Thursday, September 24, 2009
[1896 - F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer, born in St. Paul, Minnesota]
Secular Religious Teaching?
A group called the Bible Literacy Project published what they label a 'secular' high school textbook. This 392 page textbook, that is denominated The Bible and Its Influence, raises some eyebrows among those of us who still believe in the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
According to proponents of this textbook, it is a 'secular' effort to educate young Americans, many of whom know little about a work (The Bible) that is central to Western civilization. New York investment banker, Chuck Stetson, who established the Bible Literacy Project, spent considerable time and money consulting with religious leaders and First Amendment experts in an attempt to produce a text that could withstand legal scrutiny. Mr. Stetson reportedly became concerned after a Gallup poll taken in 2004 found that only half the teens surveyed knew the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Apparently, no one pointed out to Mr. Stetson that if indeed it is important for our youth to learn more about Jesus' miracles, the place to do that would be in church, Sunday school, and Bible study classes. Parents who wish to inculcate these stories into the minds of their children really ought to send them to the religious institution of their choice, instead of relying on taxpayer-funded public schools to teach religious dogma.
Putting aside for the moment that secular Bible study is an oxymoron, I dare say folks would have no objection to teaching the Bible as a literary work as long as equal time were given to teaching the other religious literary texts that are relied on by the majority of the world's peoples. The problem is that our high schools are already graduating large numbers of students who are barely literate, and who know precious little about our Constitution and Bill of Rights, or US history, mathematics, and other basic subjects that those of us of an earlier generation learned in high school. We would rather see more time devoted in our schools to the teaching of these truly secular subjects, rather than allowing special interest religious groups to siphon off precious classroom time and resources for religious education disguised as literature appreciation.
William's Whimsical Words:
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Last updated on September 20, 2009