ICC Note: Across the United States debate and legal battles over the place of faith in public institutions is taking place. Recently, an Oklahoma school board decided to drop plans for an elective course studying the Bible after an atheist organization and a church-state separation group put pressure on the school. The board dropped the class even though over a hundred students had indicated an interest in taking it and many had already enrolled. The incident is indicative of a broader hostility towards any display or teaching of faith on public campuses in the U.S.
12/2/2014 United States (Christian News) – An Oklahoma school board has dropped its plans to offer an elective Bible course proposed by the president of the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby following objection from a self-proclaimed atheist organization and a church-state separation group.
As previously reported, the Mustang School Board had agreed in April to move forward with the “Museum of the Bible” curriculum presented by Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby and overseer of the traveling Bible exhibit “Passages.” Green had introduced the course to the school board last fall, explaining to those present that he would like to offer an introductory course on “the Old and New Testament’s impact on society.”
He had been invited by Mustang School District Superintendent Sean McDaniel to speak about the proposed class for Mustang High School, and 170 students selected the course as their first choice for an elective when polled about the matter.
But the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) took issue with the course, stating that it was unconstitutional.
“The materials show a clear Christian bias, treat the Bible as historically accurate and true in all respects and make theological claims,” FFRF wrote to the district earlier this year.
It asserted that the course was “bias” because it cited God’s pleasant attributes, such as “faithful and good,” “gracious and compassionate,” “ever-present help in times of trouble” and “righteous judge,” but not those that the organization deemed unpleasant. FFRF also disliked a sentence in the curriculum that read, “[W]e can conclude that the Bible, especially when viewed alongside other historical information, is a reliable historical source.”
“Clearly, Hobby Lobby and the Greens are trying to convert children to their particular brand of Christianity,” said attorney Andrew Seidel. “There is nothing scholarly, fair or balanced about the curriculum.”