The idea for the joint textbook of historical narratives grew out of the knowledge that in periods of intractable conflicts, nations tend to teach their children their own narratives (often through the vehicle of textbooks) as the only correct one, while completely ignoring their enemy's narratives. If they do include the enemy narrative, it is always presented as being wrong and unjustifiable. These textbooks, which also include [nation-legitimized knowledge, convince children that there is a necessity to continue to dehumanize the enemy, and this leads to the development of negative attitudes and values toward the other. This state of affairs is very clear in the Palestinian-Israeli situation and has been studied in the joint research of Palestinian and Israeli history textbooks undertaken by Firer (an Israeli) & Adwan (a Palestinian).
Once your students have seen the inadequacy of both current formulas, push them to rethink the relation of politics and religion in the early Republic. You might suggest that the natural religious language of the Declaration served as a neutral expression acceptable to all denominations rather than a deist creed precisely because a tradition of natural theology was shared by most Christians at the time. Deist phrases may thus have been a sort of theological lingua franca , and their use by the founders was ecumenical rather than anti-Christian. Such ecumenical striving sheds fresh light on the first amendment and the secular order it established. This secularism forbade the federal government from establishing a national church or interfering with church affairs in the states. However, it did not create a policy of official indifference, much less hostility toward organized religion. Congress hired chaplains, government buildings were used for divine services, and federal policies supported religion in general (ecumenically) as does our tax code to this day. The founding generation always assumed that religion would play a vital part in the political and moral life of the nation. Its ecumenical secularity insured that no particular faith would be excluded from that life, including disbelief itself.