Texas legislators decided there is room for Bible study in public schools. So they created a law mandating students receive Bible “literacy” teachings in the classroom. They just didn’t tell anyone how to go about it. Nor how to pay for it. Guess how well this new learning initiative is going?
By state law, schools must bring kids up to speed on Adam and Eve, just like they do physics and trig. But the law doesn’t say how they need to go about doing it, which means some schools are having kids open up Bibles in standard classes, while other schools are offering Bible study as an elective.
But it’s not like lawmakers created this law totally blind! They law stipulates Bible teachings must be religiously “neutral.” Oh, except they created no rules about what that means, either.
So here’s where we stand: Texas schools must teach kids about the Bible, but they shouldn’t be teaching them the Scripture as truth, although theoretically they could, but mostly administrators haven’t a clue what, specifically, they’re required to do.
Now, learning the Bible is not necessarily a bad thing for school kids. Arguably, it sits up there with the Koran and the Torah as the most influential texts the world has ever seen. Wars have been fought, and millions of lives lost, based on how humans interpret their passages. So encouraging young minds to learn what’s being said in religious scripts is actually a pretty decent thing, the same way these kids should be learning about other societies, civilizations, and the motivations that steered them.
But Texas’ Bible-in-schools law leaves far too much room open for interpretation, even with this “neutrality” stuff. So here’s our suggestion: Let the kids read their Bibles, discuss the stories and meanings, and deconstruct the word of god … during a fiction writing course.
Or, better yet, this:
Many North Texas schools seem to be sidestepping the issue by saying they already teach the Bible when analyzing allusions in Shakespeare or discussing ancient Mesopotamia.
Frisco ISD plans to add nuggets to its world history course this spring. Irving ISD has “beefed up” its material to meet the curriculum requirement. McKinney ISD will wait until the state offers teacher training before it establishes a course but says that religious literature is already taught in existing courses.
Dallas ISD won’t offer a class either.
“The operative word in the bill is ‘may,’ ” said district spokesman Jon Dahlander.
Im not against teaching the Bible in a classroom setting–I took “the Bible as Literature” in college. Its just Im pretty sure that, given the opportunity, a fair number of teachers would start prosletizing.
Of course, if they are going to have kids read the Bible in school, I hope they have them read the fun parts–you know, like when Noah’s daughters get him drunk and have sex with him, or when God orders the Israelites to kill every last Amelikite man, woman and child.
Is there likely to be a push from any quarters about Koran-literacy, Torah-literacy, Upanishads-literacy, etc?
Merkin: Don’t forget the part when Lot has sex with his daughters.
Now, let’s be fair … Lot’s daughters seduce and fuck him, not the other way around.
Wait, that just makes the Bible misogynistic as well as obscene. 2-0 to the secularists.
This is ridiculous!
I like the fact where it says “Bible class as an Elective”
That is a much better choice among any of them. That way students can make an informed decision if they so choose to take up a religious course on the Bible, or any other religious text at their own free will and volition.
As a Roman Catholic, I still acknowledge the value of the Bible and the Church as two important sources of common morality and decency—but for public schools and state-ran policy, it should remain as an option/or an elective to which all students may choose to accept/deny at their own convenience.
Am I the only one who thinks the kids need to spend more time on MATH, FOREIGN LANGUAGES, HISTORY, and SCIENCE? I’m sorry but the Bible is not on the SAT! This country is failing to teach kids the basic subjects, but have the gumption to waste time teaching the religion. We need to be more focus on subjects that are actually important to our economy than this rubbish.
@sekaiichibankawaii: “…the Bible is not on the SAT!” Don’t give them any ideas!
It is sad that kids today are losing ground on the three R’s, PE and the arts. At least they’ll be able to get their Bible quotes right while they’re discussing who they watch on FOX News…
When I was in high school, there was a course something like that available. But the school didn’t actually offer it; there was a house-sized, independently run religious school of some sort next door, and the high school offered a no-credit elective that basically was a free period to pop over there for one class and come back, though I believe they still checked on attendance, probably for liability reasons.
I don’t know what they taught, never having taken the class, but it seemed like a reasonable enough way of offering a class without offering it.
This is nothing but another power grab from the right wing. The more born again believers they create, the more votes they get it is that simple. If my children were in those schools, I would take them out and move to a less radical state. This is the American Taliban trying to brainwash children.
Well, if they do a “Bible as Literature” course, at least the kids won’t think that Joan of Arc is Noah’s wife! How about a “favorite Bible passage to teach the kiddies contest”? Here’s my entry (and you can imagine what must have been going on back then if they had to come up with such a rule):
If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.
You can have a lot of fun stringing Bible passages together.
Try the following sequence (imagine the woman in the first of the two getting really really mad at an unwanted sexual advance) ….
2 Samuel 13:11
But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died.
@InExile: “This is nothing but another power grab from the right wing. The more born again believers they create, the more votes they get it is that simple.”
Why do you insist on calling it the “right wing?” It’s just religion doing what religion does. +70% of Americans believe homosexuals are wrong and they got that belief from religion. By “right wing” I’ll assume you mean “conservatives.”
