Anti-Gay, Pro-Creationism Birther Could Change America’s Textbooks

Mary Lou Bruner is one runoff election away from changing the curriculum for Texas schools—and perhaps the nation—thanks to the state’s outsized influence on publishers.

03.02.16 7:35 PM ET

A woman who could determine the nation’s textbook curriculum believes the Civil War was not caused by slavery, Barack Obama is a former gay Arab prostitute, and gays are abominations.

Mary Lou Bruner is running for an open seat on the Texas State Board of Education. On Tuesday came within two percentage points of an outright win. Now she’ll face a run-off election against Kevin Ellis, a chiropractor, but her eventual victory looks all but assured.

The board picks curriculum and textbooks for Texas’s schools and because of Texas’s outsized purchasing power, its decisions can influence publishers whose materials are used in several other states.

“Sometimes it boggles my mind the kind of power we have,” said Don McLeroy, the former chairman of the Texas State Board of Education.

For years, the Board of Education has provided the high-octane fuel of the culture war, undermining evolution in science class, requiring history textbooks to teach that Moses inspired the Constitution, and downplaying the role of slavery in the Civil War.

And Bruner would bring loads of ammo.

“I am not saying the Native Americans deserved what happened to them but sometimes God removes his protection from people who worship pagan gods,” she once wrote on Facebook in an apparent reference to the Native American population’s historic mistreatment by the United States.

Bruner doesn’t trust Civil War historians, complaining on Facebook that they had revised history and “demonized” the South.

“In the beginning the dispute between the North and the South was not about slavery,” she wrote. “It was about the railroad.” Elsewhere, she claimed that black Americans had already been given reparations for slavery. “The public schools and universities do not teach this information about the War Between the States.” The Republican has no love lost for the first president from her party, either.

“Abraham Lincoln is not the heroic icon figure which history has made of him,” she wrote.

Her modern presidential history is equally unique.

“I heard from a reliable source that Obama was also a male prostitute for a while when he lived in New York with his male ‘partner,’” she wrote. “How do you think he paid for his drugs?” Obama is also “racist” who may have been elected with rigged voting machines. “The baby named Barak [sic] was an illegitimate son but his grandparents registered his birth in the Hawaii newspapers as if he were legitimate so he could be eligible for welfare,” she wrote. “Would Obama have been elected president if he had appeared in public in Muslim attire or if he had admitted publicly he was born in Kenya or he is still a citizen of Indonesia? Just asking!”

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She’s not much better at science either.

“The school shootings started after the schools started teaching evolution is an absolute fact and the classes cannot talk about weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution,” she wrote. “You are very naive if you believe a tiny river carved out the Grand Canyon.”

She’s also a raging homophobe.

“The new Boy Scouts organization might be called Rainbow Penguins,” she wrote. “The Boy Scouts of America is now a Homosexual organization much like the Man-Boy Pedophile Organization.” (She regularly adds a P for pedophile to “LGBTQ” movement.) Bruner believes “gay men prefer young people (children and teenagers) as sex partners.”

“You must tell your children to believe the Bible and the Bible says [homosexuality] is an ABOMINATION,” she wrote. “ABOMINATION means that God Hates Homosexuality.”

Bruner is as paranoid as she is hateful, blaming technology problems on demons.

“This IPad was attacked last night,” she wrote. “Every time I tried to strike a key an icon of a devil appeared on the comment line. All of this happened right after I said Obama was a sheikh and Congress, The Supreme Court, The Cabinet Members, the heads of government agencies, and the Obama Czars are his harem. That probably offended someone in a high place!!!!”

If Bruner wins, she’ll replace Thomas Ratliff. Though he was a Republican, Ratliff has been a moderating influence, part of a delicate coalition of the board’s Democrats and centrist Republicans that has held off some right-wing assaults on science and history.

Ratliff told The Daily Beast that Bruner is “stuck in a prior time in our history” and would turn back the progress the board has made.

Still, it’s not surprising Bruner is the favorite to be Texas’s newest state board member—after all, her views aren’t even that unusual for Texas Republicans—and these seats can be won with little support.

“These state board races get so little media attention that many voters really don’t know much about the candidates,” Dan Quinn, of the watchdog group the Texas Freedom Network said. “That’s largely how Texas ended up with a State Board of Education that for a while was largely controlled by creationists and other science deniers.”

Unlike most conspiracy theorists, Bruner is about to log out from Facebook, leave her house, and get real power.