Gotta love this. The Leg, not satisfied with simply raping the Texas State pledge and making her say god during newly mandatory daily pledge recitations (god twice, if you count the mandatory federal pledge recitations. Could be even three times if you choose to pray during your mandatory moment of silence. I don’t like pledging, in case you hadn’t heard) has also decided that Texas students need more indoctrination into the already pervasive christian religion; so they have passed a law that all but mandates bible school classes be offered in Texas public high schools.
Board members approved the new class, which will be in some high schools this fall, even though officials are awaiting an opinion from the attorney general on whether the state law authorizing the course requires all school districts to offer it.
The board adopted general guidelines for the course on a 10-5 vote, disregarding the advice of several members of the House Public Education Committee who urged approval of more specific requirements to head off the possibility of constitutional violations and lawsuits.
“It’s better for us to go ahead and do something now,” said board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. “We have met the requirements of the legislation. We don’t want to stifle what they [school districts] are doing in classrooms.”
Attorney General Greg Abbott has told the board that although the state standards for the Bible class appear to be in compliance with the First Amendment, his office can’t guarantee that the courses taught in high schools will be constitutional because they haven’t been reviewed.
Critics contend that the standards – based on old guidelines for independent studies in English and social studies – are so vague and general that many schools might unknowingly create unconstitutional Bible classes that either promote the religious views of teachers or disparage the religious beliefs of some students.
Earlier this year, the Ector County school board agreed to quit using a Bible course curriculum at two high schools in Odessa that the American Civil Liberties Union said promoted Protestant religious beliefs not shared by Jews, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and many Protestants.
However, state board members supporting the Bible course rule adopted Friday said such lawsuits are rare and should not be a problem for most school districts.
Board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, who voted against the proposal, said teachers of the course would be given far less direction from the state than they receive in most other subjects.
“We need to do more work on this instead of jumping off into the abyss,” she said.
The course is supposed to be geared to academic, nondevotional study of the Bible, and cover such things as the influence of the New Testament on law, literature, history and culture.
So, we in Texas can look forward to turning out students who erroneously think that murder is illegal because the Ten Commandments say you shouldn’t do it. How long before they start teaching a nondevotional course on the Qur’an or the Talmud? Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? I wouldn’t hold my breath.
For me, the solution is simple. Take the Bible Class Challenge.
If the schools know that they are going to face hostile students in these classes, very few of them will want to offer them in the first place. If the schools offer the classes, and don’t respect the contrary opinions, they can be shut down through lawsuits. It’s an expense we the taxpayers should not have to face, but then we elected these idiots to do this to us, apparently.