Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

No Comparison

Ah, religion. If one wants to hear about religion, it’s hard to imagine there being a better time. Even those supposed purveyors of only secular nonsense, the effete intellectuel guachistes at WPR, have been running show after show about the subject, the latest example being an interview with Bruce Grelle, Director of The Religion and Public Education Resource Center.

The mission of this band of merry men from the forests of Chico, California is stated thusly:

The Religion and Public Education Resource Center provides general information about the ethical, legal, and educational issues that arise in connection with the topic of religion and public education. The work of the RPERC is based on the conviction that the academic study of the world's religions in public elementary and secondary schools not only makes an indispensable contribution to historical and cultural literacy, it is also an integral part of education for citizenship in a pluralistic democracy. The Center is non-partisan and serves the needs of schools throughout the United States.

Who could argue with that? The study of religions’ influences on society would absolutely be a wonderful addition to the curriculum of our schools. Perhaps six weeks sometime could be devoted to the faith of atheists and agnostics as well. Who would want to miss the section where we all learn that Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to the same God?

A while back, I wrote of a book about the teaching of American History in our schools. Here’s a refresher:

So how and when might we wise up? Obviously there are alternatives to history education from text books, yet teachers of k-12 can find themselves in hot water in a hurry for encouraging the study of any material less than complimentary of American society.

Substitute "Christian" for “American", and here we go again. Just how kindly are board of education members in Dubuque, Iowa going to take to any religious textbook that puts “Christianity” in alphabetical order?

Anyone who thinks religious education in public schools would be any less about cross bearing than history education is about flag waving has been dipping a bit too heavily into the sacramental wine. Even with such a connected organization as The Religion and Public Education Resource Center (RPERC), the veneer of a “pluralistic” intention to provide “academic study of the world's religions” is paper thin. Here is the top of the list of publications offered on their site:

  1. Abingdon Glossary of Religious Terms by Thayer S. Warshaw. A handy reference that provides brief, easy-to-understand definitions of biblical, theological, and religious terms. 1978. (94 pp.), $3.00.
  2. The Bible in Literature Courses: Successful Lesson Plans by Linda Meixner with Thayer S. Warshaw. More than a dozen lessons produced in connection with the Indiana University Institute on Teaching the Bible in Literature Courses. 1992. (246pp.), $9.00.
  3. A Compact Guide to Bible Based Beliefs by Thayer S. Warshaw. A listing of passages from the Bible that religious groups use to justify specific beliefs and practices. 1978. (43 pp.), $3.00.
  4. Handbook for Teaching the Bible in Literature Classes by Thayer S. Warshaw. Contains commentary, materials, and suggestions for teachers of the Bible in Literature classes. 1978. (416 pp.), $5.00.
  5. An Introduction to Public Education Religion Studies edited by Nicholas Piediscalzi and Kay Alexander. A National Council on Religion and Public Education Curriculum Resource Guide. 1987. (90 pp.), $5.00.
  6. Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives (two volumes) edited by Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis with James S. Ackerman. 1982. (320 pp.), temporarily unavailable.

A statistical fluke that 5 of 6 reference only the Bible? Do teachers in America have a greater need for help in teaching of Christ’s “historical and cultural” influence than that of Buddha’s or Mohammed’s? Nonsense!

Thus missionary deeds swiftly and shamelessly belie the mission statement. Assuming that Bruce Grelle and his evangelical Christian cohorts didn’t become leaders in Chico State academia by being utterly non-observant, it’s clear they don’t give a God damn if they lie to us in such a way, as long as such a deception furthers their cause.

Teach that.


At 4:13 PM, Blogger JD said...


At 11:55 AM, Blogger Bullock said...

Guess Bush and his cronies are getting their way--putting pressure on NPR to host equal time programming of Christian conservative agendas.Intelligent design science and retro-'50's nicey-nice history have been honed in Christian religious schools for decades, ready for prime-time public education funding.You're right-nothing 'pluristic' about those agendas.
Ironically, Chico State is regarded as a big party-hardy school, recent frat house alcohol poisoning death and all that.Out of Sodom in a red zone comes a shining path...wait,wasn't that the name of another fundamentalist movement with genocide on their minds...?


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