The Lady Speaks

Oh here’s a surprise…

Guess what state wants to make the Bible a part of its curricula? Georgia, naturally.

From Newsweek:

Fresh from a bruising federal court fight over the teaching of evolution, Georgia marched back into the culture wars last week when Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill allowing Bible classes in public high schools. An estimated 8 percent of the nation's schools offer some form of Bible study. But the Georgia law is the first to set statewide guidelines and earmark public dollars for a Bible course.

[snip]

Last fall the nonprofit Bible Literacy Project published "The Bible and Its Influences," a textbook endorsed by moderate Christian and Jewish groups. So far, 30 schools are teaching the pilot program, and the group says 800 schools have shown interest.

Meanwhile, 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. However, if Georgia opts for either program it will be the first time that a state has officially adopted a Bible curriculum.

[snip]

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.

As a northerner, I hate to make catagorical judgements about people in the South, because I have a great many smart and sensible friends and family living below the Mason-Dixon. But, when they elect idiots who push this kind of crap….it makes it hard. Especially those who elected an idiot who says, 'This is what happened—make your own judgments.' 

Uhhh, Mr. Williams….prove it. Maybe that's what happened, but maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monster landed on the back of a giant turtle and declared it good enough. Or maybe…

I'm all for teaching the Bible in school – as long as it's part of the mythology section of Lit class where it belongs – with Greek and Roman, early Celtic, Norse, and Native American mythologies, among others. 

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April 23, 2006 - Posted by | Christianity, Constitution, Education, Georgia, Religion, Uncategorized

29 Comments »

  1. Well, I disagree and I live WAY north! The Bible is a HIGHLY verified historical document. Its writings stretch over a millenium and litterally hundreds of ‘stories’ from it have been proved acurate by historians and archiologists.
    The only ancient writing with copies as old as the Bible is Homer’s Iilyad… but only 35 copies. The Bible has litterally thousands of copies dating back to as early as 30 AD, with the original writings proven to be 1500-1600 BC!
    So, don’t be so quick to assign the Bible to Mythology… without doing some intelligent research of your own. Don’t just ‘think’ you know the facts… research them, you might be surprised.

    As for “‘This is what happened—make your own judgments'”… what do you think scientists have been doing with their theories for decades? Big Bang… theory, Relative Expansionism… theory, etc… The difference is that Creationism has yet to be proven false… research it, Creationism is the only theory that has NOT been proven false… so yes it should be taught and student should make their own judgements.

    We want intelligent, thinking children, not preprogramed robots, automatically set against anything of ‘faith’ simply because it has its origins in faith.

    Comment by Mike | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  2. We want intelligent, thinking children, not preprogramed robots

    What do you think Sunday school produces? Children are taught a Christian point of veiw, that varies from church to church, and told they have to belive what they are told ,without proof, or go strait to Hell. How is that for preprogramed? I hate the fact that these Christians think this belongs in our schools. I live in Georgia,and you better bet I will be one of the people fighting this tooth and nail! What is it about Christians that makes them think everyone around them has to be Christian also? Our schools are filled with children of all racial and cultural backgrounds. Does it make any sense to try to teach all of them, no matter what they have been taught at home , a conservative Christian curriculum at school?
    And you talk about how the Bible has more copies surviving than any oher work…who do you think made those copies? Do you think that as it has been recopied over the ages, each person has been truly acurate? No additions or embelishments? And who decides which Gospels go into the current version of the Bible. You say none of the Bible has been proven false. So you really believe that all human life on this planet could possibly have derrived from just one man? I guess in studying the Bible our children need to start throwing out everything we have taught them about the laws of nature!

    Comment by Lyn | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  3. Mike: Then I have to assume that because we have the archaelogical remains of ancient Troy, Sparta and whatnot, we have ‘proof’ that the Greek gods exist? Do the archaelogical sites in Britain prove the existance of the Celtic gods? Does the existence of the Egyptian pyramids prove the existence of Isis and Ra? Well, that’s a load off my mind!

    Seriously though, they only prove the existence of people at a particular place and a particular time. We have no way of knowing whether or not the supernatural events described also happened.

    I agree that we want children to be intelligent and capable of critical thought. I also want my children and other people to have respect and tolerance for those who believe something different. Unfortunately, a great many so-called Christians want exactly the opposite – children and adults who believe solely in the official dogma to the exclusion of everything else. And everyone has to believe what they believe or else.

