The Texas State Board of Education on Friday narrowly approved a resolution calling on publishers to correct a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" in history textbooks.
The 7-6 vote followed a spirited debate on the nonbinding resolution proposed by the board's conservative majority aiming to correct what Dave Welch, head of the Texas Pastor Council, testified amounted to "whitewashing" of some negative aspects of Islam in the texts.
"We're asking you to look at this very carefully," he told the board in testifying for the resolution. "… There are problems, there are imbalances."
But Kathy Miller, president of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, said afterward that the resolution was politically motivated.
"Board members rejected numerous opportunities today to pass a resolution that called on publishers to treat all religions with balance and accuracy in their textbooks," she said in a statement. "It is hard not to conclude that the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims."
It's not clear whether the resolution will prompt textbook publishers to make immediate changes to sections devoted to Christianity and Islam.
Texas wields considerable clout in the textbook publishing world as the largest "adoption state" in the U.S., where a central body approves public school textbooks rather than individual districts.
But as msnbc.com's Kari Huus reported earlier this week, "All board members will be up for election in 2012, and implementation of any new textbook standard would come only after that. Budgetary constraints may slow it down further. In the interim, there is discussion of requiring textbook companies to create supplements to address the new standards."
You can learn more about the resolution and the underlying debate in her story.