Texas Votes to Keep Moses in Social Studies Curriculum as Influence on Founding Fathers

Education officials in Texas have voted to keep Moses in the state's school curriculum so that students can learn about the role he played in influencing the Founding Fathers.

The Texas Board of Education's approval, pending a final vote on Friday, means that students in the state will study the prophet, along with the jurist William Blackstone and philosophers John Locke and Montesquieu.

Moses is considered a prophet in Christianity, Judaism and Islam and was included in the state's education curriculum in 2010.

"In the United States, the most common book in any household in this time period was, in fact, the Bible, and people who didn't necessarily believe in religion as such...still had a great knowledge of the Bible," said board member Pat Hardy.

Circa 1500 BC, Moses raises his rod to command the closing of the Red Sea following its parting. Texas officials voted that students should learn about Moses as an influence on the Founding Fathers. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"In referencing Moses in the time period, they would have known who Moses was and that Moses was the law-giver," The Austin-American Statesman quoted him as saying.

Some Republican board members cited how the Supreme Court ruled in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas Capitol (via Fox News).

Democrats on the board, however, questioned Moses's role in shaping the Founding Fathers' views and argued that he should be dropped as a subject in the curriculum.

Board member Ruben Cortez said: "Maybe he was a law-giver, but that doesn't mean he influenced our Founding Fathers.

"That doesn't mean we can make a giant leap that someone from an entirely different continent centuries ago...was somehow responsible for drafting...these founding documents."

The board also agreed to change language regarding Islamic fundamentalism that fueled bias against the Muslim community. Students will instead learn about the geopolitical influences behind radical Islamic terrorism.

Members also rejected the recommendation of a working group to delete former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from the curriculum.