When DOMA passed in 1996 the Senate vote was 85-14. Seems only the very, very “left” was against it.
It would be more helpful for the LGBT movement (if there is one) to correctly identify the problem: religion.
As a Roman Catholic, I still acknowledge the value of the Bible and the Church as two important sources of common morality and decency
Certainly, you jest, Sir. I am absolutely stunned that you can even make such a statement.
After looking at two-thousand years of suffering inflicted on millions of innocent people, millions killed in the Crusades and various wars, crimes inflicted on humanity in the name of God, the infamous Irish laundries that imprisoned and worked to death women who had children born out of wedlock, taken away from them and put up for adoption by strangers and an abundance of bigotry, hatred and immorality in a book that has become labeled as hate literature by many who see that book for what it is…and you can make this assertion with a straight face?
This new law in Texas is a travesty and a clear violation of our Constitution that specifically mandates separation of Church and State.
Day after day, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights are being systematically trashed by member of the Christian Right who honestly believe that the creators meant for this Democratic Republic to be a theocracy. These “decent and moral” people were the ones who voted for the Federal DOMA law, YesonProp8 in California and nay on same-sex marriage and adoption rights here in the State of Florida, among dozens of other similar travesties across this great land of ours.
Not only will they not allow us to “desecrate” their “Sacred Traditional Institution of Marriage”, now they are working day and night to make sure that we do not get civil-unions either, which have absolutely nothing to do with the church. They use our tax money to benefit themselves, while denying us the same benefits we are paying for. God wants it that way, they say!
This, my dear brothers and sisters, is what the face of fascism looks like and this is how it festers and grows. An inch here, A right taken away there and before you know it, the cattle cars will be trucking us to a concentration camp in California just like they did to the Japanese people and the Jews and homosexuals in Nazi Germany during WWII.
I am old enough to remember the events in Europe that enabled Hitler to seize power. The Christians were angry at the Jews, just like the Americans are angry at the queers. That’s why no one spoke up when they came for them. It started in the same insidious way that it is starting here, and no one said anything or objected…even when Paragraph 175 came into being in 1935, which was one year before I was born.
By the time I was fully old enough to know and understand what was happening in Europe, thousands of my brothers and sisters had already been carted off and perished in the concentration camps.
Then came the ultimate expression of bigotry and hatred…ignited by Krystalnacht and the rest, as they say, is history. And it wasn’t all that long ago that this nightmare was allowed to occur.
I never thought I would live long enough to see fascism, wrapped in the cloak of religion, raise it’s evil and insidious head in America. Are we going to sit idly by and allow history to repeat itself again? We never seem to learn from the lessons history has taught us.
Sadly, we seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.
Actually, there is no better way to get kids AWAY from their side, and to LOOSE votes. Mostly everyone my age (im 16) who is Christian usually prefaces it with “But im not one of those crazy bible-thumpers” or “I’m not political at all, though”.
The Bible is borringg. And guess how I lost faith? I actually READ the book. It is so obvious to me that it’s an ancient text no different from Greek myths or Indian tribal legends or Hindu texts that I remember actually being totally depressed for several weeks after reading through some of it. I expected things that actually seemed believable, not talking snakes or virgin births.
I think you’re over-reacting. The fundies lost, religion alone can no longer win elections, and 16% of Americans and growing are not religious at all.
If 70% of Americans hate us, explain, then, why 49% of them voted against Prop 8? Just seven years prior the vote was only 31% against a similar proposition, Prop. 22, that had passed. We are no longer persecuted- by which I mean jail time for just being gay, being shunned by society, fearing for ones life daily- by society unless you count some misguided invidivuals who are by far in the minority.
Generations under 40 have grown up seeing gays everywhere, at school, on TV, Hollywood, in politics, at work.
You’re making things out to be a lot worse than they are. Worse things can happen besides for us having to move to New England or Iowa to get married.
Wow! History repeats itself.
Like you, PopSnap, I was also 16 when I first read the bible from cover-to-cover. It blew me right out of the fucking water! My reaction to it was exactly the same as yours.
The family that I lived-in with at the time here in Tampa told me that I was rebellious when I shared my thoughts about the bible with them. They said it was not for me to question, but to “believe”. of course, this was simply a repeat of what I had been told when the Good RC Catholic Church Father in Nassau Village, NY threw me out of Sunday School. Best thing that ever happened to me. LOL
In my 73 years of life on this planet, PopSnap, I would like to have a nickel for each time someone fed me that line that I must believe and have faith. I’d be a rich man by now. ;o)
Believe what, talking snakes or virgin births? It’s all about “faith”, isn’t it? It’s all they’ve got.
You were right to loose faith. I am so proud of you.
I think you’re over-reacting.
While I am not a religious or God-fearing man, I will “pray” that you are right. ;o)
@No. 15 · PopSnap:
I don’t see how you can be so certain that schlukitz: is so wrong, This country has been embroiled in all the makings of fascism. since the Neocons joined forces with the religious fanatics especially over the past 8 years and before. The Biggest current issue which we should all be concerned about as Americans is the multiple ways in which the Constitution has been rent to bits. Bush came very close to forming a dictatorship-no president in history has made such presumptions on the princi[ples of this country.
