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‘The Bible Is The Written Word Of God’ Texas Public Schools Teach Students

by David Badash on January 28, 2013

in Education,News,Religion

Post image for ‘The Bible Is The Written Word Of God’ Texas Public Schools Teach Students

Texas public schools are still teaching creationism, claim “the Bible is the written word of God,” and that Christ rose from the dead — all of which is illegal.

“These are some of the findings detailed in Reading, Writing & Religion II, a new report by the Texas Freedom Network that investigates how public schools in the Lone Star State promote religious fundamentalism under the guise of offering academic courses about the Bible,” Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones reports today:

The report, written by Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, found that more than half of the state’s public-school Bible courses taught students to read the book from a specifically Christian theological perspective—a clear violation of rules governing the seperation of church and state.

Many school districts pushed specific strains of fundamentalism in the classes:

  • “The Bible is the written word of God,” proclaims a slide shown to students in suburban Houston’s Klein Independent School District (ISD). Another slide adds: “The Bible is united in content because there is no contradictions [sic] in the writing. The reason for this is because that Bible is written under God’s direction and inspiration.”

  • A PowerPoint slide in Brenham ISD in Central Texas claims that “Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space—that is was, in reality, historical and notmythological.” (emphasis in original)

  • In North Texas, Prosper ISD promotes the Rapture, claiming in course materials that “the first time the Lord gathered his people back was after the Babylonian captivity. The second time the Lord will gather his people back will be at the end of the age.”

Aside from indoctrinating children at a young age with false “facts,” imagine how LGBTQ youth are even more impacted. For some, likely many, their families, churches, and their schools are teaching them they are sinners destined for hell.

You can read the Texas Freedom Network’s full report here (PDF).

Image: Powerpoint slide used by one Texas school district, via Texas Freedom Network

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BJLincoln January 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm

The pre-school my son when to was part of a Christian school and came home with Bible stuff regularly. I was OK with that because he was young and we talked about the "stories" as if they were fairy tales.
When he began public school he brought home some Christian based paper. Before I had a chance to address it, I met a woman who also had a child in that class and she asked me what I thought about the papers that came home. I tried to be kind and said religion had no place in public schools. She let out a sigh of relief. I am Pagan and she was Jewish. We both marched into the office the next day and complained about the Christian teachings our kids were bringing home and presented the handouts the kids brought home.

BJLincoln January 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Here the teacher was married to a Minister and was bring some of her Sundy School materials to class. She was told about the complaints and reminded of the law against teaching religion in a public school.
The teacher stopped and retired the end of that year.
I saw the trailer for "The Revisionists" and am looking forward to watching it.
Religion has NO place in our schools or government and it is up to us to fight against these extremists who want to put their God and beliefs into every aspect of American life.

Diogenes_Arktos January 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I partially disagree. A strictly academic study of religion is *necessary* in public schools. It is impossible to understand World History and current events without it. OTOH – I'm a liberal Christian and I fully support you and your Jewish acquaintance in complaining. It's not just promoting Christianity, it's promoting a specific view of Christianity – even the Religious Right fights about certain issues.

laughingferret January 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm

You’re both correct, in my opinion, it just depends on the presentation of the religious information.

Religion must be taught *about* to understand history, since it has been one of the most prominent influences in history. But there is a huge difference between teaching about a religion and teaching a religion as if it is fact.

For example, Greek Mythology is always taught in history and English literature, because it is a foundation within these subjects. But it doesn’t violate anyone’s freedom of religion because it is never taught as if the stories are facts. Same should be done with Christianity and all the other religions: teach what people believed, where the ideas came from and what influences it had on civilization. But do not teach it as if the stories are true.

If an individual wants to believe the stories are true, they are free to do so, but in a classroom the subject should be approached in an Anthropological manner.

I taught history for many years and this is how I did it. I did have some problems with some fundamentally minded students, but I told them the same: the religion can be understood in a historical and anthropological way, and in a history class, this is what they will be presented with. if they want to believe the religion is true, they are free to do so. For people of no religion or other religions that worried that learning about Christianity would violate their religious freedom I assured them it did not, as no claims that it was true would ever be made or expected to be held by any student. Just like we would learn about Greek philosophers who believed the sun revolved around the earth: you can learn that they believed this without having to believe it yourself.

This teacher in the story seems to have been in the wrong, as it’s suggested she did in fact present Christian religion as if the beliefs are facts.

novenator January 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Theocracy and tyranny against non-christians is the result of allowing conservatives to dominate the power structure of a state.

David4582 January 29, 2013 at 9:24 am

I'm skeptical of the statements quoted in the article. They are too tidy and fit the liberal/Freedom Network narrative too neatly. I suspect the reality is a bit more nuanced and complex than this. Perhaps students made these comments, which they are free to do, or perhaps these comments were mentioned as options for biblical interpretation, but I'm not convinced that these Texas teachers advocated these positions in class.

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