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Textbook War

Dr. Durst Duplicates and Designs Disinformation

By Karl C. Priest January 18, 2017

Propaganda and malicious attacks on the good people who were Kanawha County Book Protesters never stops. As long as I am able, I will expose the lies and post the truth. This article serves as an example of what I am talking about.

After reading an article early in January 2017 by Dr. Russel K. Durst I sent him the following email on January 2014.

Dear Dr. Durst:

I respectfully submit some comments regarding your article “The Stormy Times of James Moffett.” [English Journal Vol.47 No.2 (January 2015): 111-130].

There are some errors.

First, it was not Avis Hill who went to prison (125). Second, I read the transcript of the major conspiracy trial and do not recall seeing the term “murder” (125). Regarding that trial, I urge you to read my research. Third, Marvin Horan (the correct name of the pastor who was imprisoned) did not leave town without a forwarding address. (125)

Other errors include, but are not limited to (125):

>Neither Mr. Graley nor Mr. Fike ever advocated “burning” bools.

>The board meeting where the assault occurred was not televised live.

Perhaps you are the victim of the late Mr. Moffett’s errors.

Thank you for quoting from my book. As I have read the many “scholarly” articles about the Protest, I am more certain that my suggested title for Mr. Moffett’s book is an accurate summation of the propaganda, presented as objective, which has spewed from liberal academiciansand journalists since 1974. It seems that the root is primarily the Charleston Gazette and slanted information mixed with outright lies is passed from one researcher to another in perpetuity .

I will respond to your article with more detail on a Textbook Protest Truth webpage.

Yours truly,

Karl Priest

PS:  As a Jew, you should be aware that Bible believing (fundamentalist) Christians are the best friends Israel have. 

Dr. Durst responded on January 16.

Dear Mr. Priest:

Thank you for responding to my recent article.  I appreciate your correcting my factual errors and including a link to your own research.  I attempted to present a balanced view of the textbook controversy and Moffett’s role in it and am sorry that my account included inaccuracies.


Russel Durst

Dr. Durst seems to be a nice man, but his article necessitates a strong rebuttal. It is not a personal attack, but rather an attack on liberalism and liberal scholarship so-called. I sincerely hope, Dr. Durst will “see the light*.”

Following is my promised detailed response to his article.

The first page (111) contains the term “censorship battle” twice in regard to the Kanawha County Textbook Protest. It was not about censorship! Except for a few lapses into objectivity, the first page set the tone of the entire article.

We owe Dr. Durst an ‘atta boy for (albeit, unintentionally) exposing the religious fervency of a leader in the crowd that cries “censorship” when someone objects to the imposition of dangerous worldviews into the minds of their children, as did the Kanawha County Textbook Protestors. Durst noted that Moffett’s “later work drew upon New Age philosophies, self-actualization movements, and Eastern religious practices.” Moffett moved “to Northern California, home to much of the alternative spirituality movement he had become active in.” (112) In the 1980s Moffett’s work centered “more around an increasing fascination with mysticism, yoga, meditation, and spirituality” and “he came to advocate regular and systematic classroom use of meditative techniques.”(126 Emphasis in the original) in his book, The Universal Schoolhouse, Moffett talked “approvingly about how schools of the future will come to focus more and more on these notions of inner growth and spiritual development.” (126) For much more on Moffett’s religion see "Moffett’s Mystical March."

I wonder if Dr. Durst lives in an integrated neighborhood and all of his white neighbors are lily white regarding racism and religious bigotry. Not likely.

Liberals love to paint themselves as tolerant and loving. Some go on the equivalent of missionary trips to live with the deploreables. Dr. Durst spent a year living in West Virginia teaching at a facility for juvenile criminals. There was a nearby business “rumored to be affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan”. (112-113) Hmm, Dr. Durst, a liberal West Virginia icon (Senator Robert Byrd) was more than rumored to be affiliated with the Klan.

Byrd “was a member of a prominent Democratic Party group that opposed desegregation and civil rights. But that pales in comparison to the fact that Byrd was a KKK member! Byrd recruited 150 others and formed a KKK chapter in which he was closely involved for several years. I found no racist statements that were ever spoken by the protest leaders. Byrd had publicly said that he “would never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side” and that he would rather “die a thousand times…than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels.” Byrd urged promotion of the Klan all over America.” (Page 13 of Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party.)

In a typical liberal condescending (and subtly bigoted) method, Dr. Durst describes a flyer for the upcoming visit of a Christian evangelist. Then he launches into the liberal’s main tool bag — insinuating and/or accusing the local folks of racism. He includes Christian fundamentalists in the same sentence with “the KKK mentality”. Then throwing in a “John Birch Society” tag he throws in two more “censorship battle” slurs with a “book banning” slur for good measure. (114) I wonder if Dr. Durst thought the “John Birch Society” tag was an insult. Most conservative blacks would probably rather be called Bircher than a Black Lives Matter member.

