According to the Religion News Service, the “Museum of the Bible Curriculum” created by Hobby Lobby’s President Steve Green (pictured above) will be beta-tested in Oklahoma’s Mustang Public School district beginning in the Fall of 2014.
Green hopes the program — which will be overseen by Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative — will be placed in “hundreds” of high schools by 2016, and “thousands” by 2017. It is a four-year elective course in which students will study the narrative, history, and impact of the Bible on Western Civilization. Because the book is being taught within an academic purview, it does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Abington School District v. Schempp.
“Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible,” the Court decided, “when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”
In the speech, Green refers to the Bible as a “reliable historical document” that’s had a “great impact on the world,” but that people don’t understand that impact. “It’s our job to point that out,” Green said, “to show that whether it be our government, education, science, art, literature, family, on and on in every area of our life.”
“The goal is to show that the impact of this book, when we apply it to our lives, has been good, because it has. So it’s good, and it’s true,” Green said, before moving on to discuss the other section of the curriculum, which would be “the story of the Bible.”
“We’re as ignorant [as] we’ve ever been, would be my argument,” Green said, “because we aren’t teaching it in our schools.”
“That would be the goal,” he continued, “to reintroduce this book to this nation, because it is in danger, because of its ignorance, of what God has taught. There is [sic] lessons of the past that we can learn from the dangers of ignorance of this book. We need to know it, and if we don’t know it, our future is going to be very scary.”
“Some day,” he said, teaching the Bible in high school “should be mandated. Here’s a book that’s impacted our world unlike any other and you’re not going to teach it?”
When asked about Green’s statements, Pattengale would only say that “[t]he curriculum may or may not espouse those views. The last people [Green] wanted to hire were scholars who would embellish the facts to support his religious position.”
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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