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Author Topic: Texas Public Schools Required to Teach Bible This Year  (Read 20228 times)
RandallS
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« Reply #30: August 22, 2009, 05:36:33 pm »

What Texas is allowed to ignore "separation of Church and State" that is... interesting.

The actual content of the classes determine that. There's nothing wrong constitutionally with the Bible as Literature classes. Given that much of Western Literature refers to Bible stories, knowledge of them is needed to understand what one is reading so they are actually a good idea no matter what one's religion.

However, I can promise you the desired intent is of these classes is "the Bible as fact" and "the Bible as the true founding document of the US" -- typical fundie BS. I doubt many schools will be stupid enough to teach it that way, however. Those that do will get sued -- and lose.
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« Reply #31: August 22, 2009, 06:02:20 pm »

The actual content of the classes determine that. There's nothing wrong constitutionally with the Bible as Literature classes. Given that much of Western Literature refers to Bible stories, knowledge of them is needed to understand what one is reading so they are actually a good idea no matter what one's religion.

However, I can promise you the desired intent is of these classes is "the Bible as fact" and "the Bible as the true founding document of the US" -- typical fundie BS. I doubt many schools will be stupid enough to teach it that way, however. Those that do will get sued -- and lose.

One could even cover the significant differences between the major Protestant denominations and Catholicism as part of Western European history.  Kind of key to understanding the 30 Years War and the other battles of the period.
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« Reply #32: August 22, 2009, 06:04:20 pm »

You are over stating the limits of seperation of church and state.

I suspect you are also misunderstanding bible as lit courses.


I am not misunderstanding bible as lit courses at all. You can have a class focus on biblical literature because it is voluntary, it is not forced, therefore it abides by Separation of Church and State. Requiring it be taught in all courses does not abide by Church and State because it is forced.

Furthermore I do not doubt the bible as literature, but once again because of the religious conotations in it, it cannot be forced onto students to read. In one of my college literature courses we were assigned a bunch of short stories that set up a topic which would appear later in the course. On the list of stuff to read was select passages and stories from the bible. However, the professor wrote, in big bold letters, that we are not forced to read these if we do not wish, they will simply be able to give you good background information for the topic coming up.  When asked a few days later in class why she did that, she responded (As a Christian literature professor at a University, that forcing us to read it will go against the Separation of Church and State, and so she had to make it voluntary and could not dock points for us not reading it.

So I am not misunderstanding anything. The bible is literature, but because of it's religious nature it still cannot be forced upon students, just the same as the Torah, the Qur'an, etc. They are all literature, but religious in nature.
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« Reply #33: August 22, 2009, 06:11:56 pm »



Furthermore I do not doubt the bible as literature, but once again because of the religious conotations in it, it cannot be forced onto students to read. In one of my college literature courses we were assigned a bunch of short stories that set up a topic which would appear later in the course. On the list of stuff to read was select passages and stories from the bible. However, the professor wrote, in big bold letters, that we are not forced to read these if we do not wish, they will simply be able to give you good background information for the topic coming up.  When asked a few days later in class why she did that, she responded (As a Christian literature professor at a University, that forcing us to read it will go against the Separation of Church and State, and so she had to make it voluntary and could not dock points for us not reading it.


Your professor doesn't understand seperation of church and state.  The principal doesn't apply to college courses.
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« Reply #34: August 22, 2009, 06:15:42 pm »

Your professor doesn't understand seperation of church and state.  The principal doesn't apply to college courses.


Then kindly enlighten me, because as far as I know it has to be voluntary and applies to all public schools. My college is classified as public, therefore it applied.

In high school there was a prayer-group, and the teachers and students had to make it well known that it was completely voluntary to attend. They also used to say the pledge of allegiance every morning, but were forced to stop because of the line "In God we trust".

So please tell me what defines it because I have had elementary, middle-school, high-school, and university professors all state routinely that anything involving religion has to be voluntary to the students. And I am much more inclined to take their word for it then someone who simply says "you don't understand it's meaning".

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« Reply #35: August 22, 2009, 06:24:48 pm »



Quote
According to the Supreme Court, the First Amendment requires that public school students never be given the impression that their school officially sanctions religion in general or prefers a specific faith in particular. Further, students must never feel coerced by peer or public pressure into adhering to the dictates of any religion.

taken from: http://www.adl.org/issue_religious_freedom/separation_cs_primer_schools.asp
So like I said, it must be voluntary. And by passing a law requiring the bible to be taught falls, in my opinion, directly into the column of "students never be given the impression that their school officially sanctions religion... or prefers a specific faith."

Edited Update: I just contacted one of my old Religious Studies professors and sent him that article, and he is quite shocked the ACLU has already not gotten on their case, and he is trying to find the exact document for the legislation to see how they worded it in an attempt to get around the amendment.
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« Reply #36: August 22, 2009, 06:33:19 pm »

taken from: http://www.adl.org/issue_religious_freedom/separation_cs_primer_schools.asp
So like I said, it must be voluntary. And by passing a law requiring the bible to be taught falls, in my opinion, directly into the column of "students never be given the impression that their school officially sanctions religion... or prefers a specific faith."

