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Inside the Attacks on Critical Race Theory

Upon passage of HB 87 Texas will require students to read Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists in which the third President states the principle of the separation of church and state and proclaims “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions”. At the same time this law prohibits teachers from telling students that “slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States”. Such head-spinning duplicity could be explained glibly by wondering if Texas Republicans ever read Jefferson’s missive to the Baptists. But much more is revealed by taking this and other similar bills moving through state legislatures throughout Red America as deliberate and serious expressions of modern conservatism.

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