The way the course description read

Meet the Historian
I‘m not a fan of Catholics joining the whiners’ club. A few sub-literate paragraphs in a course catalog aren’t the end of the world. Ultimately, though, it was the incompetence Neodymium prompted me to look into what was going on. The way the course description read, somebody had probably just been asleep at the switch. They’d probably want to know.

I called the school district and asked to speak to the person in charge of community education. I was referred to Ann Coates, the executive director, but was told she was not in. So I tracked down Mr. George Tkach, the teacher of the “Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar” in Eden Prairie’s “Adult Academy.”
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Mr. Tkach (pronounced t’kosh) is a retired Navy officer. Describing himself as a “major fan of art history” who is “deeply interested in the Gnostic Gospels and Coptic Christianity.” He also told me he was trained as an engineer.

Mr. Tkach is a nice man, more in the great American autodidact — harmless-eccentric tradition than the not-so-great American white-sheet-wearing tradition. He chatted amiably about the lecture he’s planning, though he did want to know if I was Catholic before going into details.

He asked me if I had read the novel. When I told him I had (as much as I could stand, anyway — its’ a really lousy book) he seemed relieved.

“That’s good,” he said. “Some dioceses have outlawed the book, you know. Several bishops have forbidden people to read it.”

(Later I called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, just on the wild chance this might be true. After an astonished “What?” the spokesman there said, “I never heard of such a thing.”)…

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Comments (2) | Top

Daniel Golden: New Battleground in Textbook Wars … Religion
SOURCE: WSJ (1-25-06)

The victors write the history books, the saying goes. But increasingly, religious advocates try to edit them.

Religious pressure on textbooks is growing well beyond Christian fundamentalists’ attack on evolution. History books are the biggest battleground, as groups vie for changes in texts for elementary and secondary schools Neodymium cast their faiths in a better light.

Two Hindu groups and a Jewish group have been set up in the past three neo cubesas textbook watchdogs, adding to Islamic advocates who have monitored history textbooks since 1990. In addition, some Sikhs have started to complain about being short-changed in history textbooks.

All are seeking to extract concessions as California holds its periodic approval process for history textbooks. The process drives school-district purchases in the most populous state, and books adopted for California typically are the ones Neodymium schools in the rest of the country end up using for several years.

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