    While I am not Christian – nor part of any organized religion – I am not ‘against’ Christianity. I allowed my children the freedom to find their own answers, and as a result my daughter chose to be baptized and chose to become a member of a UCC church. She believes deeply in her faith, and I respect that. I do not denigrate her chosen beliefs, and she is respectful of mine.

    I may have misread, or misunderstood, Mr. Williams comment, (thinking he was saying the Bible IS what happened) but Creationism certainly hasn’t been proven false OR true. Creationism CAN’T be proven – how does one prove the actions of God? It’s not like he left a hidden tag under a rock somewhere that says, “God was here.” Belief in Creationism is, and always will be, an act of faith.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  4. Lyn: Excellent point. Even though I live in a small town, we have a diverse population because of the teaching hospital located here. My daughter has friends who are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, etc. Why should those students who aren’t Christians be subjected to Bible lessons? And even those who are Christian are coming from the various subsets – so which version do we teach? The Presbyterian version, the UCC version, the Roman Catholic version?

    Religion belongs in the home and in the church, synogogue, mosque, etc.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  5. Another sad commentary on the declining state of American Christianity. Instead of being a light unto the world, living lives patterned after Jesus, this new time religion creates dogma, establishes quotas, forms PACs, and prosletyzes the world. And when the quest to win over new souls falls short of their quotas, they fall back to their old way: A government-subsidized crusade.

    Comment by Josh_Alpharetta | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  6. Well said, Josh. There are very few true Christians following Christ’s path.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  7. I am a Christian. Of course my hope for all is that they can find the peace that I find through my faith. I hope that it is not a class that will be a requirement. I think it would be great for kids to have the opportunity if and only if, it is something that the parents agree with. Can’t they let it be an elective class that would be put towards graduating? For me, I would tell my children that they should make this class a chosen elective. But I certainly would never expect a parent with a different belief system than mine to force their child to take part in something that was completely against their belief system.
    Our country’s fundamental foundation was based on the Christian faith. Is it not OK to teach this to kids that want it? Don’t we have freedom of speech and our choice to choose our own religion?
    If we were in the Middle East I would expect that the Muslim or Jewish faith would and should be offered through the public system because it is part of their countries history and is part of their culture.
    It shouldn’t be about shoving Christianity down anyone throat. It should be about making it available through our public schools as an educational informative class about this nations belief history.

    Comment by Cindy | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  8. Cindy: I would agree that it should be an elective, but not one that would count towards graduation. It should be no different than Arts or Music class – a pass/fail grade.

    I’ve said this a few times here and at other places around the blogosphere: this country was NOT founded on the Christian faith. Read the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other Founders. They were Deists, believing in the existence of some divine force, but not in the Christian version of it. They made the concious point of not referencing the Christian religion at all. The mention is of ‘Nature’s God’.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    Part of the reason for this is that the Founders knew what religious wars could do to a country. They were determined to keep differences in religious practices and beliefs from becoming a cause of conflict in their newborn nation.

    One of my favorite Jefferson quotes:

    Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear. – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

    Also worth noting is Article 11 of the Barbary Treaties. Passed unanimously by the Congress and signed by John Adams in 1796 , it says, “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  9. I live just outside of Atlanta in one of its more affluent suburbs. A young coworker of mine remarked that her realtor advised her to not look for homes too far outside of Atlanta. “You’re a young woman and you wouldn’t want to move out there in the country,” she said. “Your chances of finding a man out there with more than four teeth in his mouth is pretty slim.”

    It gave me pause to wonder. In a state such as Georgia, ranked 9th in size, 5th in growth rate, but only 40th in education [Morgan Quitno Press “Smartest State” survey], wouldn’t the Governor better serve his constituents by focusing Georgia’s education on core subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and dental hygiene?

    Comment by Josh_Alpharetta | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  10. Josh: It makes you wonder, doesn't it? If you're rated in the bottom 20% in education, maybe you need to be more concerned about the basics than about making sure students are indoctrinated in the Christian faith.

