It’s part of my job description to be a watchdog, but we watchdogs have to sort of triage the threats and make smart determinations as to which threats deserve the most attention.
Here’s one I’m more than happy to delegate to someone else, and focus all my alertness elsewhere. I refer you to a letter on today’s editorial page:
Keep eye on Bible as Literature class
The “Bible as Literature” class being taught at Batesburg-Leesville High School is no doubt an excellent resource for students to learn about a book that informs so much of our Western culture, literature and history. I applaud Rev. Teddy Higgins’ method of separating the study of literature and culture from religious indoctrination. However, parents and citizens must be aware of the source of the curriculum.
Your article stated, “The class uses a curriculum created by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a group that aims to make state-certified Bible electives the norm nationwide.” The NCBCPS states that it is in cooperation with the American Family Association and the Center For Reclaiming America For Christ. People For The American Way lists the American Family Association in its “Right Wing Watch.”
Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, founder of the Center For Reclaiming America For Christ, makes this scary statement: “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors — in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.”
President Elizabeth Ridenour states that she is a member of the Council For National Policy, founded by Left Behind series author Tim LaHaye. The New York Times has described it is a “little-known group of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country,” that meets behind closed doors at undisclosed locations. Membership is by invitation only, and is kept secret. The NCBCPS Web site further lists endorsements by numerous ultra-conservative individuals and organizations. Many of them want to move children from public to Christian schools and actively work for an American theocracy.
Our Founding Fathers and mothers were clear in their intent to establish separation of church and state because they had seen the horrors of state religion and theocracy in Europe.
Perhaps in the near future students will also have the options of studying the timeless Bhagavad-Gita, the beautiful poetry of the Sufis, our great American Theosophical heritage, or the ancient Hermetica, which strongly influenced great leaders, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas More, Leonardo da Vinci and Milton. Until then, I will be watching Bible As Literature classes carefully.
HOLLI S. EMORE
You go right ahead and do that, Holli. I can assure you that I won’t be sitting up nights worrying about it. One of the reasons I don’t worry about civil liberties in the United States is that I know there are so many people out there — possibly constituting a majority of my fellow citizens — WAY more concerned about them than I am. They are inclined to whoop and holler bloody murder over the slightest suggestion that anyone, anywhere, might be about to contemplate tiptoeing within a light year of a slippery slope. It’s an extremely efficient warning system, as this letter confirms, and I have complete confidence in it.
Take note, I am in NO way suggesting that Ms. Emore’s is an extreme view. It’s fairly close to the mainstream. That’s why I don’t have to worry. If her attention wanders, there are plenty of others who will be watching with all their might, with one hand poised to break the glass on the alarm.
But as for their studying the Bhagavad-Gita in the "near future," don’t hold your breath. One of the main points of studying the Bible is, as you say, "a book that informs so much of our Western culture, literature and history." That’s why you are willing to accept the idea.
What on Earth would be the excuse for their studying something as esoteric as the Bhagavad-Gita? Sure, it’s educational, but as a relevant priority I’d put it somewhere behind their mastering neo-Boulean math, or brain surgery, or early German literature.