know that the religious right has been trying to jam Christianity into
public schools for years, whether it be under the guise of introducing
morality into our "morally deprived secular" schools, or some
scriptural interpretation about the evangelizing of the masses. The
language has gotten old, the courts have ruled, and yet the right still
won't lay down. The
Christian Coalition of Georgia has strongly supported the legislation.
The group's chairwoman, Sadie Fields, said the courses were "another
way to help students think critically."
As The New York Times reported today, the Georgia State Senate recently passed a bill that would provide funding and guidelines for teaching two different credit courses on the bible in Georgia high schools. This bill mandates that the bible course must use the Bible as the primary text. If this proposal is accepted by the board of education, it would be the first course that primarily teaches from the Bible.
Of course, specifically requiring that the Bible be taught makes the bill somewhat suspect, and will probably be the main thrust behind the courts decision to declare the class unconsitutional. More interesting is the argument for the class:
Here's the strategy: we all agree that we want to teach our high school
students to think critically about the world, and especially about our
specific culture and society. Since religion is such a large part of
our society (some would claim the basis for it, although we at The League
don't listen to gerrymandered evidence), it seems to follow that we
should have some sort of discussion on religion in our schools. In
addition, hundreds of scholarly books take critical looks at the Bible.*
But Georgia already has a course on comparitive religion, which is reported to be unpopular among students. We at The League can't help but think that "thinking critically" for the Christians in Georgia (we doubt many non-christians are in favor of the course) doesn't mean questioning the basis and legitimacy of the bible. Rather, they're hoping that converting a few to the right-wing of Christianity will help students to be even more critical of secular culture.
If we want to take the "critical thinking" claim seriously, why don't they have a course called "be critical of your religion"? Unfortunately this is not a Bible course, but a scripture class that is publically funded. Instead, the Georgia State Senate should focus on raising its educational standards (A recent study ranked Georgia 40th best school system). Lernin' pupils that there Bible don't do nothin' ta fix dem problems with y'all's edumakational system.
from The League: Reassembled
* For informative scholarly works on the Bible, check out The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision or Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacret Texts (Finkelstein and Silberman) and Who Wrote the Bible (Friedman)
from The League: Reassembled
The Christian Coalition of Georgia has strongly supported the legislation. The group's chairwoman, Sadie Fields, said the courses were "another way to help students think critically."