Monday, August 01, 2005

Bible-Reading, Different From Bible-Thumping

My youth was NOT mis-spent. I was in Sunday School every week, and I studied the Bible much as I've studied everything else in my life -- with an avidity that passeth understanding. I memorized long passages, including the entire second chapter of Acts. When I got to college, I knew every biblical allusion in every piece of literature laid before me, and I've been eternally grateful for that grounding ... especially in these latter days of the Suit-and-Tie Pharisees, who intend to shove theocracy down our American throats.

So it's with some special interest that I've been finding out about a Christian Right group headquartered in Greensboro, something grandly calling itself the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has been busy since 1993 sneaking Right Wing propaganda into public school curriculums under the guise of teaching non-sectarian Bible history. But even a cursory glance at its web site reveals some true colors (a web site not to be missed for its grand trumpet-and-drum "resistance-is-futile" signature music). The NCBCPS founder, a real estate broker named Elizabeth Ridenour, says she launched her crusade to offer Bible history classes in public schools when she discovered that "the separation of church and state" was an impious "myth" promoted by the A.C.L.U.

Elizabeth Ridenour runs with some notorious fellow yappers. She brags about her pals on the web site: Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family, etc. According to People for the American Way, Ridenour's outfit won't share its curriculum with the public and keeps secret the school districts that are offering her course. Such hush-hush behavior is apparently an operational necessity. If citizens found out what their children were being taught -- for example, that there's incontrovertible proof FROM NASA (no less) that the earth DID stand still when Joshua "fit the battle of Jericho" -- there might be a bit of a peep let out in protest.

I delved a little into this outfit because of its North Carolina connection and because of a front page article in this a.m.'s NYTimes about a fight over this very group's Bible curriculum in Odessa, Texas, where I still have a feel relatives, most of whom can tell a stalking horse when they stare one in the mouth.

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