Local Baptists, who firmly believe we are fighting to take back the world from the *heathens, are rejoicing today over the passage of Tennessee House Bill 4089.
The bill authorizes the state board of education to develop and adopt a curriculum for a state-funded elective course consisting of a nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible and its influence on literature, art, music, culture, and politics.
The course must be taught in an objective and nondevotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students as to either the truth or falsity of the biblical materials or texts from other religious or cultural traditions.
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Mark Maddox, a Dresden Democrat, was approved 93-3 on Tuesday. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate last week. Both chambers must now work out differences in the legislation before it heads to the governor for his consideration.
Personally, I support the proposal. After all, the Bible is inarguably the most influential book ever written, and some knowledge of the text is key to understanding ideas, movements, attitudes and rhetoric which have shaped US history.
It could, however, be tricky developing a curriculum equally pleasing to atheists, who will oppose indoctrination to a majority religion and tend to get all pissy if the President signs an official letter “God Bless America” and vigilant Christians, who will be on the lookout for subliminal messages promoting doubt, backsliding, misinterpretation, Islam, emboldened women or the homosexual agenda.
However, as similar programs have been accepted in Georgia and Texas, I do think the curriculum will likely be adopted.
Of course, as soon as the elective course raises some questions about creation, reveals that the Apostles did not start the SBC, other religious text is given equal consideration or instructional time, and/or the Baptists realize non-believers are signing-up for the elective course to strengthen arguments against religion – all hell will break loose.
*Heathen: n. pl. hea·thens or heathen: a. One who adheres to the religion of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. b. unconverted people, c. Person’s who are not Baptist; and/or d. Any Baptist caught in the liquor store by another Baptist, who upon seeing the first Baptist will quickly conceal the bottle of Jack Daniels behind his back and loudly declare, “George! I thought that was your car out front, but I had to come in here and see with my own eyes! Well, shame on you!”