Religion Bias

Religious bias in textbooks is often observed in countries where religion plays a dominant role.

Many countries and states have guidelines against bias in education, but they are not always implemented. The guidelines of the California Department of Education (Code 60044) state the following: "No religious belief or practice may be held up to ridicule and no religious group may be portrayed as inferior." "Any explanation or description of a religious belief or practice should be present in a manner that does not encourage or discourage belief or indoctrinate the student in any particular religious belief."

On the basis of these guidelines, the Board of Education of California corrected in 2005 misrepresentations of Judaism, Islam and Hinduism in schoolbooks. Many of these misrepresentations were described as biased, erroneous or culturally derogatory. All 500 changes proposed by Jews and about 100 changes proposed by Muslims were accepted, but many of the proposed changes related to Hinduism were opposed by a group led by Professor Witzel, although this group also admitted that they were unaware of the nature of the proposed changes when they wrote their protest letter on November 7, 2005.

One change that was opposed by the Witzel group was to use the word “deity” instead of statue for murthis (carved images of a God), another change that was opposed was to use upper-case “G” for God, because for Hindus there are many forms of the one god. The correction of an incorrect statement about the Hindu epics was rejected by the Witzel group with the comment: "Who in Sixth Grade cares which epic was 'written' first?".

Site Map