22 September 2005

Bible education in public schools

I've just come across an article on MSNBC, which reports that a new public school textbook for teaching the Bible has been drafted. The drafters are the nonprofit Bible Literacy Project, based in Fairfax, Virginia, comprised of a number of interfaith groups.

In the meantime, a death cult group known as National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, of Greensboro, North Carolina, is pushing its own curriculum, which is less about teaching about the Bible and more about converting students into their deadly brand of Christianity, at public expense. This curriculum only includes a teacher's guide, as the Bible itself is used as the textbook.

I'm all for Bible education in schools, as long as it's presented in a manner which highlights its role in history, good and bad. The teachings should be in a literary context, as well as a historical context, concentrating on the Europeans' desire to spread the faith - and its consequences both during the Crusades and the New World conquests. It should be up to the students to decide whether it is the Book of Truth, as the Dominionists would like them to believe, or the Book of Death, which the Dominionists turned it into, or something in between.

In my case, I read the Bible in my high school English class, covering the first few books of Genesis; in the same class, I read numerous other cultures' Creation stories, so this amounted to nothing more than a comparative study of Creation stories of various cultures. Moving on to college, my literature class required me to read many sections of the Bible, but it was in both Jewish and Christian contexts, and I was also required to read the Koran to add a Muslim context. I feel that as much as I disagree with many - if not most - teachings of the Bible, knowing it makes me better prepared to understand the patriarchal culture I live in, and to fight the Dominionists whose beliefs are based on a deadly interpretation of the book.

MSNBC article