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Old 03-08-2007, 10:38 PM   #1
Achilles
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Georgia moves closer on school Bible classes

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On a list of classes approved Thursday by the Georgia Board of Education are Literature and History of the Old Testament Era, and Literature and History of the New Testament Era. The classes, approved last year by the Legislature, will not be required, and the state's 180 school systems can decide for themselves whether to offer them.
Hmmm...pretty sure this violates the Establishment Clause. A public school cannot receive gov't funds for use of teaching religion in school. Anyone here really think that Bible Belt teachers are going to teach a survey of NT and not try to indoctrinate students?
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:56 PM   #2
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I'm not sure about whether or not it's allowed, but the thing is it's optional, the students can choose to study it if they want to. I'd say there's every chance that teachers would try to indoctrinate students, but my criticism about this would be more that it doesn't respect the cultual diversity, in terms that some believe in other Gods. Some believe in no God.

On the other hand having teachers try and indoctrinate students will prepare them for university.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:45 PM   #3
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I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that it's not. If it is, it's probably just legal enough to keep the ACLU off their tail (until one of the teachers crosses the line. I give it 3 months).

Private schools that don't receive government money can teach whatever they want, but in the public school system, this is a big no-no.
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:02 AM   #4
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It isn't going to last very long. Special interests groups are going to absoloutely rip them apart if they even set a toenail across the line, which is hard to NOT do on such controversial subjects where people get very wound up.

Conclusion: ACLU is going to tear them a new one for stepping all over the Establishment Clause (""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"". Commonly interpreted to mean "2) the preference of one religion over another or of religion over non-religious philosophies in general".- source wikipedia ). This is blatantly establishing religion in a government institution...a major no-no. My guess is that the Christians are going to be ticked off at what they see as more religion hating and the attempted removal of all religion from the US. Just what we needed, more flamebait.


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Old 03-09-2007, 07:32 PM   #5
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I have a feeling Dubya knows this will be overturned, but that he does it to suck up to the right-wing fundies who actually want a Christian theocracy.

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Old 03-09-2007, 07:47 PM   #6
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Or The Right knows that they can use a defeat to play the victim to the moderates.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:51 PM   #7
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Or they're using this relatively major assault on reason to disguise the fact that they're simultaneously enacting some smaller, more insidious subversion of national policy.

The possibilities are endless!


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Old 03-10-2007, 03:48 PM   #8
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I've seen classes on 'Biblical references in Literature' or something along that line--explaining the background behind the references that show up say, in Shakespeare, Dante's Inferno, Pilgrim's Progress, etc.

If it's handled as a history/lit course _and_ it's optional, I can live with it, just as I could live with a course like "History of the Middle East from the time of Muhammad". Christianity has had a huge influence on the development of Western culture and I think it would be a mistake to ignore the importance of that, whether or not one happens to believe in religion. Islam certainly has had an influence on the development of culture and politics in the Middle East and Northern Africa, I(or Hinduism in India, etc.). I don't have to believe in Islam to appreciate the effect it has on some governments even today.

Any of these religious texts can be studied for their literature without requiring belief. Just because I read some of the Koran for my Middle Eastern history class doesn't mean I planned on believing it, and the prof never intended it to be used as a conversion tool (in fact, I think he was agnostic IIRC).

Now if the teachers start implying or stating that a child must believe 'x' because it's in that religious text, or that the child must celebrate 'y' holiday 'because Christ/Muhammad/Buddha/the trees say so', or say 'z' prayer at specific times of the day, then I'd have a cow.

I don't think the school board would have allowed that to go through without putting some legal study into it. I'm sure they're well aware that the ACLU (among other organizations) will file suit, if that organization hasn't done so already.


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Old 03-11-2007, 07:56 PM   #9
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It may be suprising, but I actually wouldn't mind an elective class for religious studies. Perhaps when students learn what is TRUELY in their religion's holy book, they would see the grotesque contents of it... not just what their preacher wants them to see.
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Old 03-11-2007, 08:26 PM   #10
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A frequent poster in another forum that I visit *cough*evcforum.net*cough* once stated that if Atheists really wanted to take over the world, they would make Bible study mandatory.
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Old 03-11-2007, 08:59 PM   #11
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True. There are two types of "Bible studies", see: One that teaches you what the Bible says, and one that not only does that, but also tells the kids the origins of the various verses, how they contradict each others, and so on. Also, of course, it matters which portions of the Bible are studied.

In my view, an objective class has to teach the origins of the myths, and how the religions correlate. It's like social studies or science classes: You have to teach who came up with the different systems, what faults and advantages they have, etc. Likewise you can't just say that "the Theory of Evolution says this happened", you have to add how it's proven, who invented it, what the reception was, etc (although the latter, I suppose, could be better taught in Social Studies or Religion?).

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Old 03-11-2007, 09:17 PM   #12
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Agreed, and frankly it would be better all round if such courses were all named accurately: "Judeo-Christian Mythology", with the word "mythology" underlined about seventeen times in three different colours.

It's myth and legend. It should be taught in a similar fashion to (and given the same level of credence as) the stories of Perseus and the Gorgon, Horus & Set, etcetera. Actually I think the Greek and Egyptian myths have more literary value... The bible is kind of boring by comparison.

But hey.


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