There were three diaries posted on Aug 16th pertaining to "Texas required to teach Bible this year". Two announcing the issue and one different take by annetteboardman. While the diarist admits being uncomfortable with the idea in TX, a case is made via personal experience for some acceptance of this new ruling.
Not to take anything away from Annetteboardman, but as someone living in TX with school age children, I'm not just uncomfortable I'm deeply concerned. Like anything the theocrats do, (and I speak as someone VERY happy with her parochial education) this is not a final deal. It's a step in manipulating the situation, akin to renaming "Creationism" "Intelligent Design" for the final goal of removing evolution from the curriculum as a lie.
"Sin is encoded in our DNA from the Devil" is a direct quote from a Christian science textbook used in many Fundamentalist Christian schools in Texas. It is a part of the eighth grade life science section. This is the direction the self proclaimed Creationist Board of Ed members want to take our public schools.
If all they were interested in was to teach children the literary significance of books of the Bible then a course requiring comparative religious texts would have sufficed. Obviously, from the cultural perspective, more than half the class would have been devoted to the Bible's parables, stories and psalms that have worked their way into major literary works anyway. Not to mention it does make sense to enlighten students to the origin of phrasing and analogies such as "Prodigal son", Good Samaritan, "Two by two", "Land of milk and honey". Even if you don't believe in the Bible as a guide for your faith you'd have to admit knowledge of these phrases does lead to greater understanding culturally.
That said...This is Texas. This is not the land of unwavering religious freedom. This the place where you fight for freedom to make everyone else follow your brand of Christian beliefs (God help the Catholics)
So while the concept of a "Bible elective" may seem benign enough, when taken in context of the political and religious climate in Texas, a much more sinister direction is revealed.
TX SBOE former board chairman but still current member, Don McLeroy endorsed a book equating acceptance of evolution with atheism – making clear that his primary beef with evolution is based on religious beliefs.
But Johnson reserves his most vitriolic diatribes for fellow Christians who see no conflict between their faith and evolution.
The obvious problem here is that it is simply not possible to be a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word, and at the same time, embrace the tenets of atheistic evolution. (p. 54)
It gets worse, even devolving into name-calling, as when Johnson slanders the thousands of Christian clergy who have signed onto a statement rejecting a conflict between faith and evolution.
The Greek word translated as stupid is moron, where we get our word for a mentally dull and sluggish person. In my judgment, only morons—more than 11,500 morons in this case—could sign a letter maintaining that the "timeless truths of the Bible" are compatible with the billions of unpredictable aberrations of evo-atheism. What do these apostate morons celebrate at their Sunday services, the lies about humanity’s origins told by Moses, Jesus, and Paul? (p.57-58)
His reappointment as chair was blocked by Democrats (Thank God and FSM!) But Gov. Rick Perry Picked yet another known Creationist for the spot.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has chosen Gail Lowe, an outspoken creationist, to run the state's Board of Education....in 2008, she took the position that "biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution must be rejected by the board." She has voted against new textbooks that do not contain those "weaknesses." She is a newspaper editor, not a teacher
And while the state tries to maintain that this new legislation is merely an educational tool it is clear from the TX GOP's own 2008 party platform that they have consider only one world religious text as having any validity whatsoever in our American society.
The GOP Platform specifically supports
Traditional Values in Education: We support school subjects with emphasis on Judeo-Christian Principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America's legal, political and economic systems
Note the difference in the TX Democratic 2008 Platform:
We believe in freedom
...from government interference in our private lives and personal decisions
...to exercise civil and human rights
...of religion and individual conscience.
Lastly, adding the Bible and fighting for Intelligent Design in concert with science class are not the only fights going on in TX public schools. Diaried earlier this month ufw tells of the current movement of revisionist history for TX schoolkids.
Wall Street Journal 7/14/09: The Culture Wars' New Front: U.S. History Classes in Texas
Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.