Irrelevent. You were talking about a college, not a secondary pr primary school.
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« Reply #37: August 22, 2009, 06:43:32 pm »

Irrelevent. You were talking about a college, not a secondary pr primary school.


Then show me where it defines public universities as being different then public secondary and primary schools?
But my college example may be a bit outside the discussion of public primary and secondary schools, but the quote I posted still rings true.
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« Reply #38: August 22, 2009, 07:08:51 pm »

Then show me where it defines public universities as being different then public secondary and primary schools?
But my college example may be a bit outside the discussion of public primary and secondary schools, but the quote I posted still rings true.

Might take a bit. My ACLU contact doesn't have a lot of time to find me a good cite.

Basically it comes down to college isn't a required activity.
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« Reply #39: August 22, 2009, 07:53:14 pm »

I don't know enough about the liturature from those areas.  

Considering that a high school class in mideast lit would be a single class elective, the Koran as lit would be part of that course rather than a seperate class like Bible as lit. Same for Hindu lit.





I understand that, my question was if the people pushing the bible stuff wouldn't fuss about those, and I'm sure they wouldn't fuss at all about any proselytising done in those classes any more than proseltying done in the bible class.  Ansolutely certain they would  put up with anything from those teachers that they would put up with from the bible teachers.

end sarcasm.
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« Reply #40: August 22, 2009, 08:15:35 pm »

Then show me where it defines public universities as being different then public secondary and primary schools?
But my college example may be a bit outside the discussion of public primary and secondary schools, but the quote I posted still rings true.

Colleges are generally separated out from this sort of thing. The courts look at the "captive audience" involved with primary aged children. There's also less of an ability for young children to separate "teacher" "government" "church" "religion", so the courts are extremely careful (or usually are) when school aged children are involved.

When you get into secondary school, there's less of an issue because of the ability of students to separate those things more easily. There are several rulings where the courts have come down firmly on the side of less religion, but again, the courts are a whole lot more cautious with the primary aged kids.

Colleges are looked on as places where the students are adults. If there was an egregious example, then they might step in. But again, colleges have a whole lot more leeway on the church/state issue than secondary schools and they have more leeway than a primary school.
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« Reply #41: August 22, 2009, 09:46:18 pm »

Colleges are looked on as places where the students are adults. If there was an egregious example, then they might step in. But again, colleges have a whole lot more leeway on the church/state issue than secondary schools and they have more leeway than a primary school.

The law doesn't require people to attend college nor does the government define what is taught, what textbooks can be/must be used, what is tested for, etc. as they do at the primary and secondary level. When the state makes you go under penalty of law and sets don what must be taught and how, then the state has a far greater burden to keep religion and state separate -- and the courts recognize this.

BTW, it is fine to have required courses about the Bible as literature or about the influence of the Bible and religion in history in public schools. They just have to stay with secular facts and not delve into teaching correct religious belief and the like. Nor can they teach one religion's beliefs asbout the place of the Bible in history or the like. The classes have to be purely secular in nature and content.

When I went to high school in the early 70s, we had six weeks of English class devoted to the influence of the Bible in literature. It was taught as literature and religious teaching did not enter into it.
 
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« Reply #42: August 22, 2009, 10:10:33 pm »

The law doesn't require people to attend college nor does the government define what is taught, what textbooks can be/must be used, what is tested for, etc. as they do at the primary and secondary level. When the state makes you go under penalty of law and sets don what must be taught and how, then the state has a far greater burden to keep religion and state separate -- and the courts recognize this.

BTW, it is fine to have required courses about the Bible as literature or about the influence of the Bible and religion in history in public schools. They just have to stay with secular facts and not delve into teaching correct religious belief and the like. Nor can they teach one religion's beliefs asbout the place of the Bible in history or the like. The classes have to be purely secular in nature and content.

When I went to high school in the early 70s, we had six weeks of English class devoted to the influence of the Bible in literature. It was taught as literature and religious teaching did not enter into it.
 

Your class is proof it can be and has been done well at the secondary school level.  The question is, is that what we're going to get now in these mandated classes?
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« Reply #43: August 22, 2009, 10:12:53 pm »

Your class is proof it can be and has been done well at the secondary school level.  The question is, is that what we're going to get now in these mandated classes?

I suspect that will depend alot upon the individual school or even teacher.
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« Reply #44: August 22, 2009, 11:28:36 pm »

The law doesn't require people to attend college nor does the government define what is taught, what textbooks can be/must be used, what is tested for, etc. as they do at the primary and secondary level. When the state makes you go under penalty of law and sets don what must be taught and how, then the state has a far greater burden to keep religion and state separate -- and the courts recognize this.


Yeah, but what I'm thinking about in a college setting probably wouldn't even be a classroom situation. I'm thinking more along the lines of a chapel (I think there was a University of Maryland issue a couple of years ago?) or a requirement to attend a prayer breakfast sort of thing (I think VMI got nailed there).
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