66 books and all that: Texas schools teaching ‘memorable’ Bible lessons

The separation of church and state is necessary to protect the state and to protect the church. The “Bible” classes in Texas public schools seem to be doing grave harm to both.

And it’s not doing Texas students any favors either.

What’s being taught in these Bible classes has about as much to do with the actual Bible as 1066 and All That has to do with actual history.

I mean that precisely.

The comic conceit of Sellar and Yeatman’s classic garbling of “memorable” British history is that it’s not a history book, but rather an anthology of what people who weren’t really paying attention in school might incorrectly half-remember from history class. It’s full of mistakes, misapprehensions and mondegreens — not history itself, but what people who know a very little bit about history assume or guess might be true. It’s history dimly recalled and then embellished and rewritten by people trying to bluff their way into appearing to be experts.

That’s exactly the sort of thing they’re teaching in Texas schools about the Bible.

Quite possibly because that’s also the sort of thing they’re teaching in Texas churches about the Bible.

Adam Laats has some examples:

In the Dalhart Independent School District, for example, one student information sheet included the following information: “Since God is perfect and infallible, an inspired book is absolutely infallible and errorless in its facts and doctrines as presented in the original manuscript” (pg. 28).

In the Bible courses of Lazbuddie, Texas, students will read the following: “We should have an understanding of what happened in Noah’s day if we are to know when the coming of our Lord is near. What are the similarities between the days of Noah and the days preceding the coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:37-39)?” (pg. 32).

In Dayton schools, students watch the Left Behind movie, fundamentalist author Tim LaHaye’s dramatization of the rapture and final days (pg. 19).

Yes, Left Behind as textbook.

* * * * * * * * *

• A post at Patrol carries the headline “Charles Taylor and the Politics of Secularism.” I read that and thought that Charles Taylor’s rule in Liberia makes a very good case for keeping politics secular. But it turns out the post is about a different Charles Taylor.

• Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., doesn’t seem to like the term “atheist,” but she’s “religiously unaffiliated.” She was sworn into office not on a Bible, but on a copy of the Constitution.

It shows how dismally un-Baptist we Baptists have become that this isn’t the standard practice for all of the many Baptist members of Congress. (Particularly since, as James McGrath recently noted, swearing on a Bible means taking an oath on a book that forbids oath-taking.)

• Jackson County (Ky.) Sheriff Denny Peyman says interpretation is for the wicked:

“If you take out part — it’s kind of like the Bible — either you believe it or you don’t believe it,” he insisted. “The Constitution, either you believe it or you don’t. Either you live by it or you don’t.”

Peyman assumes that anybody who doesn’t understand the Constitution or the Bible exactly as he does cannot be interpreting it differently — because he “believes” that neither needs to be interpreted. So anyone who disagrees with him about the Constitution or the Bible must not “believe” in them.

This is why Denny Peyman should not be trusted to read the Constitution, or the Bible. Or even a phone book.

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  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    Al Abama, huh? Sounds awfully *muslim* to me.

    Shouldn’t that be “al-Obama”?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    “an inspired book is absolutely infallible and errorless in its facts and doctrines as presented in the original manuscript”

    Wait, they have an original ms. of the Bible in Texas? I think we’d all like to see that.

    In Kynge Jaymes Englyshe, of course.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    There were other printed materials to the same effect: “give up your odd
    religion and adopt a reasonable one like even some of us profess.”

    Last time I got browbeaten by “rational and reasonable”, it was an intellectual snob gushing over Total Extermination Thermonuclear Warfare (cobalt casings on surface-burst warheads, Satan Bug bioweapons in the second strike, etc.)  All “Rational and Reasonable”. 

  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    Flat-earth and creationism (especially YEC) are pretty damn
    close to each other in terms of denying reality.  The only difference is
    that for some reason one is recognized as  complete bollocs and the
    other is used as a condition of in-group membership.

    Worse than that, O Man who Would be Wednesday.

    The current Flat Earth Society is the remnant of a Victorian movement called “Zetetic Astronomy”, which taught The Earth is Flat as a Defense of the Faith (and the Truth of the Bible) against Godless Atheistic Science, backed up with chapter-and-verse proof texts all the way.  Put a funhouse mirror up to the Zetetics and you see Creation Science — same Faith Faith Faith, same literal Bible speaking literally and clearly, same “Zetetic” evidence, same Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory about round-earthers/evolutionists.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy


    Modern creationism (with its claim of being a “literal” reading of
    Genesis’s two contradictory creation myths) is actually very different
    from pre-Darwin-creationism, coming from allegedly-prophetic dreams of a
    7th Day Adventist mystic near the turn of the last century. Who was a
    woman, BTW.

    The same Ellen G White that the born-agains denounce as a False Prophet.

    The same Seventh-Day Adventists the born-agains denounce as a CULT CULT CULT.