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Bible-beating in the schools

How’d you like kids to learn this in a public classroom:

* discussions of science based on the claims of biblical creationists
* References to Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy
* archaeological findings erroneously used to support claims of the Bible’s historical accuracy
* the suggestion that the Bible, instead of the Constitution, should be considered the nation’s founding document.

This is what Southern Methodist University professor and biblical scholar Mark Chancey found when he reviewed the Bible study curriculum offered up by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. Under the guise of an “academic review” of the Bible as a historical work, the above Fundamentalist views are being promoted in hundreds of Texas schools and others around the country with this course.

The Texas Freedom Network, which includes clergy of several faiths, 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 that promote a fundamentalist Christian view.

The producers of the Bible class dismissed the Texas Freedom Network as a “far left” extremist organization trying to stifle academic review of a historical text. The National Council on Bible Curriculum Web site says its elective course is offered in high schools and junior highs by more than 300 school districts in 37 states.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said her group looked at the course after the Odessa school board voted in April to offer a Bible class. Miller said Texas Freedom Network supports study of the Bible as a significant historical text but would send letters to state, federal and local school officials across Texas about Chancey’s report.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding