Chancey Rips New Hobby Lobby Bible Curriculum

The new Bible curriculum developed with money from the owner of Hobby Lobby has already been adopted in one school system in Oklahoma and is sure to spread. But like earlier curricula of this type it is little more than a Sunday School program. Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor, did a full evaluation of the curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network.

The first independent review by a biblical scholar raises serious concerns about a new curriculum that promoters – particularly Hobby Lobby President Steve Green – hope will combat what they see as ignorance about the Bible among public school students.

“This is a classic example of preaching religious beliefs in the guise of promoting religious literacy,” said Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who reviewed the partial and preliminary curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. “It’s hard to imagine this curriculum, with its sectarian elements, errors and oddities, was put together by dozens of scholars as claimed.”

Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Green, is publishing the curriculum, The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact. Public schools in Mustang, near Oklahoma City, plan to teach a pilot version this fall.

Chancey’s review reveals that the new curriculum suggests the Bible is literally and historically accurate, promotes faith claims as fact, and advances a sectarian view of the Bible generally favored by fundamentalist Protestants but not people from other faith traditions. All of those issues raise serious constitutional concerns about the curriculum’s use in public schools, he writes.

Moreover, factual errors and idiosyncrasies in the curriculum betray a seriously flawed knowledge of the subject that fails to align with established, mainstream scholarship on the Bible. For example, the curriculum treats Adam and Eve as actual historical figures, suggests that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity provides evidence for the Creation told in Genesis, and bizarrely compares the Book of Exodus to the infamously racist, KKK-glorifying film The Birth of a Nation.

All of this was quite predictable, of course. Speaking to a Christian audience, Steve Green said:

That is what our goal would be, so that we can have reintroduced this book to this nation. This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught. There is (sic) lessons from 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 gonna be very scary. So we need to be able to teach and educate students.

His goal from the start was to proselytize, not to educate. You can read the full report here.

"Yep. Principally raking in a nice fat paycheck for hauling the party line."

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  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The new Bible curriculum developed with money from the owner of Hobby Lobby has already been adopted in one school system in Oklahoma and is sure to spread.

    Is it eh?

    You mean spread like ebola or leprosy – or kuru?

  • colnago80

    Re StevoR @ #1

    Or AIDS.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Paging Judge Jones. Judge Jones to the courtesy phone, please.

  • blf

    “It’s hard to imagine this curriculum … was put together by dozens of scholars as claimed.”

    No, no, not “scholars”. Colors. As in crayon.

  • http://www.clanfield.net janiceintoronto

    Best thing about Oklahoma was seeing it in my rear view mirror for the last time.

  • raven

    It’s not even a xian program.

    It’s the Oogedy Boogedy fundie xian perversion version. Primitive superstition. Sectarian.

    The majority of the world’s xians probably wouldn’t agree with it.

    PS: I still can’t see that this is legal, elective or not. Sectarian indoctrination in public schools? No way. And as vaguely humanoid toad Steve Green makes clear, it isn’t to educate but to indoctrinate a cult version of xianity.

  • CJO

    Given that a curriculum that actually reflected the last century of Biblical scholarship would pretty much debunk literalism, I’m not in the least surprised. And I find it curious that they’re apparently claiming it was developed by “dozens of scholars” according to the reviewer. This stuff is going to come out; they ought to know that they won’t be able to pass off the vague lie forever. I sense a “cdesign propententists” moment approaching.

  • raven

    SMU scholar:

    Moreover, factual errors and idiosyncrasies in the curriculum betray a seriously flawed knowledge of the subject that fails to align with established, mainstream scholarship on the Bible.

    This is a feature, not a bug.

    Toad Green:

    There is (sic) lessons from the past that we can learn from the dangers of ignorance of this book.

    There is an important lesson here but one that sailed right over Green’s tiny head.

    The horrors of religion. The Dark ages, the Inquisition, the US Civil War and slavery, the Reformation Wars, xian terrorism, the atrocities in modern day Ireland by the RCC. Plus the New Dark Age of Islam which is holding much of the rest of the world back. There are 6 or 7 wars going on right now with a religious component.

    You don’t need an elective course for this. All you need to know:

    Hitchens Rule: Religion poisons everything!!!

  • rabbitscribe

    Sort of disappointing. There’s some solid legal theory, but I’m not sure why a bible scholar needed to write it. He keeps dropping lines like, “Most biblical scholars will be surprised at the idiosyncratic and often simply erroneous ways familiar archaeological discoveries such as the Merneptah Stele, the Amarna letters, the Tel Dan inscription, and the Taylor Prism are characterized.” OK, but he’s qualified to unpack all of that. I wish he’d just done so and let a lawyer explain why the sectarian bias may not be taught in public schools. Also, he quotes Green extensively to demonstrate his agenda. None of that matters: Green can personally favor sacrificing maidens to volcanoes; he’s still entitled to produce a curriculum… as long as it itself doesn’t advance that belief.

  • raven

    And I find it curious that they’re apparently claiming it was developed by “dozens of scholars” according to the reviewer….

    They have their own definitions for words, seeing as how Orwell is one of their saints.

    By scholars they mean Presuppositionalist fundie xians. Guys like WL Craig, Strobel, McDowell, Plantinga, and many others. They aren’t really scholars. They are apologists, warping reality and truth in service to a weird sectarian version of xianity.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    MOCK ALL YOU WANT LIBERALS BUT SINCE THIS HAS BEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT SCHOOL SYSTEM SINCE WAY BACK IN 2014 THE SUPREME COURT WILL UPHOLD ITS CONSTITUTIONALITY BECAUSE ITS TRADITION!!!

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Given the collective short term memory of our population, Modus, you may be prophetic….

    Unfortunately, they won’t remember to give you credit either.

  • A Hermit

    “There is lessons from the past that we can learn from the dangers of ignorance of this book.”

    Why do I hear Sarah Palin’s voice when I read that line?

  • steve78b

    Mustang and the rest of the Oklahoma schools cannot afford to take a giant step backward that this course seems to be. This will not help the state at all. Teachers have their hands full teaching REAL courses. To pile this on anyone is cruel.

    Steve in OK……..

  • D. C. Sessions

    Steve, are you saying that including Christian indoctrination into the curriculum is going to reduce the amount that schools do to teach subjects like science, mathematics, history, civics, and other unGodly subjects that might give children a chance to make a good living elsewhere and away from the loving embrace of the Church?

  • Numenaster

    Why do I hear Sarah Palin’s voice when I read that line?

    Because she failed verb conjugation too.

  • steve78b

    D.C. —– I think you hit the nail on the head.

    In my humble opinion they should teach…… facts and real skills like thinking.

    I realize that with all the religious persecution you can’t find a church or bible anywhere so I guess they need to teach Gawd stuff in schools. Only place anyone can hear the WERD OF GAWD. Intrusion of religion into everything makes me sick.

    I need more bourbon to live here.

    Steve in OK….. about 80 miles south of Mustang.

  • dingojack

    A Hermit – Seems to me that ‘English-speaking’ Fundies only speak English as a second language at best.

    Dingo

  • freehand

    CJO: This stuff is going to come out; they ought to know that they won’t be able to pass off the vague lie forever.

    .

    Yeah, well, like the Tea Party politicians, they are so used to a constituency that never checks claims, not even for their political opponents*, that they have fallen out of the habit of thinking of those consequences.

    .

    * They don’t need to; those claim are wrong because they’re made by Liberals. Duh!