[Vision2020] Boise Man Seeks to Put Bible Education in Idaho Schools

Joe Campbell philosopher.joe at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 07:30:05 PDT 2009

Great post, Sue! Maybe I should start a petition to teach logic in  
grade school. I'd have less of a problem with folks taking a Bible  
course as an "elective" if they had to take logic along with it.

Joe Campbell

On Jun 22, 2009, at 10:37 PM, "Sue Hovey" <suehovey at moscow.com> wrote:

> Great idea.  I'll teach it.  I had a  high school Bible class  
> once...It was
> taught by a wonderful man, our Southern Baptist pastor, and I hung  
> on every
> word he said. I recall he told the one Catholic in the class he  
> didn't have
> to believe everything in the lectures, but he needed to take notes  
> so he
> could give the correct answers on the quizzes.   Then I went off to  
> Baylor
> University and learned a lot more about the Bible (King James version,
> naturally)--especially the New Testament. I know for a fact that Jesus
> didn't turn water into the drink we know as wine--it was more like  
> Kool Aid.
> (Remember, we didn't dance at Baylor either.)   I'd have a bit of  
> problem
> teaching the Bible as "the greatest book ever written," as I've read  
> quite a
> few books with considerably more literary merit--(I'm thinking  
> Huckleberry
> Finn.)  It couldn't be taught as fiction--that would antagonize
> fundamentalists, or as history--historians would bring suit, or as  
> science
> (well maybe in Idaho).  And in high school I'd probably decide not  
> to deal
> with Song of Solomon, or the admonition to burn witches (high school
> students sometimes have a bit of trouble with inference:  "if  
> witches tend
> to be female, then females tend to be teachers, therefore teachers  
> tend to
> be witches--we'll use the homecoming bonfire."
> Even with my credentials, fundamentalist parents would consider me  
> not a
> good choice. They would be correct.   And of course we couldn't have a
> Jewish teacher--no New Testament; or an athiest or agnostic, or even a
> deist--not religious enough.  An LDS?  Heavens, they'd probably use  
> the Book
> of Mormon as a supplemental text.  A Jehovah's Witness--thank goodness
> they'd refuse, but they'd want to distribute their literature.  Not a
> Unitarian either, everyone just knows they don't have a good handle on
> belief.  Even the  KKK, when they burned crosses in the South, planted
> question marks ? in the yards of Unitarians.
> Seriously,  even as an elective course, an appropriate and  
> historically
> accurate teaching of the Bible as literature would be impossible.   
> Perhaps
> it caused limited damage in my little homogeneous hometown of  50  
> years ago,
> but even though we had a wonderful, compassionate, intelligent  
> teacher, he
> was unable to distance himself from doctrine.  And he would have  
> faulted
> himself as a minister had he done so.  I think a serious, intelligent
> teacher would be equally incapable of designing a curriculum which  
> would be
> inoffensive to the students who might elect that high school class.   
> And if
> it were, I doubt it would be worth the students' time.
> When you are offered the chance to sign that petition, think about  
> it, and
> then refuse.
> Sue Hovey
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Hansen" <thansen at moscow.com>
> To: "Moscow Vision 2020" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
> Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 8:21 AM
> Subject: [Vision2020] Boise Man Seeks to Put Bible Education in Idaho
> Schools
>> Courtesy of today's (June 22, 2009) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
>> ----------------------------------------------------
>> Boise man seeks to put Bible education in Idaho schools
>> Petition supports ballot initiative allowing non-sectarian study of  
>> the
>> Bible
>> By Halley Griffin, Daily News staff writer
>> Chuck Seldon is a man on a mission.
>> The Boise resident is working hard to bring Bible study back to  
>> public
>> schools in Idaho, in the form of elective history or literature  
>> classes.
>> "We have a year and a half to get 51,000 signatures, and then it  
>> goes on
>> the ballot and we've got the Bible back into the public schools,"  
>> said
>> Seldon, 77, a retired educator and founder of Our Godly American  
>> Heritage,
>> a group working to bring Bible curriculum back into public schools.
>> He must gather at least 51,000 signatures from registered Idaho  
>> voters to
>> get the initiative on the 2010 general election ballot.
>> The initiative would add a section of Idaho Code authorizing school  
>> boards
>> to offer an elective Bible course in public secondary schools.
>> The proposed statute reads, "Recognizing that the United States  
>> Supreme
>> Court declared in Abington v. Schempp (1963) that '(t)he Bible is  
>> worth of
>> study for its literary and historic qualities' and that 'such study  
>> of the
>> Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as a part of a  
>> secular
>> program of education' is consistent with the First Amendment of the  
>> United
>> States Constitution, it shall be lawful for any local school board in
>> Idaho to allow for elective Bible course curricula to be approved and
>> offered in its public secondary schools."
>> The Idaho Constitution states that "no sectarian or religious  
>> tenets or
>> doctrines shall ever be taught in the public schools," but Seldon  
>> says the
>> proposed statute forbids the endorsement of sectarian or  
>> denominational
>> doctrine in the elective classes.
>> Seldon and his wife "left the public schools in 1973 because we  
>> didn't
>> like the direction they were going, and so we started setting up  
>> Christian
>> schools around the world," he said.
>> Seldon said he first heard of the National Council on Bible  
>> Curriculum in
>> Public Schools, another group pushing for Bible curriculum in public
>> schools, when he moved to Idaho to retire.
>> The group's Web site claims its Bible curriculum has been voted  
>> into 487
>> school districts in 38 states to date.
>> Seldon said he got very excited when he learned about the project and
>> decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the cause.
>> "There's hope for our public schools. The greatest book ever  
>> written, and
>> it's not in the public schools? It's amazing," he said.
>> University of Idaho student Kate Carlson said she supports Seldon's
>> project, and would willingly add her signature to the petition.
>> "I am Christian and I fully believe in religious education," she  
>> said.
>> "And not making people do it, but giving them the option. I  
>> definitely
>> think it would be a good thing."
>> Moscow resident Sharon Andres agreed.
>> "I think that would be great," she said. "They throw everything  
>> else at
>> the kids."
>> ----------------------------------------------------
>> Comments?
>> Tom Hansen
>> Moscow, Idaho
>> "The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to  
>> change
>> and the Realist adjusts his sails."
>> - Unknown
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> =======================================================
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