April 1st 2006

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The lessons of Cyclone Larry

EDITORIAL: Elizabeth and the future of the monarchy

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Beazley - federal Labor's last best hope?

INTERNET: Labor's mandatory filtering pledge

NATIONAL SECURITY: When a search warrant becomes a death warrant

ENERGY: U.S. investors head for ethanol industry

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Emperor's new clothes / Tokenism to vandalism / West Papua - here come the people smugglers / heaven help the working man

CHARTER OF RIGHTS: Sneaking through a radical agenda

VICTORIA: School textbook vilifies Christianity

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Liberal debacle in SA election

TASMANIA: Greens lose out in Tasmanian poll

AVIAN FLU: China obstructs fight against flu pandemic

OPINION: What is behind the rise of European anti-Semitism?

Not anti-capitalist (letter)

Kernot affair the start of the Democrats' rot (letter)

Forces of evil at work (letter)

Disturbance in the force (letter)

CINEMA: Brokeback Mountain - a case of sour grapes


BOOKS: THE NARNIAN: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Alan Jacobs

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School textbook vilifies Christianity

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, April 1, 2006
The politically-correct education establishment thinks nothing of attacking Western civilisation and the Christian faith, writes Bill Muehlenberg.

It seems that the historical revisionists and terrorist-appeasers are at it again. A recent Victorian textbook has made a comparison between the Crusades and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Defenders of the textbook say it is merely being deliberately provocative and designed to spark debate.

The text, Humanities Alive 2, is aimed at Year 8 students. The Victorian president of the Australian Education Union, Mary Bluett, defended the book saying it was meant to spark discussion and tease out ideas from students.

But there are two major problems here. One is the deliberate rewriting of history and distortion of fact. The second concerns yet another attack on Christendom and Western civilisation.

The Crusades

Concerning the first, one can begin by saying that the Crusades were not a highlight of either Christian or Western history. But they do have a context which must be understood.

First, a few facts. In all there were seven major Crusades, beginning in 1095 when Pope Urban II called the first Crusade, and finishing in 1291. Looked at one way, the Crusades were simply the reaction of the Christian West to more than three centuries of Islamic expansion, mistreatment of Christian populations in the Holy Lands, and harassment of religious pilgrims.

Did unnecessary bloodshed take place at the hands of the Crusaders? Absolutely. And in some ways it was worse than the equally horrible bloodshed committed by Muslims, because it was not justifiable by Christian beliefs. Indeed, later Christians were to repudiate concepts of holy war altogether, as they developed a more humane "just war" theory.

Moreover, there was a mixture of religious and secular motivations - good and bad reasons - behind the Crusades. Four hundred years earlier, the Muslims conquered Palestine by the force of the sword. Christians were often prevented from going on pilgrimage to visit the holy places, and many were killed when they tried to do so. Christians in Jerusalem often suffered terribly under the Muslims. So many Christians wanted to reclaim the Holy Lands from Muslim rule.

But to equate this with what happened on September 11 is ludicrous. Indeed, one can argue that September 11 was a continuation of the principle of Islamic expansion, begun 1400 years earlier - the very thing the Crusaders were responding to.

As I mentioned, the principle of just war developed out of Christian - and Greek - thinking, which among other things made a clear demarcation between civilians and soldiers. Non-combatant immunity has always been a principle of just war theory. But such distinctions were lost on September 11, as with most terrorist attacks. In these, civilians are deliberately sought out. They are the target, not just innocent bystanders caught up in the fighting.

Of equal concern with this textbook episode is that this is but another tedious example of how far to the left our teaching establishment has come, and how many of our educational elite simply despise their own heritage and culture. This anti-Christian, anti-Western mindset is characteristic of our politically correct education establishment.

Of course, they argue that they are just trying to get our students to think. Oh yeah? Does that mean that we can expect a textbook equating the rise of Islam with the rise of National Socialism, just to "spark debate"?

Will we soon be seeing textbooks comparing the Green movement with the Ku Klux Klan in order to be "deliberately provocative"? Or will we have textbooks drawing parallels between Aboriginal dreamtime spirituality and the Raëlian cult in order to help students "tease out ideas"?

Somehow, I don't think so. It has been open season on Western civilisation and the Christian faith for some time now, but plenty of other groups and ideologies will never suffer similar treatment.

Crying censorship

The president of the History Teachers Association has said they couldn't sit down and "review every textbook that comes out". But if the above three comparisons were found in our textbooks, they would be demanding our children be protected from such outrageous material.

But such are the double-standards of the radical-left PC brigade. And such are their self-loathing and culture-bashing as well. But our children should not have to suffer as a result of the PC crusade to promote this radical agenda.

  • Bill Muehlenberg

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