Why We Should Teach The Bible In Public School? http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20070402,00.html http://www.kfcusa.org/content/view/147/43/ Teachers will want to read the cover story of this week’s TIME magazine- “Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public Schools.” Senior religion reporter David Van Biema praises The Bible Literacy Project and its textbook The Bible and Its Influence, which CEAI leaders have endorsed and previously highlighted to our members. Van Biema argues that academic study of the Bible in public schools (as an elective) is crucially important and writes: “Should the Holy Book be on the public-school menu? Yes. It's the bedrock of Western culture. And it's constitutional-as long as we teach but don't preach it.... It's the MOST influential book ever written and the best-selling book of the year every year. Shakespeare alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times, and you also need the Bible to make sense of the ideas and rhetoric that have helped drive U.S. history.” This is why the Bible Literacy Project developed the first and only student textbook for public high school academic study of the Bible, which Van Biema lauds, saying, “[Public school Bible electives] should have a strong accompanying textbook on the model of The Bible and Its Influence...” The textbook has received other accolades from all sides - educators, scholars, secularists, and many faith leaders, including evangelicals Chuck Colson and Vonette Bright. The Bible Literacy Project has recently launched a new VOLUNTEER effort, with new staff to train educators, parents and community members on how to present this course to your local school. To be trained as a volunteer, go to www.bibleliteracy.org/volunteer. We urge you to pick up a copy of the April 2nd issue of TIME or click here to read the entire article online. http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/03/22/teaching-the-bible-in-public-school/ Oh boy. Some excerpts: The class has its share of conservative Christians. Front-row center sat Rachel Williams, 18, whose mother does teach Sunday school at Oakwood. But not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn’t outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. “Some of my friends are Christian,” she said, shrugging, “and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I’m like, Okaaaay … clueless.” I don’t know if clueless regards to her not knowing anything about the debate, or clueless meaning Christianity and evolution are incompatible… They do quote an atheist who will use her name, though, and a smart one at that: First Amendment sentinels like Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer and the author of Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and the Perils of Piety, fear that given America’s overwhelmingly Christian cast, even neutral Bible instruction would amount to preferencing. “If you teach the Bible outside of close conjunction with other religions,” she says, “then it becomes a kind of promotion of the majority faith. It becomes too hard for most folks to draw the line between teaching and preaching.” Americans United for Separation of Church and State also gets some space in the article: Some secularists are worried about who will teach the literacy classes. Joe Conn and Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have expressed a concern about how teachers willing to give the Bible secular treatment would be found, particularly in states where vast majorities are evangelical. They note that [Chuck] Stetson’s history sections are almost exclusively positive. “A textbook should offer objective study about both the positive and negative uses of the Bible,” Conn writes. “Where is the analysis of the role of the Bible in the Inquisition or the Salem witch trials?” They specifically question the tone of a final section, “Freedom and Faith in America,” which omits the high court’s school-secularization rulings and ends on a truly odd note: a Chinese social scientist attributing the “pre-eminence of the West” to the fact that the “heart of your culture is … your Christianity.” Unlike most of the book, this seems written by Stetson the true believer who took Colson’s Centurion program. Honestly, if the class is taught the way it’s supposed to be– from a secular point of view– I hope atheists enroll in it. It’s an opportunity to learn about the Bible, and no atheist should lack that knowledge. And it’s nice to have someone keeping an eye out on the teacher to make sure Christianity isn’t promoted. The Case for Teaching The Bible http://www.time.com/time/magazine/a...l?internalid=AOT_h_03-22-2007_the_case_for_te Miss Kendrick came ready, with props. The day's topic was the Gospel of Matthew. "You can divide all the Beatitudes into two parts," Jennifer Kendrick explained to her teenage audience. "The 'Blessed are the whatevers,' like 'the meek,' and then the reward they will get. So I've made some puzzle pieces here." She passed out construction-paper sheets, each bearing either the name of a virtuous group or its reward, in black marker. "And you've got to find the person who has the other half. What's the first one in the Bible?" "The poor in spirit," mumbled a crew-cut boy. "O.K. What goes with the poor in spirit?" A girl in the front of the room replied, reading from her sheet, "For they will see God." "Nope," chirped Kendrick. "O.K., find the person that matches yours. I'll take the roll." By which she meant an official attendance roll. Because the day was Thursday, not Sunday. And the location was not Oakwood Baptist Church, a mile down Texas State Highway 46, but New Braunfels High School, a public school that began offering a Bible-literacy class last fall. The class has its share of conservative Christians. Front-row center sat Rachel Williams, 18, whose mother does teach Sunday school at Oakwood. But not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn't outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. "Some of my friends are Christian," she said, shrugging, "and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I'm like, Okaaaay ... clueless." Williams signed up for a similar reason. "If somebody is going to carry on a sophisticated conversation with me, I would rather know what they're talking about than look like a moron or fight my way through it," she says. The class has "gotten a lot of positive feedback," she adds. "It's going to really rise in popularity." The same might be said about public-school courses on the Bible nationwide. There aren't that many. But they're rising in popularity. Last year Georgia became the first state in memory to offer funds for high school electives on the Old and New Testaments using the Bible as the core text. Similar