Alex Blaze

Texas to teach Bible classes

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 17, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bible, child care, Christian beliefs, class warfare, kids, LGBT youth, power, schools, subservience

Not that there's anything wrong with teaching "history of religion" or "world religion" type classes in high school. I personally took a world religion class back in the day from a Wiccan lesbian and found it fascinating, and a lot of what I learned there stuck with me.

The issue here is that the point doesn't seem to be to provide a factual history of Christianity (note that no other religion will even be discussed, naturally). The point seems to be teaching everyone who's in charge:

"By the end of the year, what they begin to realize is that it is pervasive. You can't get away from it. The kids came back and were like 'It's everywhere,'" said John Keeling, the social studies chair at Whitehouse High School. Whitehouse already offers a Bible elective. "The purpose of a course like this isn't even really to get kids to believe it per say. It is just to appreciate the profound impact that it has had on our history and on our government," said Keeling.

As has been pointed out many times, conservatives don't really have much in terms of values except for determining who does an action and upon whom it is performed. Questions about the absolute or even the situational morality of actions are completely lost on this crowd - all that matters is if their preferred tribe has the upper hand or not. These coursesm at least as described here, are about just that: justifying why one group gets to control everything and others don't get a say in the matter.

While the state says that the Bible courses have to be objective and not push any viewpoint, after reading that long study on what actually happens in Texan abstinence-only education, I'm left to imagine what sorts of things teachers will be teaching there. Considering that the newspaper went to what was probably one of the more sympathetic people teaching this class for a quotation, and he seems to believe that the Founding Fathers were fundamentalist, post-Industrial Baptists, I'm going to guess that other teachers will go even further in their "objective" teaching of Biblical history.

Whenever conservatives talk about the history of religion in America, or how they think that they've always controlled the government, I'm now unable to dissociate that rhetoric from the sorts of protestors who claim that Obama isn't really an American citizen or Pat Buchanan's famous screed on Rachel Maddow saying that 100% of everyone at every important moment in US history was white. They all fully accept that there are non-white people in America and in the world - they just have to know their place. The birthers feel on a gutteral level that Obama is in fact a foreign usurper. And Pat Buchanan saying that everyone who fought at Normandy was white (which isn't true) has less to do with a historical lesson and more to do with justifying why white people should be allowed to control everything (they are merely superior).

While there's nothing wrong with teaching a real history of religion, I'm imagining studies a few years from now that'll show that most of these teachers are telling their students lies in class, and that those lies will tend to lean towards whatever preconceived notions the teachers have or pick up while watching Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly. It doesn't help that the state won't provide the money for materials or to develop a curriculum with even a semblance of objectivity:

However, the Texas Education Agency has stated that it would not provide training or materials because the state did not budget the estimated $750,000 it would need to develop the materials. Also, the State Board of Education said the curriculum standards approved were "constitutional, but were vague and provided little direction for creating a course that is so touchy."

Actually, it helps them a lot not to create a curriculum in an area that's ripe for abuse. Now instead of having a curriculum that can be challenged by goddam dirty fucking hippies, the state will have a different in each school, depending on how uninformed, lazy, or evangelist the teachers put in charge of it are. And the chances of people who think others should have the right to believe whatever they want without being told that they're not really American and that they chose a belief system that's just done less for American than fundamentalist Protestantism effectively responding to that system are rather low.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

i don't necessarily agree that pat buchanan thinks white people are superior to those of other races...but i think you have hit the nail exactly on the head when you suggest that buchanan sees white people (preferably white catholics) as the only true americans.

to put it another way, if i had to guess i would suggest buchanan sees black and hispanic people as equal...but i would also guess he would prefer they go back to their own countries and solve the problems there and quit bothering the white people who are trying to return "our america" to the perfect days of the 1950s.