Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Watchdog group attacks school Bible study

From USAToday:
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A religious watchdog group complained Monday that a Bible study course taught in hundreds of public schools in Texas and across the country promotes a fundamentalist Christian view and violates religious freedom.

The Texas Freedom Network, which includes clergy of several faiths, also said the course offered by the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is full of errors and dubious research.

That would apply to any course in the public school curriculumm.

The National Council on Bible Curriculum Web site says its elective course is offered in high schools and junior highs by more than 300 school districts in 37 states.

Operative word here: "elective". Meaning students can also elect not to take it. If this were a required course and communion wafers were being stuffed in the children's mouths, I might see TFN's point. I still wouldn't like them but I would agree with them.

Elizabeth Ridenour, president of the Bible class group, accused the Texas Freedom Network of censorship.

"They are actually quite fearful of academic freedom, and of local schools deciding for themselves what elective courses to offer their citizens," she said in a statement.

Well stated. The phrase "separation of Church and State" is not part of the first amendment nor is it found anywhere in the Constitution. The statement was first made in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in January 1, 1802. He was responding to a widespread rumor that the government was about to establish a rival denomination, the Congregationalists, as a national religion. Jefferson sought to reassure the people that they were not going to be subjected to the same religious tyranny that they had just fled from in England.

That liberal groups are now giving this letter the stature of a legal document and using it as justification to stamp out any public expression of Christian faith is absurd. That Federal courts are backing up their assertions is indefensible.