Monday, August 01, 2005

Back Door Christianity

Public schools across the country are beginning to teach an elective Bible curriculum. The class's creators, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, say the class teaches the Bible as a foundational text of Western civilization and as a historical document that was seized upon by the country's founders to write the Constitution. While the former is certainly true, the latter's a bit specious, considering the separation of church and state is contained within the First Amendment. Moreover, most of the Founding Fathers were afraid of repeating the same mistake of promoting a state-sanctioned sectarian church, considering their ancestor's and their run-ins with Britain's Anglican Church.

Even if they were correct about the Founding Fathers, their mission seems a bit disingenuous considering who their comrades in faith are. Via the NYTs article:
The national council's efforts are endorsed by the Center for Reclaiming America, Phyllis Schlafly's group the Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, among others.
The Family Research Council...They certainly have no evangelizing mission to return America back to a bastion of Christianity (which it already is). By the way, the FRC are a prominent supporter of Justice Sunday II, whose mantra is "God Save This United States and This Honorable Court." (If you're not familiar with Justice Sunday, click here.)

Naturally the curriculum has run into opponents, both secular and religious. One organization, the Texas Freedom Network, has issued a report today criticizing the organization and the curriculum as having "a clear sectarian bias that begins with the NCBCPS'’s founder and its advisers and finds repeated expression in the pages of the textbook." The complete text of the report will be available on their website at one o'clock. I'll be sure to read it and report back.

One of the easiest ways to challenge this curriculum, other than reason, is for other nonprofits and advocacy organizations to create an atheist or secular curriculum that debunks much of the Bible as mere stories through the backing of hard scientific evidence. Hell, why we're at it, local Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu organizations should also jump into the fray. For many throughout the world, the Koran, the Dhammapada, and the Vedas, are foundational texts of society, respectively. And maybe, just maybe, we can also teach Scientology to all those malleable young minds who love stories of aliens and new worlds beyond our own sun. Who wants a God that reveals himself in a burning bush, when their are superior beings that fly around in neat, aerodynamic spaceships that have conquered that whole space/time continuum thing. L. Ron would be doing jumping-jacks aboard that big spaceship in the sky I'm sure.

Unless you're willing to integrate the rest of these items into an elective curriculum, I'd say Christian fundamentalists are trying to sneak Jesus and company through the back door of our public school system. Why do I have an inkling that the NCBCPS would have a problem with a Koranic or a Vedic curriculum, however elective they may be?

I know I would.