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Updated Jul 14, 2014 - 3:45 pm

Group: Arizona charter school's history books push racism button

PHOENIX -- A nonprofit group is reportedly angered over a Mesa, Ariz. charter school's use of history textbooks that promote racism and Christian nationalism.

According to Salon, Heritage Academy is using two books written by Cleon Skouse, "The 5,000 Year Leap" and "The Making of America." The school's principal, Earl Taylor, said the books are not being used to indoctrinate children, as alleged by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"Our purpose is not to convert students to different religious views," Taylor promised. "It is to show them that religion influenced what the Founders did."

Garrett Epps, a legal scholar unassociated with the group, said the textbooks are racist and show slavery in a positive light.

In one of the books, Skousen approvingly includes an essay in which the author argues that "if [African-American children] ran naked it was generally from choice, and when the white boys had to put on shoes and go away to school they were likely to envy the freedom of their colored playmates."

Taylor has refused to terminate the use of the books.

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