Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What year is this again?

I found this gem while perusing www.fstdt.com:

Bible Distortion Bill defeated
By Nick Williams
Dist. 65 Representative
Legislative Report

I am glad to report to you that through a bi-partisan effort of Republicans and a few conservative Democrats we were able to defeat the "Bible Distortion Bill". Normally I would be all for this type of legislation, but this bill promoted a certain liberal textbook instead of promoting the Bible. As conservative legislators, we could not allow this terrible bill to pass. It would have had a very negative impact on our teenagers.

I’ll recap just a few of the reasons this was a bad bill:

For years Alabama has provided for an elective in Bible literacy under authorization of the State Board of Education consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Currently, there are public high schools in Alabama where the Bible is being taught. The curriculum already in place by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is a very sound curriculum that teaches the Bible and simply provides a workbook for the students to work out of.

The proposed textbook, The Bible and It’s Influence, also asks students such theological questions as "Do you think Adam and Eve received a fair deal, as described in Genesis?" Page 38. Is this a question you would like for your child to be asked? Personally, I would not. Another unbelievable question: "And if God allows evil things to happen, can God honestly be described as good? This puzzle remains essentially unsolved." Page 156.

Charles Haynes, who is one of the key spokespersons for the Bible Literacy Project, and also a contributor to the BLP textbook for students, "The Bible and It’s Influence", the textbook selected for this course, has said that the National Day of Prayer should be declared illegal and has authored a paper, "When the Government Prays, No One Wins." Along with Haynes, it has been reported that the ACLU, NEA, People for the American Way and the Council on Islamic Education are all supporters of this project. With groups like this supporting this book, you can understand why I do not support this project.

It is my belief that if we are going to teach the Bible, which I am very much in favor of, we should teach the Bible and not some textbook that talks about the Bible. By defeating this bill we are promoting true Bible literacy in Alabama.

Oh, Nick. Let me start by pointing out that I cannot take seriously any comments on education from a grown person who can't even get through a 400-word document without errors. Here is the amazon.com listing for this book you find so incredibly offensive, and while I haven't read it I am at least relieved to see that the incorrect apostrophe appears only in your version of the title, not the actual published one--you MORON. Also, is there a reason you (correctly) italicize the book's title in one instance and then (incorrectly) place it in quotation marks later?

But to address the content of your little statement. First, I am sorry to tell you that you clearly have no clue what a "Bible literacy" course is. You will be shocked to hear that it is NOT, in fact, a Sunday School class designed to perform an end run around the secular public school curriculum and present the Bible and Christian doctrine as factual. Such courses, in the hands of qualified, competent instructors, allow students to read Biblical literature as literature, to unpack its archetypes and discuss the way its symbols have appeared in literature since its publication, to identify its relationships to and reflections of the cultures in which it was created, to--cover your eyes now, Representative Williams--think critically about its content.

It is certainly not in any way an anti-Christian enterprise, but neither is it supposed to be pro-Christian. It is a literature class.

Now I know the idea of critical thinking burns, Representative, but consider for a moment, if you can stand it, the examples you pull from that shocking evil textbook:
"Do you think Adam and Eve received a fair deal, as described in Genesis?" Page 38. Is this a question you would like for your child to be asked? Personally, I would not.

Well, I feel sorry for your children, then, Sir, because you are raising them as drones rather than as thinkers. What is so terrifying about that question? More curiously, why are you so convinced you wouldn't like the answer? Perhaps because the human part of you that's left, the glimmer that has not yet become fully Borg, recognizes that children, on the receiving end of inscrutable (to them) parental disciplinary actions, are more likely to lean toward Adam and Eve's perspective than that of the bullying father-god? Or maybe you're worried that students might scrutinize the anti-intellectual blind obedience message most fundamentalists extract from that tale and come to different conclusions?

To continue:
Another unbelievable question: "And if God allows evil things to happen, can God honestly be described as good? This puzzle remains essentially unsolved." Page 156.

Apparently this conundrum does remain unsolved in the religious community, as I saw the exact issue addressed on the marquee of the fundamentalist church near my house just last month. The sign read: "Why does God let bad things happen?" or something similar. It's an important question, a crucial element of faith. So why do you deem it "unbelievable"? Again I ask you: Of what are you so afraid?


At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Bug said...

What a putz! I sometimes wonder what the hell caused people like that guy to be so incredibly idiotic. Sheesh.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Mike S said...


I think you know, just as well as the rest of us do, of what Rep. Williams is so afraid. He and people like him are afraid that if people question their faith, their faith will not be able to withstand the questioning.

Why else would it matter? A person's openness to questioning is a great litmus test for their security level with a given subject. For instance, my girlfriend can ask me whatever questions she wants after I've been out with my friends, and I will never tell her to shut up - because I know I've done nothing wrong, and nothing bad can come of the questioning.

Rep Williams, however, rightly recognizes that questioning faith leads to doubt - particularly in young people. It is a sign of his insecurity as a parent and a religious person that he cannot stand the tought of his religion being scrutinized.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Shell said...

Well said indeed, Mike. It is just so bizarre to me, as a parent, to find other parents out there who actually want to SUPPRESS their children's intellects.


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