    Or perhaps it's part of a plan on the fundies' part: Fewer educated people to question the religious teachings? Look at the furor that erupted in the Middle Ages when printers began publishing copies of the Bible for those who knew how to read. Prior to that, only the 'learned' priests and/or scribes were allowed to read the Bible. The congregations were simply told what it said, and had no way of knowing whether or not the priest was making it up to fit his own agenda.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  11. The bible says that god created the heavens and the earth in 6 days. Now we know that that is utterly preposterous, so the religious extremists changed their definition of the year…one year=1000 years, again Science know that to be a load of BS. We know that it has taken billions of years for our universe to evolve and for mammalian physiology to adapt to it’s present state. We also know, with irrefutable proof, that all religious writings have been modified over the centuries to meet the needs of those who held a vested interest of the eventual outcomes of those changes. If our tax dollars are to be used to promote religion through the study of the bible, it is my contention that the government should also require students to read, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, and, “Why I am not a Christian,” by Russell, then, the future of our country will be able to make an educated decision about if,”this is what happened.”

    Comment by Michael Noel | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  12. PA_Lady: I’m not sure education is relevant any more. Skills are relevant but not education. If you ask Fortune 500 companies the question “What shortages are affecting your bottom line” in unison they’ll answer “skilled workers”. Never “educated workers”.
    The same holds true for the politicians in Washington when they argue the need to increase H1B quotas.

    Maybe we would be better off force-feeding kids some government-sanctioned version of the U.S. Bible along with the skills necessary to work an assembly line. At least with the U.S. Bible as the cornerstone to their faith they might be less inclined to revolt.

    Comment by Josh_Alpharetta | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  13. Michael: This is one of the reasons I really began questioning the faith I was raised in (Presybterian). The more I learned, the more I questioned the ‘truth’ of the Bible. The Bible as we know it was interpreted by men who had their own agendas, and like the fundies of today, customized the words to fit their preferred meaning.

    Josh: If all we teach is work skills – as necessary as those are – then we end up with people who literally can’t think for themselves. A ‘classical’ education won’t help you get a job on an assembly line, but an education based solely on employability is too reminiscent of all we were told about the Soviets. The next step from their would be career testing in the primary grades, and kids given the education to fit their ‘chosen’ future career.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  14. PA_Lady: Funny that you mention “career testing in the primary grades”. Arizona, known for its burgeoning prison system, is always looking to expand business. To anticipate future growth, the Arizona Department of Corrections performs periodic studies of the number of children entering Arizona grade schools. They factor the percentage of kids that will be incarcerated as adults and build prisons accordingly, to accommodate them 15 years down the line.

    Imagine a prison system boasting of inmates who have already found Jesus because they were taught about him in school! No more need for correction because they come pre-corrected.

    Comment by Josh_Alpharetta | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  15. Josh: Interesting!

    Great – we’ll indoctrinate every kid, thus eliminating the need for prisons! 🙂

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  16. So Georgia wants to add bible study to its curriculum. Why add it, just incorporate it into the fiction section of liturature studies or into the math curriculum under how faith can make 1 + 1 = 3.

    Comment by Ned | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  17. Ned: 🙂 🙂 Imagine how adding the Bible could change courses like Social Studies and Principles of Democracy.

    The students would only have to memorize one answer: ‘Because the Bible tells me so.’

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  18. The bibles are what some “think” happened. Now fast forward 1 century and I wrote President G.W.Bush was the greatest world leader since G.Washington, does that make it true? 😉

    Comment by Walt | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  19. And then, two centuries later, a Greek can translate your writings and tell us that you used the word ‘greatest’ but that based on his study of Ancient English, he believes you meant ‘widest’ and thus your essay on Bush will be reinterpreted to mean he was the fattest president since Washington.

    A few centuries after that, while attempting to convince their followers that GWB was bestowed with god-like powers, someone will reinterpret his interpretation, and say you really meant ‘greatest’ in the sense of greatness, and soon your essay will be one showing the necessity of sacrificing young virgins to the Almighty War-President to guarantee success in war.

    Or something like that….

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  20. PA_Lady: Thank you for interpreting my historical writings. Now that the whole of humanity has read my teachings, they should now follow the creator of democracy throughout the world. Perhaps they have missintepreted my writings, it was, being that GWB was a believer of equality, that the virgins be of both sexes, to protect the vital interest of democractic commercial interprises, should be sacrificed.

    Book one:Walt

    Comment by Walt | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  21. Walt: 🙂

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  22. The Bible is a respected book that all should read just so they can have the facts. It would be difficult to have a Bible class however simply because so many people hate the Bible. The people who say someone can’t have a Bible class are no different from those who say that someone must study the Bible. They rob that person of personal choice of what they want to learn.

    Comment by JLW | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  23. JWL: The problem is that while YOU consider the Bible to be factual, I don’t. It’s not that I ‘hate’ the Bible, it’s that I find it to be filled with contradictions. I believe Christ existed, but I don’t believe he was a supernatural being – simply a wise teacher.

