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Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes

Published February 13th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

sen.bowen

The Kentucky Post reports the state of Kentucky is considering allowing the Christian Bible to be studied in school.  

From state Senator Bowen:

No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it’s had so much influence on our society and all of Western civilization.

Senator Bowen sponsored the Bill “which would direct the state Department of Education to develop a course curriculum around the Bible, which local school councils could then approve for teaching in their schools.”

The bill was approved by Kentucky’s State Senate and now goes to the House for review.

Ostensibly the purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the teaching of the bible is taught in the context of literature or as a part of culture.  That would be nice.  Of course this blurring of the separation of church and state will cause overreaching by those who feel its their Duty to God as it has in the past.

I would love to see a comparative religion course made mandatory in public schools across the US.  



94 Responses to “Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes”

  1. assclown says:

    I myself have lived in Kentucky 22 years. I was born and raised here and let me tell you that this state is FULL of fundies. Between the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, this is just the tip of the iceburg. I used to be a Christian as my parents raised me to believe it is TRUTH and should never be questioned until I took a philosophy class at Eastern Kentucky University. I learned the beautiful thing of freethought. I must say my mind has been BORN AGAIN for about three months now and it never feels better. Unfortunately with this legislation it is only going to create more children that will grow up just like I did. You guys mention it would be a great idea because it will be an opportunity for comparative religion and will also show the inherent controversies of the bible. WRONG! Kentucky may be a little more north than the conservative south, but Kentucky considers itself as part of the bible belt, where the number of churches outweigh the number of liquor stores. If this legislation is allowed, the controversies will only be skipped, the atrocities never mentioned and the result will be brainwashed children.

    So guys, I’m new at this stuff. Who do you think I should write to let them know how I feel?

    -Ryan
    Richmond, KY

    • Sean Boyd says:

      You’ve got a pretty good start already.

    • bruceo says:

      Ryan, I see absolutely nothing wrong with creating more children who will grow up just like you did.

    • tekHedd says:

      Wouldn’t hurt to contact the ffrf. Sometimes when they bring a suit they actually need to be representing affected people in the state. And their entire purpose is to fight state-church violations.

    • Michael the Arch-Angel Hair says:

      Assclown,

      All of us here should be well acquainted with the power of the random letter tossed of to boards of authority. Write the legislators, say whatever crazy shit comes to mind. Be as respectful as possible, but don’t hold back on the subtle jabs. Find the most outspoken opponent of this legislation and send him ideas so that he may compose more thoughtful philosophical arguments.

  2. Brian Fritzen says:

    I don’t mind. As long as they provide “alternative theories” within the class. We all know the FSM created it all. But then there are those IPUists who also have an (if misinformed) argument. But don’t forget the Cult of Cthulhu, Islam, Buddha, Judaism, and all of the thousands of religions.

  3. TiltedHorizon says:

    I thought we already had schools which teach bible literature; Churches.

    “This bill ensures it will be about education, not indoctrination,” said Bowen, who maintains the Bible’s influence in our society is “not something we can evade.” The students will also decide whether or not to sign up for the course.

    If I wanted a class on the Qur’an would it also be offered? Unless this will be a comparative study of religion then it’s simply indoctrination.

  4. Sean Boyd says:

    At this moment in history, the Koran is as important in American life as the Bible. That similar academic study of the Koran has not been proposed for Kentucky HS students is telling.

    That is the primary reason I don’t believe that this proposal is not intended as indoctrination. The fundie branch of the GOP is not shy in publicly opining that this is an Xtian nation: see for example the public utterances of Rep. Steve King, Sen. McCain, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and many others. They do not see study of the Bible as a mere academic exercise.

    But suppose that a reasonable curriculum can be devised for an academic analysis of the Bible at that level. Consider that, even in a discipline like biology, where the standards are well-understood, that 13% of high school biology teachers nevertheless teach creationism as fact (recent study at Penn State, I think.) Kentucky has guidelines for teaching evolutionary theory (although it seems they don’t call it that) and yet, if they hold true to the national average, 13 out of every 100 teachers ignore these standards in favor of “something created it all for us.” And “something” is Jeebus and pals, typically. If such a large percentage of science teachers preach creationism in a biology class, I don’t see how we prevent active recruitment into Jeebus’s army in a class studying the Bible.

    Unless, as has been proposed by other posters, this becomes a true comparative religions class. In which case, I would expect to see treatment of the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita. I’d expect to see analysis of Buddhist thought, Shinto, animism, Judaism, the beliefs of Australian aborigines. I would want comparisons to be made between all these, and differences drawn as well. Naturally, the FSM needs to be included, representing all carbohydrate-based religions. And atheism should be included as well…if kids learn what people around the world believe, they should learn why roughly 1 in 6 people don’t.

    Somehow, I have a feeling the great state of Kentucky won’t see it that way.

  5. Danimal says:

    Primary schools take little time to explore other pieces of literature beyond American and Western European authors and I don’t expect this bible class to be any different. To be fair K-12 schools don’t have to time or the resources to but skim everything that there is to learn about the world and comparative religion will be no different.
    I think parts of the bible are good pieces of literature in the same way that the Iliad, Odyssey, Epic of Gilgamesh, etc. are good pieces of literature. They are works of *fiction* that seek to examine the human condition. Do I think this class in KY will teach the bible as fiction? I doubt it.
    RAmen,
    Danimal

  6. tony allen says:

    The Freedom from religion foundation (FFRF) has an excellent 50 question test on the bible on it’s website. If that test were part of the course, I’d go for it in a heartbeat.

    • xxicenturyboy says:

      Link to test is http://www.ffrf.org/legacy/quiz/bquiz.php

      • Keith says:

        I got 26 out of 50 (haven’t read the thing for years) Just picked the most brutal and mindless answers.

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          So did I, and scored 35. Maybe I’m even more brutal than you, Keith.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          13. Sunday School. I didn’t pay much attention to it I guess.

  7. tony allen says:

    Are other Pastafarian members of FFRF out there?

    • tekHedd says:

      They all should be. Regardless of the name, the FFRF is working to protect the religious as well as the atheistic. Of course, most religious people don’t understand that. :)

  8. Cardinal Fang says:

    This is fantastic. In the name of balance and not promoting one religion over another, this is our opportunity to also get the Gospel of the FSM in taught in schools.

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