July 29, 2009 — -- The debate about whether to teach religious-based social studies in Texas public schools has dominated a broader discussion about the schools' curriculum, which is undergoing a review by state officials hoping to improve the nation's second-largest school system.
The outcome could possibly influence the textbooks used by students in other parts of the country where there appears to be little or no lobbying for such religious-based material.
Of the six experts appointed in the spring by the 15-member Texas Board of Education to review the state's K-12 curriculum, three have said they would like to see more attention paid to the religious aspects of American history.
"The foremost problem that I see is that there is not nearly enough emphasis or credit given to the biblical motivations of America's settlers and founders," Evangelical minister Peter Marshall, the president of the Massachusetts-based Peter Marshall Ministries and one of the experts on the panel, told ABCNews.com.
"Our children need to know the truth about how our country got started," Marshall said.
"You never read about how the founding fathers were nearly all Christian believers and that it is their biblical world view that shaped the way they thought and achieved what they did," he said.
While the reviews written by Marshall and the other experts aren't guaranteed to be adopted, the final decision -- after social studies teachers across the state make changes and additional recommendations to the curriculum -- rests in the hands of a board whose majority is conservative.
David Barton, president of the Texas-based Christian heritage advocacy group WallBuilders, is another expert on the panel who would like to see changes made to the school curriculum.