Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Watchdog Group Attacks School Bible Study

From the AJC:

AUSTIN, Texas — A religious watchdog group complained Monday that a Bible study course taught in hundreds of public schools in Texas and across the country promotes a fundamentalist Christian view and violates religious freedom.

The Texas Freedom Network, which includes clergy of several faiths, also said the course offered by the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is full of errors and dubious research.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said her group looked at the course after the Odessa school board voted in April to offer the class. It asked Southern Methodist University biblical scholar Mark A. Chancey to review the curriculum.

Chancey's review found that the course characterizes the Bible as inspired by God, that discussions of science are based on the biblical account of creation, that Jesus is referred to as fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, and that archaeological findings are erroneously used to support claims of the Bible's historical accuracy. He said the course also suggests the Bible, instead of the Constitution, be considered the nation's founding document.

"No public school student should have to have a particular religious belief forced upon them," the Rev. Ragan Courtney, pastor of The Sanctuary, a Baptist congregation in Austin, said at a news conference held by Texas Freedom Network.
Okay, here are the real issues. First, this course is an elective, not mandatory. Second, from my viewpoint, the class isn't promoting a fundamentalist viewpoint, but teaching fundamentals of the Bible. The word, 'fundamentalist' and 'fundamental' have two different meanings. Third, from the Rev. Courtney's quote, this isn't forced on a student, so get over it. And fourth, and most important, is the findings from Mark Chancey.

Mr. Chancey, do you or do you not believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God? If not, do you truly believe man alone wrote it? If so, you need to go back to seminary.

Mr. Chancey, God created science. God created man. You seem to have a problem with this fact. I tell you what...if you can factually prove to me that mankind arrived here via a single-cell protozoa from a swamp, then more power to you.

Mr. Chancey, Jesus did fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Check it out yourself. Ever heard of Isaiah? More importantly, Jesus was the Son of God and God in the flesh. But I guess that went over your head too.

Mr. Chancey, as proven time and time again, archaeological findings have proven both the flood account and the burning of Sodom and Gemorrah. Maybe your glasses need adjusting.

Lastly, I attend a moderate seminary so don't accuse me of being a fundamentalist. Even a moderate seminary teaches the facts of God's Word. But, I guess you elected to miss those classes in school.

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