Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bible Textbook for Public Schools Planned

I could be wrong ... but this sounds absolutely horrible.

Bible Textbook for Public Schools Planned ... quote ...

An interfaith group released a new textbook Thursday aimed at teaching public high school students about the Bible while avoiding legal and religious disputes.

The nonprofit Bible Literacy Project of Fairfax, Va., spent five years and $2 million developing "The Bible and Its Influence." The textbook, introduced at a Washington news conference, won initial endorsements from experts in literature, religion and church-state law.

... and ...

Religious lobbies and federal courts have long struggled over Bible course content. To avoid problems, Bible Literacy's editors accommodated Jewish sensitivities about the New Testament, attributed reports about miracles to the source rather than simply calling them historical facts and generally downplayed scholarly theories — about authorship and dates, for example — that offend conservatives.

Educators know biblical knowledge is valuable — 60 percent of allusions in one English Advanced Placement prep course came from the Bible — and that polls show teens don't know much about Scripture. Yet few public schools offer such coursework, partly due to demands for other elective classes, partly over legal worries. The U.S. Supreme Court's 1963 decision barring schoolroom Bible recitations said that "the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities" if "presented objectively as part of a secular program of education."

When I was little, a friend and I made swords out of broomsticks. We used coffee can lids as the hand guard, tennis tape for the grip and sharpened up the ends real good. Man, they were bad. Then we proceeded to whack the living tarnation out of each other with them. When my friend's dad came home, he took one look at them, took them from us, pounded out the pointy ends -- dulling our beautifully dangerous weapons of warfare -- and gave them right back to us. Frankly, he probably saved the vision of both of us, as we surely would have put our eyes out with those things. However, after that, we completely lost interest in playing with them. No longer were they tools for valiant knights. They were just sticks again.

When you dull a sword -- taking away its sharpness, heaviness and danger -- it is no longer a weapon. What is it? A spatula? It sounds like this is what they are doing to the word of God with this textbook. I hope I'm wrong ... but somehow I doubt it.