The Christian Right: Georgia's On Their Mind

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Christian Right: Georgia's On Their Mind

Bible-thumping conservatives are at it again. Georgia's GOP governor just recently signed a bill into law that creates an elective course on the history of the Bible. According to the latest issue of Newsweek, a key question now is which Bible curriculum will local districts decide to use:

... two groups with national influence and powerful backers are offering states comprehensive curricula. .... the National Council for Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, backed by a long list of conservative evangelicals, including Pat Robertson, says its curriculum is already taught in 353 school districts.

[A new] study, written by Mark Chancey of Southern Methodist University, says that the (National Council) program teaches the Bible from a primarily conservative Protestant view. The council says its approach is constitutional.

... State Sen. Tommie Williams, one of the Georgia bill's authors, used the council's curriculum as a guide when drafting his proposal. "We simply have to teach 'This is what happened — make your own judgments'," he says.

How does he know "what happened" thousands of years ago in Biblical times? The events described in the Bible are what a court of law would call "heresay." So it's presumptuous for Williams or anyone else to say, "This is what happened."

Williams' statement also strikes me as contradictory. Telling students, "This is what happened," suggests that there's no room for them to "make [their] own judgments."

Of course, the most intense debate over the Bible lies not in the events or "what happened," but, instead, in what the Bible supposedly teaches about morality and human behavior. Putting the State in the position of interpreting these Biblical teachings is completely inappropriate.

Of course, even if we somehow knew what the correct interpretation of the Bible was, there's no reason why that interpretation should be taught in a manner that elevates it above other religious or non-religious points of view.

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