Monday, August 01, 2005
the hateful christians don’t think you and your church can provide adequate religious education for your kids
bible course becomes a test for public schools in texas - houston, july 31 - when the school board in odessa, the west texas oil town, voted unanimously in april to add an elective bible study course to the 2006 high school curriculum, some parents dropped to their knees in prayerful thanks that god would be returned to the classroom, while others assailed it as an effort to instill religious training in the public schools.– so they’re taking over your schools. and the republicans are helping them, with your tax dollars, at every turn in the sorry saga.
hundreds of miles away, leaders of the national council on bible curriculum in public schools notched another victory. a religious advocacy group based in greensboro, n.c., the council has been pressing a 12-year campaign to get school boards across the country to accept its bible curriculum. [--snip--]
but a growing chorus of critics says the course, taught by local teachers trained by the council, conceals a religious agenda. the critics say it ignores evolution in favor of creationism and gives credence to dubious assertions that the constitution is based on the scriptures, and that "documented research through nasa" backs the biblical account of the sun standing still. [--snip--]
the dispute has made the curriculum, which the national council says is used by more than 175,000 students in 312 school districts in 37 states, the latest flashpoint in the continuing culture wars over religious influences in the public domain. [--snip--]
the texas freedom network, which commissioned its study after the vote in odessa, is sharp in its criticism. "as many as 52 texas public school districts and 1,000 high schools across the country are using an aggressively marketed, blatantly sectarian bible curriculum that interferes with the freedom of all families to pass on their own religious values to their children," it said. [--snip--]
the course's broad statements about the bible being the blueprint for the nation are askew, said mr. haynes of the freedom forum, part of a nonpartisan ecumenical group promoting the bible literacy project textbook. "if the bible is a blueprint for the constitution," he said, "i guess they haven't read it," referring to the constitution.
some of the claims made in the national council's curriculum are laughable, said mark a. chancey, professor of religious studies at southern methodist university in dallas, who spent seven weeks studying the syllabus for the freedom network. mr. chancey said he found it "riddled with errors" of facts, dates, definitions and incorrect spellings. it cites supposed nasa findings to suggest that the earth stopped twice in its orbit, in support of the literal truth of the biblical text that the sun stood still in joshua and ii kings.