The Bible's history and literature will be required to be taught in public schools in Texas under a new law that has been clarified by the state attorney general to mean exactly what it says.

It is another article from WorldNutsDaily but 30 seconds of Google was sufficient for fact checking. The classes will only be offered if there is enough student demand for such (likely won't be a problem there) but I haven't seen anything detailing how teachers will be chosen.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars has a pretty good thread on this.

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I remember that in my school growing up some students were permitted to attend some off-campus religious instruction and receive elective credit for it. Although to be fair, no tax dollars were funding these classes, so I find this situation more appropriate than what Texas intends to do.

I believe that giving any form of school credit for a religious course other than one for comparative world religions only serves to narrow the worldview of our students. However, as long as science (including evolution, cosmology, etc..) is a requirement to graduate and this bible study is an optional elective I guess i can accept the compromise, of course as long as they 'teach the controversy" when it comes to the accuracy of the bible, I suggest Dr. Bart Ehrman write the curriculum..
I had a course in high school called "comparative religions". The name is misleading, if not stupid, as the class was about studying the worlds major religions to gain an understanding of them. Aside from smaller sects and cults the major faiths were given equal time and exposure as much as possible. Each study involved going to that faiths temple or house of worship, speaking with some higher up member within that group and an overview of the belief system.

It was a two-semester elective with a fairly heavy requirement of previous courses (heavy for a high school course anyway) thus weeding out those that might take it assuming an easy grade. Debate, while not discouraged, happened very rarely and everyone in the class was glad they'd taken it in the end. There were no tests or homework assignments being as the instructor didn't feel it was necessary. Grading (which was only pass/fail, no letter grades) was based on participation, his general observations and looking over whatever notes we kept. My notes were usually doodles or impromptu comic strips featuring the topic at hand and I managed a pass.

It likely worked as well as it did because of the area and the general temperament of peoples around these parts but I do think, if religion is to be in public schools at all, this format is a great way to go about it.
I took a course in comparative religion at a small Catholic college in the late '70s. It was fantastic! It was taught by a nun, whom I suspect was quite agnostic and a bit of a closet Buddhist. She was energetic and loved the subject. It's one of the few classes I remember well from that era. It can be done well, even with teachers from religious backgrounds.

I also took The Bible As Literature. The only thing I remember about the class was that the prof spent a long time on the misogynistic tendencies of Paul.

I can't imagine that being done today. A Christian in the classroom would surely have a canary at any bit of criticism.

Unfortunately, in today's theocratic leaning society, I have no doubt that it would not be done well, especially at the HS level, and certainly not in the less populated areas of Texas.




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