Bible thumping Democrats.

What’s next, Sadie Fields and Bobby Kahn holding hands at a joint press conference?

Senators Golden, Stoner and Reed have proposed the Bible be taught as an elective:

“This is not about teaching faith. Teaching faith is up to the parents, not the public schools,” said Golden, the lead sponsor. “But teaching Bible literacy is so important because … the impact of the Bible on literature, arts, music history and politics is woven into the very fabric of our society.”

Policy and legal experts say educators long have been confused about whether teaching the Bible in public schools violates the so-called separation of church and state. But they say bringing the holy book into the schoolhouse is perfectly legal.

“The law is absolutely clear,” said Michael Broyde, academic director of the law and religion program at Emory University. “You can teach it from a historical, social or anthropological perspective. You just can’t teach it as sacred text.”

Broyde said the true legal test comes in the motivation of those in front of the classroom, some of whom might be prone to proselytize their own beliefs.

Maggie Garrett, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, agreed.

I wonder how this will be received by rank and file Democrats, and will it pull some Republicans toward the Democrats?

18 comments

  1. I can’t speak for the rest of the “rank & file” Democrats, but check out some the reactions over at Blog for Democracy.

    I think it’s safe to assume that those liberals are pissed.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    Why should the government be teaching religion? This is nothing but pandering. We won’t hear much more about this.

  3. Jason Rizner says:

    It’s probably a fairly good political move on the Dems part – they’re thinking ahead. I’m sure it won’t go anywhere, but when campaign time rolls around, the Dems will claim that the GOP was opposed to teaching the Bible in public schools – a clever attempt by the Dems to distance themselves from the national party and to look more conservative.

  4. Tommy_a2b says:

    I aggree with J Rizner, for this reason we (the Republican Majority) should support this bill and put them to the test. Similar bills have been pushed by Republicans in the 90’s when in the minority and always got shot down. I am not for government teaching religion but if you can study the Bible in public college why not in high school?

  5. I applaud this middle ground. I think most Georgians are tired of extremes who say (for example) on one side “We must post the 10 commandments in every courthouse in the state because we are a Christian nation” and on the other side say “No government entity can dispaly anything religious at all.”

    Regardless of whether you believe in the Bible, 10 Commandments, whatever, how could you be opposed to objective study and debate. If you don’t believe in the Bible, you might as well have a good understanding of what is still a pretty fascinating historical text. If you do, you’re faith is probably reaffirmed and strengthened the more you learn.

    Imagine how many problems this country could solve if we could just approach them with an open mind, allowing equal time for the true believers on all sides and the undecided to study the issues and formulate solutions that actually work.

  6. I’d also like to point out that a lot of disingenous Republicans are interested AND active in keeping certain falsehoods alive and well in the public’s mind, namely that Democrats are mostly anti-religous or that they don’t like religious people or respect religious institutions.

    Well the Republicans that further these perceptions and myths should know better. If the Democrats are finally getting back at them and making them look bad in the process, well doesn’t some book say something about reaping what you sow 🙂

  7. Decaturguy says:

    Don’t you think that this opens the door, Chris, to mandating the teaching of the Koran and the texts of other religions in public schools? Certainly you cannot think that the government can just pick the text of one religion (the Judeo-Christian Bible – are we talking old or new testiment here?) and teach its study over the text of other religions … that would be the most basic of First Amendment violations, I think.

  8. Well we aren’t mandating the teaching of the bible, so while it might open the door to offering an elective course in the koran, no I do not think that it would mandate that.

    Besides, what religion are we picking — would it be “Christianity”, one of the many Christian denominations, Judiasm (afterall they believe in the old testament) or even Islam, which considers none other than Jesus a prophet, just not the son of God.

  9. delchino says:

    No one is suggesting that any religious texts be mandated to be taught; the simplicity of offering it as an elective is the beauty of the proposal. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer the Koran as an elective as well. It is well-written and contains many of the same concepts found in the Bible.

  10. GAWire says:

    >>”””Why should the government be teaching religion?”””

    Just to play the other side of this here … why should the government be teaching evolution? We can ask this same question about a lot of “social issues” that public schools address, and the most likely answer is that learning these things in school is teaching students aspects of life – social, sociological, theological, etc. It sounds like that is the argument these legislators are trying to make to defend teaching the Bible in school.

    As for my personal stance – I don’t want to have to explain why I didn’t support learning/teaching the Bible every chance we got.

  11. Melb says:

    I think it is a great idea, when students go to college they aren’t afforded the liberty of ignoring the biblical overtones in history, art, literature, etc. so why should we stop an elective class that is not mandatory in high school? If someone wants to learn the option is there, if not then take another class.

  12. HeartofGa says:

    I thought that teaching the Bible as literature (or any other book as literature) was currently within the bounds of what was allowed, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I have no problem with that concept, but I am concerned about the difference in what is proposed and what might actually happen in those classrooms. I think that in the hands of the wrong teacher this opens the door to evangelism, and that’s not good in the school setting. And I’m not clear that I think the average teacher is a theologian. I agree with Erick- go to church. Take your kids to church.

  13. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Governor is touting the Idea. LOL. What a scenario, they put it forth to change their image, and the GOP takes credit for passing it and signing it into law. 🙂

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