims to be working to protect political balance, or something similar, in colleges and universities, look under the rock carefully before you assume there isn't a snake hiding there.

by gertrudes on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 02:38:22 PM EST

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