AP History Textbook Rewrites the Second Amendment

An AP history textbook has rewritten the Second Amendment. Here’s the Constitution’s wording:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Here’s the AP history textbook’s reworking of the text:

 “Second Amendment: The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia”AP_Second Amendment

The revision interprets the Second Amendment in a way that concludes that the only way it’s constitutional to “keep and bear arms” is for a person to be part of a “state militia.” United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination gets it backwards as the following article points out:

“The 2nd Amendment says that a militia is necessary to protect a free State, so in order to be able to have a militia, the citizens have a natural right to keep and bear arms and the government cannot infringe on that right.

“The textbook version implies that we’re only allowed to keep and bear arms if we’re in a State militia, a clear misrepresentation of the 2nd Amendment.

High School history textbooks have been used as propaganda props for decades. Mel and Norma Gabler scrutinized textbooks and wrecked havoc on the textbook industry for nearly 50 years. They got involved in reviewing textbooks when they found factual errors in their 14-year old son’s textbook, in particular, the absence of the phrase “under God” from the text of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Further study showed interpretive bias on economic, political, and religious subjects. Their most famous find was a 1973 fifth-grade American history textbook that devoted more attention to Marilyn Monroe than to George Washington. Norma Gabler remarked, “We’re not quite ready for Marilyn Monroe as the mother of our country.”monroe_washington

In 2001, Time magazine reported that their “scroll of shame” of textbook mistakes since 1961 was 54 feet long. In the early 1990s, Texas fined publishers about $1 million for failing to remove hundreds of factual errors the Gablers had found in 11 history books. An example: A textbook said that Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina had supported the tariff of 1816. He opposed it.1

The public schools have done a great job in shifting worldview thinking from theism to humanism right under the noses of parents who extol the virtues of America’s government education system. Consider how some textbooks handled the subject of religion in the founding of America prior to the Texas TEKS guidelines.

One elementary school social studies book has thirty pages of material “on the Pilgrims,” Paul Vitz writes in his book on textbook censorship, “including the first Thanksgiving.”

“But there is not one word (or image) that referred to religion as even a part of the Pilgrims’ life. One mother whose son is in a class using this book wrote . . . that he came home and told her that ‘Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians.’ The mother called the principal of this suburban New York City school to point out that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims thanked God. The principal responded by saying ‘that was her opinion’ — the schools could only teach what was in the books!”2

I suspect that the teaching of America’s Christian history has not improved much since Vitz did his study. School boards and textbook writers can’t hide the truth any longer. As Russell Shorto has to admit the following in his New York Times article “How Christian were the Founders?”:

“There is . . . one slightly awkward issue for hard-core secularists who would combat what they see as a Christian whitewashing of American history: the Christian activists have a certain amount of history on their side.”

What’s true on rewriting what’s true about religion is spilling over into every area of education.

  1. Douglas Martin, “Norma Gabler, Leader of Crusade on Textbooks, Dies at 84,” New York Times (August 1, 2007). []
  2. Paul C. Vitz, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986), 3. []