I have heard it before from wiser people than I and it is one of the greatest fears I currently have. This country is in many ways a mirror of Hitlers pre-Nazi Germany. The gays are becoming the scapegoats. this time. Just because Bush is out of office doesn’t mean that all the makings are gone.
How much has really changed in the past year? Certainly people are as ignorant.
@PopSnap: You are correct that LGBT is making progress BUT ONLY because RELIGION is losing its grasp. +70% is the national number. Some States, like CA, there are more “thinkers,” or the “non-religious.”
Religion has won EVERY vote Vs. LGBT. We will lose probably lose the upcoming votes in WA and ME.
You are young enough to realize that the real problem for LGBT Equality is simply “religion.” In the past 40 years our community has not fought religion or sought to re-define ourselves. Instead, we waste millions on HRC (and others) that have accomplished nothing. Until we change “minds,” (meaning those religious beliefs) we cannot be equal. We may get a few court orders, but passing laws is not the same as achieving “equality.” We’ll only be “equal,” when we are no longer wrong.
I wouldn’t say that the gays are the scapegoats as much as the blanket term of “liberals” are. Under that banner falls everybody who isn’t a Christian Republican: GLBT, enivronmentalists, Democrats, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists, & socialists. All of the above groups are growing faster than you can say “Dem darn libruls”. And the fundies are seriously scared, but its to no avail. They’re all old, and people are rapidly de-converting on a daily basis. Evangelicals are the only religious group actually growing, but their influence is relegated to the South and in the minds of the elderly and home-schooled social rejects.
And, I SUPPOSE if youre being very hypothetical, a fascist-like situation could arise, but it would be in the very distant future. George Bush is universally hated besides for 22%, the same 22% who went down to protest on 9/12, who yell at town halls, who sponsor voter referendums on minority rights, ect.
The difference between US and Germany? USA has many laws and protections set up to protect freedom of speech, of assembly, ect. And I know that Germany did, too; however I cannot concieve of any Republican seriously getting away with throwing non-Christian Republicans into gas chambers anytime soon.
Who would support them? Did you SEE the 9/12 protest or the town halls? Those people are ALL OLD OR FAT!!! It’s almost funny, too; just go watch clips of these people and see if I am right or wrong.
I mean no insult to you by saying this, but to me this is just as ridiculous as “Them Obammie-commies are takin’ over with their liberal controlled media to steal our taxes and guns!”
And, yes, religion made us wrong; but science along with understanding and the gradual *unprecedented* collapse of religion will make us right within the next 10 to 20 years. I’d bet money on it.
No. 21 · PopSnap: I really hope you’re right , because, I’m sure I’d be one of the first one’s run in! (In reality I wouldn’t let it happen) You have to recall that Americans voted Bush into Office: Cheney had made planns with Bush to deploy troops throughout the U.S in 2002 and arrest anyone as enemy combatants, they have only recently discovered those plans. Contrary to the Constitution and many wise people we have had a huge standing army which we spend1/2 the national budget on. Now we have Privateers.
The 2006 Patriot act gave the President power to declare Martial Law. We have been fighting unilatereal wars since WW2 and installing dictators.
You’re right , it’s totally silly that these crazy buggers who are calling Obama a Commie (and fascist at once!) are crazy but there are so many uneducated people in this country.
Where I live(Midwest ) now everyone but me goes to church; even the gays. They don’t even know what Socialism is! They don’t really know the alternatives either , but they are vulnerable.
It worries me now that according to Salon, Obama has lost 8% of his white support in the past 2 months. If the army was less powerful and the Congress gave a damn and some people could read and write, I would feel better. But an ignorant population is really vulnerable, especially if they become frightened.
@edgyguy1426: I have something for you. Email me. ReligionHurts at gmail.com
@PopSnap: “The difference between US and Germany?”
Germany is 57% non-religious.
USA is 30% non-religious.
Germany has laws protecting LGBT persons, USA does not.
It’s “religion.” Countries with the least amount of religion have the most equality for LGBT people. It’s that simple.
@PopSnap: Click on my name. Watch a video. Share your thoughts. Thanks.
schlukitz wrote, “I am old enough to remember the events in Europe that enabled Hitler to seize power. The Christians were angry at the Jews, just like the Americans are angry at the queers. That’s why no one spoke up when they came for them.”
Except, of course, that it didn’t really work that way. The prejudice was pervasive, not merely due to the Christians. The level of antisemitism in Germany before the Nazis took over wasn’t particularly worse than the level of prejudice against American Indians here in the U.S. The difference was that they ended up with a government willing to exploit that prejudice, making it self-reinforcing to the point that it resulted in one of the worst atrocities in human history.
A number of things all went the wrong way simultaneously. There wasn’t just a single cause. If the other political parties had recognized how serious the threat was, they could have kept the Nazis marginalized. Unfortunately, the other parties were fighting among themselves and could not form a coalition that would have kept the Nazis from taking over, and once that happened it was too late.
Comments are closed.