Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Bible textbook?

Those of us who think it appalling that students in the post-Christian era grow up entirely illiterate about the content of the Scriptures, may feel encouraged by this story. On the other hand, as a public school teacher for thirty five years, I would be concerned that the average classroom teacher might be as ignorant of the subject as the students, and perhaps much more biased.
According to Dr. Anita Buckley Commander, the Alabama Director of Classroom Improvement, there was no opposition to the October 11 vote by the state Board of Education to include The Bible and Its Influence on the state's list of accepted textbooks. The Board held a hearing on the issue and no-one showed up; the book was approved by a vote of 8-0.

The textbook is a product of the Bible Literacy Project, founded and run by Chuck Stetson, a conservative Christian New York-based equity fund executive. Assessing scripture and its subsequent influence on literature, art, philosophy and political culture, it was specifically designed to avoid the Constitution's church-state barriers. Although the text, which has been on the market for two years, is now taught in 163 schools in 35 states, no state had previously endorsed it.

The Bible and Its Influence has a fascinating constellation of supporters and critics. Some of its more liberal champions, such as the American Jewish Congress's counsel Marc Stern, feel that the republic can not only survive but will actually benefit from public school courses on a document as culturally central as the Bible — as long as the classes avoid being devotional. Evangelical heavyweight Chuck Colson hopes that God will speak to students even through a class that is secular in intent. Those opposed to the book include secularists who argue that it already violates the First Amendment and fundamentalists who see its approach as secular and therefore diluting the value of what they see as God's inspired word. ....
Here is a books.google.com preview of the book, including parts of several chapters.

Alabama Picks a Bible Textbook -- Printout -- TIME

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:09 PM

    Having not seen the text still I would say Amen !to this approach. Would that our School district would foloow Alabama. I would also agee that while secular in nature it opens the door and wonder if it might be used in Sabbath School


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