Without the “race card” liberals have very little to hurl at conservatives and Christians. Of course, liberals love to catch a conservative or Christian fall into sin. That is what we call it--sin. We know, under the best of circumstances what our “righteousness” is worth. “ But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) Liberals see nothing worth bothering about when their wonderful Clintons treat women like trash.

The next pages (115-T119) are a description of Mr. Moffett’s signature series of curriculum materials. He tried to foist that on the good citizens of Kanawha County in 1974. Seven of the eight vilest books that the Board of Education quickly rejected were from his Interaction series.

Perhaps, Dr. Durst was simply trusting a man he perceived (since Mr. Moffett was a fellow liberal) as incapable of writing any dishonest or self-serving recollections. With that caveat I will continue as if Dr. Durst is totally responsible for the rest of his article.

Dr. Durst got back to the slurs of “censorship” and “book-banners.” (119) Durst says that some of the protested curriculum was “deemed pornographic.” (120) I wonder why he did not mention something specific, say Freud’s “Character and Anal Eroticism” for example. That item was rejected from the curriculum early on.

Dr. Durst did point out some of the objections that were patriotic based. (121) Then he tried to mute that with more accusations of racism. (122) He totally missed the irony of saying that Moffett “wanted students to learn how to think critically and question authority.” (121) Sure, they could think critically as long as it was not thinking conservative thoughts. Oh, the protesters should not challenge the authority of the elected Board of Education. Refreshingly, Durst said that Moffett’s and his co-authors' “liberal views were surely evident in their choices of texts and genre types” (121)

In another fit of honesty, Dr. Durst admitted some of the material included “tits, Goddamit, sons-bitches, and Hell, no.” (122) Also, he pointed out the objections to teaching evolution and casting “doubt in the minds of young people upon the veracity of the Holy Scriptures.” (123) Along with a quote from my book, he quoted a high school faculty member as stating that Interaction failed, “not because of conservative opposition...but because of its own internal problems and the difficulty of marketing such a complex series…” (123) I don’t agree with that, but it is good to provide other perspectives which liberals rarely do.

Durst next exaggerates the fear that pro-bookers felt. (124) Had he read pages 5-9 of my book, at the very least, he would have been able to see the truth of those accusations.

Even though Dr. Durst tried to positively portray Mr. Moffett’s return to Kanawha County to talk to protesters prior to writing Storm in the Mountains, Moffett’s book makes it obvious that Sir Moffett was simply gracing the peasants with his presence while he gathered information for the book and pretended to be an open-minded man. I wonder why Mr. Moffett did not call me or other teachers who were part of the group known as the Business and Professional people opposed to the books. Our contact information would have been easy to find. Mr. Moffett coined a term to describe us: “agnosis.” He said it described “an unwillingness to comprehend or consider ideas that challenge one’s own views.” That term perfectly fits liberals!

After his chivalrous attempt to compliment Mr. Moffett, Dr. Durst went back to hurling slurs of “banning” and “burning” regarding the 1974 citizens of Kanawha County identified as “book protesters.” However, here is where Durst reported the major errors mentioned in my email to him. (125) He called the unfortunate incident of a board meeting, where school officials were assaulted by thugs independent of the Protest leaders and obviously in contradiction to the Christian principles of the overwhelming majority of the protesters, a riot. By the narrowest definition of “riot” the assault at the board meeting was a riot, but let’s compare it to real riots like the pipeline protesters and Black Lives Matters groups. While we are at it, let’s honestly compare the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters to the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

The article concludes (126-129) describing Moffett’s career and life post 1974. One cannot help feeling some sympathy in reading about Moffett’s childhood with an alcoholic father. If only he had looked to Jesus instead of yoga.

A BWAHAHA moment occurred when Dr. Durst said, “In these days of increasing conservative power and other spheres of American life…” (127) I wonder how he missed the BOBama years (2008 to when the article was published in 2015).

There is no indication that Dr. Durst read more of Protester Voices than just the pages about James Moffett.

After all these years it is pathetic that propaganda like this paper prevails.

*Bible verses about “Seeing the Light”.

Also see “Indisputable Ignoble Ignorance and Insolence”.

The TRUTH is that the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters were true patriots and heroes. They consisted of thousands of humble people who have suffered humiliation because they stood up for children and America in 1974. The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters deserve to be honored.  Please read THE FACTS.