    Each and every person is free to believe whatever they want, but I do not want their beliefs being forced on me or my children by the state. Would you be as supportive of the Georgia law if it was requiring study of the Koran or the Talmud?

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  24. I didn’t say anything about the Bible being factual. I just said that people should know the facts about what the Bible really says. A lot of people can throw around opinions all they want, but for real discussion to take place, wouldn’t you agree that people should know what they are talking about first?

    Actually, you’re talking to someone who owns the Koran and has read it. I don’t have a copy of the Talmud but the local library does. Since I’ve studied these things, I have an authority to speak about them, and I’m not swayed by propoganda or hysterics. Everyone should have that intellectual freedom.

    Comment by JLW | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  25. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! this is why my daughter will goto Christian school…Look at all the awful things we have brought on by removing GOD from school. I pray every state no matter what side of the line they are on
    (since we all ready faught that war) would adhear to these same values I say GO Georiga! set a footstep for others to follow!!

    Comment by Jennifer | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  26. JLW: Apologies because I think I misunderstood where you were coming from. I agree with you that reading and knowing ALL religious books is important for understanding each religions’ background and perspective.

    I simply believe that reading those books should not be a part of public education. If parents want their child to have Bible and religion classes, then they should pay for parochial education or enroll their child in religious ed classes, in addition to teaching them their own values and beliefs in their home.

    Jennifer: JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! That is exactly WHY your child should go to a Christian school. This isn’t about removing ‘God’ from public education, it’s about removing state-sponsored religion from public schools as NOT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN THE CHRISTIAN GOD.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 23, 2006 | Reply

  27. I am from Asia. I just got into WordPress and set up my Christian blog at http://borax.wordpress.com I was a bit shocked reading what PAlady wrote. My country is extremely idolatrous, and I am glad that by the grace of God I discovered Christ or, rather, Christ discovered me. I believe that the Bible is a living Book. It contains the words of Christ. And Christ is our life!

    I may sound silly to PAlady, but I know what I am talking about. This living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, has come into my life and utterly transformed it. I am so glad about Georgia. I am not a Bible thumper. I am not conservative, nor am I a liberal! One thing I know: strong Christians are found more in Asia than in America, because here you have to suffer for your faith!

    PAlady, I hope you understand me. [But it’s difficult if you don’t have the Spirit of God living in you.]

    Comment by borax | April 27, 2006 | Reply

  28. borax: Actually, you do sound like a Bible thumper – one who believes that only his religion is the right one, and that everyone should convert to it.

    I believe that one of the most important rights in the United States is the right to choose your religion – or to choose none at all. You aren’t required to be of a particular faith to hold political office, to vote, etc., nor are those of any faith persecuted simply for their choice of religion. The government doesn’t tell us what god to worship, and the religious leaders are not the political leaders.

    I hope you will understand me when I say that I hold no animosity toward anyone because of their religious beliefs. I believe in agod, but not in YOUR god. I believe in the wisdom of the man called Christ, but I don’t believe in him just because the Bible says so, or my pastor said so. The Bible was edited by ancient religious leaders who cut out what they didn’t like, and what didn’t fit their personal agendas. (Look up the ‘extracanicals’) The Bible has been corrupted over centuries, so that its truth is greatly disfigured.

    I’m sorry that Christians in Asia suffer for their faith. I am equally sorry that people of any religious persuasion suffer for their faith and/or religious practices. I believe that tolerance and understanding are the first steps toward global peace. Christians, however, don’t exactly have a great history of tolerance for diversity, even amongst themselves. (The Crusades, the Inquisition, witch trials, Northern Ireland, etc, etc, etc.)

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 27, 2006 | Reply

  29. […] See You in Bible Class says the MSNBC/Newsweek headline on a story that informs us that the state of Georgia has decided that having a Bible class is a critical part of the public school curriculum for their state. They’re going to mandate that it be added. The story is headed by the picture of a woman praying while officials in Odessa, Texas debate a similar proposal. Then from The Lady Speaks (Oh, Here’s a surprise, we have the comment that the Bible is OK in public school, provided that it is in the mythology section of the literature class. And therein lies one of the problems with having a Bible class in public school. […]

    Pingback by Threads from Henry’s Web » Blog Archive » The Best Place to Teach the Bible | May 4, 2006 | Reply


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