funding was discussed in several other legislatures, although the initiatives did not become law. Meanwhile, two privately produced curriculums crafted specifically to pass church-state muster are competing for use in individual schools nationwide. Combined, they are employed in 460 districts in at least 37 states. The numbers are modest, but their publishers expect them to soar. The smaller of the two went into operation just last year but is already into its second 10,000-copy printing, has expressions of interest from a thousand new districts this year and expects many more. The larger publisher claims to be roughly doubling the number of districts it adds each year. These new curriculums plus polls suggesting that over 60% of Americans favor secular teaching about the Bible suggest that a Miss Kendrick may soon be talking about Matthew in a school near you. To some, this idea seems retrograde. Citing a series of Supreme Court decisions culminating in 1963's Abington Township School District v. Schempp, which removed prayer and devotion from the classroom, the skeptics ask whether it is safe to bring back the source of all that sectarianism. But a new, post-Schempp coalition insists it is essential to do so. It argues that teaching the Bible in schools--as an object of study, not God's received word--is eminently constitutional. The Bible so pervades Western culture, it says, that it's hard to call anyone educated who hasn't at least given thought to its key passages. Finally, it claims that the current civic climate makes it a "now more than ever" proposition. Says Stephen Prothero, chair of the Boston University religion department, whose new book, Religious Literacy (Harper SanFrancisco), presents a compelling argument for Bible-literacy courses: "In the late '70s, [students] knew nothing about religion, and it didn't matter. But then religion rushed into the public square. What purpose could it possibly serve for citizens to be ignorant of all that?" The "new consensus" for secular Bible study argues that knowledge of it is essential to being a full-fledged, well-rounded citizen. Let's examine that argument. Is it constitutional? TOWARD THE BEGINNING OF THE COURT'S string of school-secularization cases, the most eloquent language preserving the neutral study of religion was probably Justice Robert Jackson's concurring opinion in the 1948 case McCollum v. Board of Education: "One can hardly respect the system of education that would leave the student wholly ignorant of the currents of religious thought that move the world society for ... which he is being prepared," Jackson wrote, and warned that putting all references to God off limits would leave public education "in shreds." In the 1963 Schempp decision, the exemption for secular study of Scripture was explicit and in the majority opinion: "Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment," wrote Justice Tom C. Clark. Justice Arthur Goldberg contributed a helpful distinction between "the teaching of religion" (bad) and "teaching about religion" (good). Citing these and subsequent cases, Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, says, "It is beyond question that it is possible to teach a course about the Bible that is constitutional." For over a decade, he says, any legal challenges to school Bible courses have focused not on the general principle but on whether the course in question was sufficiently neutral in its approach. Why should I care? HERE IS ONE OF PROTHERO'S FAVORITE stories of Bible ignorance. In 1995 a federal appeals court upheld the overturn of a death sentence in a Colorado kidnap-rape-murder case because jurors had inappropriately brought in extraneous material--Bibles--for an unsanctioned discussion of the Exodus verse "an eye for eye, tooth for tooth ... whoever ... kills a man shall be put to death." The Christian group Focus on the Family complained, "It is a sad day when the Bible is banned from the jury room." Who's most at fault here? The jurors, who perhaps hadn't noticed that in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus rejects the eye-for-an-eye rule, word for word, in favor of turning the other cheek? The Focus spokesman, who may well have known of Jesus' repudiation of the old law but chose to ignore it? Or any liberal who didn't know enough to bring it up? More http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?...ble+in+public+school&form=QBRE&go.x=20&go.y=9 OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO "I AM a student of the King god Honorable Chief Osiris Akkebala, Hierophant Spiritualist, reincarnate King god Garveyite, First Way Institute Afrikan Mysticism Theology www.fwiamsrm.com and http//:myspace.com/osirisakkebala . I AM grateful for this SEER, who breaks the Bread of Truth and Reality, with our Divine Ancestors in the Chambers of the Divine in Divinity, allowing HIS mind to wander into the ABYSS of Infinity, comprehending what He hear and see in that Divine circle that reveals the Divine Truth, and that which is Divinely Real. A teacher who slice the Bread of Truth with us, and quenches our Thirst with Reality. A teacher who is lead and guided by the Law of the Universe and Nature, not mans concepts and ideas. A teacher whose messages cannot be found in no libraries, dictionaries, and GOOGLE searched. A teacher who teaches us how to BREAK THE CODE, To Know Thyself As Divine Soul. A teacher who shows and tells us what goes on behind the scenes of the human being mind. A teacher who not only have a memorization, but the remembrance of our once Divine way, and how we got where we are presently, and how we must get back to our Divine mind-set. A teacher who stays on the battlefield with the warriors asking one question from the breath next to the last breath. "Did My People Return To their Divine Minds yet?" I bow and salute the Truth He teaches, that I Am honored to be able to overstand, that allows me to live a Divine life, free from worshipping, praising and uplifting european other gods, that is not the Afrikan Blacks true gods. I Am free to be able to listen, recognize and honoring our Cosmic Ancestors, those that Will lead and guide us out of our wrong mind-set back into our right mind-set. That is what A true Divine leader does for the people. You know, when the ancestors take over you just can't stop them when they do something, seven year old goddess Autumn Ashante. I Am freer through King god Osiris teaching from the slavery/bondage of Faith, Hope, Belief, Bless...and the likes of. I greet all of you, Brothers and Sisters, with the open greeting and departure words in honor of our Ancient Cosmic Ethereally Divine Ancestors, as we who know our selves as Divine Souls-HOTEPH-The Honorable King god Chief Elder Osiris and Honorable Marcus Garvey.