You know, you people really are gluttons for abuse. Not long after my recent piece on the bogosity of Christian persecution, a reader and friend tells me that our buddy Jay Gatsby is at it again, spewing bullshit all over the Internets. Now, I could slowly and tenderly eviscerate Mr. Gatsby's position, but life is short so I'll just lay a quick smackdown on him and move on.
Linking to this piece at Fox News (and one wonders if Mr. Gatsby gets his right-wing indoctrination from anywhere but Faux), we have, "Mich. Schools Won't Offer Bible Class":
FRANKENMUTH, Mich. — A rural school district will not offer a religious group's Bible class as an elective high school course, ending a yearlong debate.
The school board in Frankenmuth, about 75 miles north of Detroit, decided with one dissenting vote Monday to not offer the "Bible As Literature and History" class at Frankenmuth High School, following the recommendation of school Superintendent Michael Murphy.
The proposed class would have been based on materials from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools of Greensboro, N.C.
Murphy said the class was not academically rigorous enough and said current classes in English, art and history, already include studies on how the Bible affects American society.
"It goes beyond talking about religion and becomes faith-based," Murphy said.
Now, we can shorten this discussion immensely by understanding one simple thing -- whether this course belongs in public school is based solely on whether it consists of legitimate, objective, Biblical scholarship and comparative religious studies, or whether it's Christian evangelism and proselytizing.
If it's the former, then no problem. Personally, I'm a big fan of comparative religious studies in school, and I'd be the first one to support that sort of thing. If it's the latter, not a chance. And it really is that cut-and-dried. Can we all agree on that? (And, please, don't make me explain why the class being optional, voluntary or an elective is absolutely irrelevant. Surely, most of you should be smart enough to figure that one out for yourselves.)
So ... is this curriculum group a legitimate academic concern, or a bunch of Bible-thumping evangelists? Hmmm ... maybe the fact that even Faux News described them as a "religious group" should have set off some warning bells, no? But, really, to be fair, we should go straight to the web site of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (Jeebus Christ!, turn the volume down on your system first, how fucking self-absorbed are these people?) where, right up front, we read that this collection of wingnuts are working hand in hand with the American Family Association and the Center for Reclaiming America, both bastions of right-wing wingnuttery. And we're supposed to believe that any of these clubs has suddenly discovered the appeal of actual academic objectivity? Oh, please.
But it's on the next page at the Bible curriculum shop that you get the full force of what kind of lunatics you're dealing with, as President Elizabeth Ridenour writes:
The world is watching to see if we will be motivated to impact our culture, to deal with the moral crises in our society, and reclaim our families and children.
I think we can all agree that any actual scholarly program of Biblical examination wouldn't be yammering on about "the moral crises in our society". Anyway, despite the bitching and moaning from the Jay Gatsbys of the world, there's no story here. A nutbar religious group wanted the chance to indoctrinate public school students, and the school board quite properly told them to go Cheney themselves.
And, every so often, the universe unfolds as it should.
ADDITIONAL RANDOM THOUGHTS: If you really need a glimpse at the scholarly quality of the aforementioned curriculum, well, you just have to ask. Check the course outline. I mean, really. "Fill in the Missing Information Quiz"? "Acts of General Assembly of Commonwealth of Kentucky"? "The Hydrological Cycle of Weather & The Complexity Of Weather Patterns"? "The American Flag"? "Passover Feast and Recipes"?
Recipes? They want to talk about Passover recipes?? And weather patterns? And the American flag??? I'm sure it's possible to have even more wretched, biased, worthless course material. I'm just not sure how.
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Just for the entertainment value, I followed the "Links" URL at the curriculum site to get here, to see others who are listed as "supportive of [their] cause". And what a disreputable collection of right-wing hacks it is, with the occasional young-earth creation scientist mixed in, like "Dr. Dino" Kent Hovind. Everything you need to know about Hovind, you can find here. Enjoy.