“A Nation That Forgets Its Past Has No Future”–Winston Churchill
The new curriculum for the Advanced Placement European History test hides the role of Christianity in European history, and also hides Islam’s violent conquests in Europe and its tradition of jihad.
The history “guidelines don’t take seriously the idea that religious faith inspires people’s thoughts and actions,” David Randall, the author of a new report on the APEH framework, told Breitbart News. Randall – the National Association of Scholars director of communications – observes:
The almost complete excision of Islam’s 1400-year violent confrontation with Christendom also makes it almost impossible for students to understand that killings by modern jihadists fall squarely within the historical tradition of Islamic war. The jihadists actually understand that history far better than students educated by APEH do.
This ignorance also disarms Western citizens because you can learn from that history both to recognize the latest exercises in Islamic war for what they are and the range of policy measures European powers have used to counter jihad–which include intelligent and measured acts of statesmanship and security as well as the resort to defensive war. When APEH makes students ignorant of the history of Islamic war against Europe, it means they don’t know how to recognize an old enemy, and they don’t know that you can oppose that enemy by intelligent political action as well as by armed force. By making students ignorant, APEH reduces our choices when faced with jihad to capitulation or (too late, and without benefit of the lessons of the past) total war.
The apex of jihad in Europe came in 1683, when a huge Islamic army marched up from its base in the conquered Balkans to surround and besiege Vienna, now the capital of Austria. The city was nearly overwhelmed during the two-month siege, but was rescued by a Polish-led multinational army that crushed the Islamic army. That victory allowed European Christians to gradually push Muslim occupiers out of Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and the rest of the Balkans over the next 225 years. Islam had earlier been pushed out of Spain in 1492, after a 700-year war. Muslim navies also wrecked trade and conducted slave raids in the Mediterranean sea from the 700s until just after 1800.
Americans who wonder how the country has grown increasingly progressive and secularized need look no further than their public school system over the past half-century. That the current focus is on gender ideology and emotional “safe spaces,” is telling in itself.
The College Board, under David Coleman, the “architect” of the Common Core standards, has already presented its left-leaning and America-diminishing Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum. Now the same Board gives America’s students the APEH, which scholars say has nearly omitted the fact that major world religions have acted as a force in European history.
In his report on the APEH framework titled “The Disappearing Continent,” Randall notes the College Board has all but eliminated the historical connection between faith and culture.
“APEH’s omission of religion shreds every area of nineteenth-century European history,” he writes, citing these examples:
In the realm of internal politics, APEH removes:
- the Kulturkampf from German history,
- Catholic anti-Republicanism and laicité from French history,
- the destabilizing lack of reconciliation between the Pope and the state in post-Risorgimento Italy, and
- the entire fabric of British political history revolving around the conflicts of the Tory Church of England, the Whig and Liberal English Dissenters, the Methodist Welsh, and the Catholic Irish.
In the study of nationalism, APEH erases:
- Catholicism’s role in Irish, Belgian, and Polish nationalism,
- Orthodoxy’s role in Russian nationalism and in the resurrections of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia, and
- Protestantism’s role as an annealing force in Britain, less southern Ireland.
“APEH also nearly eliminates Islam, Orthodoxy, and Judaism, because their very existence complicates and compromises APEH’s simple narrative of secular modernization,” Randall writes, adding that the omission of Islam and the portions of Europe under Islamic rule is the most “dramatic.”
Randall suggests such a glaring purging of history may be “motivated by modern progressives’ reluctance to mention modern Islamist terror, much less to confront its deep roots in Islam’s millennial tradition of jihad.”
“Students who learn history according to the APEH guidelines won’t be able to understand how much of history is made up of people who live for faith, do good for faith, think for faith, create works of beauty for faith, die for faith–and kill for faith,” Randall tells Breitbart News. “If they don’t know this is how the world has always worked, they won’t be able to understand it when they see it happening in front of their eyes.”
Also writing on the APEH guidelines at National Review, Ethics and Public Policy Center senior fellow Stanley Kurtz asserts, “Once the College Board has finished producing detailed curricula for all of its AP courses, we will have arrived at the endpoint no-one openly admits to wanting: a leftist national curriculum.”
Kurtz, who has been sounding the alarm over the College Board’s leftward lurch in the A.P. U.S. History framework, tells Breitbart News, “The people who wrote APEH desperately want to avoid creating a feeling of pride in the achievements of Western Civilization, or a sense that our civilizational accomplishments must be preserved and defended.”
It’s shocking that an updated curriculum like this would omit any mention of Islamist terrorism, but it makes sense in light of the larger multiculturalist goals of the curriculum. Leaving out the problem of modern Islamist terrorism and omitting so much about what makes the West distinctive and admirable are two sides of the same coin. The College Board is more interested in cultivating a sense of shame for slavery and colonialism designed to break our Western pride, than in telling us what has made the West great and why it’s worth defending. Worst of all for the College Board would be to imply that there’s a threat out there that requires a defense at all.
Kurtz believes a serious competitor to the College Board in the area of educational testing is needed.
“The only way to block this is by creating a competing educational testing company advised by the best traditionalist scholars and capable of authorizing alternative curricula and textbooks,” he says. “For those dissatisfied with America’s current direction, there is no better way to begin the task of cultural reconstruction than this.”
Similarly, education activist and American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins writes at Townhall that, with the APEH guidelines, “students will learn nothing about medieval Christianity or the tenets of the Reformation. So determined is the College Board to excise religion from European history that it even manages to discuss the movement to abolish slavery without mentioning its religious foundations.”
“The College Board has proven it can’t be trusted to produce objective scholarship,” Robbins also concludes. “Must we fight a lengthy battle with that monopoly every time it releases a new course framework? We need an alternative to the AP program – as soon as possible.”