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The W - Current Events & Politics - Thou shalt be christian, or you'll get an F
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Stilton
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Since: 7.2.04
From: Canada

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.49
Two Florida high schools have made the bible assigned reading.

This (sun-sentinel.com) is disturbing, and (correct if I'm wrong) unconstitutional in the USA, is it not?



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Since: 25.1.02
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.89
    Originally posted by Stilton
    unconstitutional in the USA, is it not?


I would imagine that would depend on how the book is taught.

If it's presented as history or fact, then its presence in the classroom is wrong. However, if an English teacher uses it as classical literature, just a book of stories that happens to be the widest-read and most influential writings in the history of ever, then it is highly relevant and certainly allowable. Afterall, if you want to make your students truly knowledgeable re: the most important written works in our society, you can't ignore it, and you can't assume they read it on their own.

Teachers just need to beware how they approach the material.



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CRZ
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44
    Originally posted by Stilton
    Two Florida high schools have made the bible assigned reading.

    This (sun-sentinel.com) is disturbing, and (correct if I'm wrong) unconstitutional in the USA, is it not?
Would it have been nearly as disturbing to you if the required reading had been Greek mythology instead?

EDIT: Also, your subject line seems a little exaggerated and hysterical

(edited by CRZ on 27.5.05 1118)


CRZ
Stilton
Frankfurter








Since: 7.2.04
From: Canada

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.49
    Originally posted by CRZ
      Originally posted by Stilton
      Two Florida high schools have made the bible assigned reading.

      This (sun-sentinel.com) is disturbing, and (correct if I'm wrong) unconstitutional in the USA, is it not?
    Would it have been nearly as disturbing to you if the required reading had been Greek mythology instead?


No, Chris, it wouldn't be nearly as disturbing to me. . .

. . . unless, of course, there was a large and influential lobby that believes the hellenistic epics are literal fact and who are trying to get students in high schools to pray to Zeus. Then it would disturb me equally.

I'm not one for "slippery-slope" debates. As long as the teachers keep the lectures literary, then I'm fine with it, though I doubt there won't be some teachers who see this as an opportunity to do some missionary work on the side.

I wonder why these schools aren't also teaching the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita as classic literature.



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CRZ
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.44
    Originally posted by Stilton
    . . . unless, of course, there was a large and influential lobby that believes the hellenistic epics are literal fact and who are trying to get students in high schools to pray to Zeus. Then it would disturb me equally.
Holy crap, is THAT what's happening in Canada?! ;-)
    Originally posted by Stilton
    I'm not one for "slippery-slope" debates. As long as the teachers keep the lectures literary, then I'm fine with it, though I doubt there won't be some teachers who see this as an opportunity to do some missionary work on the side.
Well, gee, you know what happens when you ASS-U-ME! but I don't think you brought that story over here and gave us the thread title "Thou shalt be christian, or you'll get an F" because you think you'll be FINE with it. You bring the story here and maybe I'm wrong, but it sure looks to me like you take a pretty quick flying leap from "Bible passages as required summer reading" to "proselytizing educators ruining society with their RELIGIOUS BELIEFS" and I'm just not seeing any hard and fast evidence of that.
    Originally posted by Stilton
    I wonder why these schools aren't also teaching the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita as classic literature.
Reading the story - you wanted me to read the story, right, that's why you linked it here - it seems that their opinion is that the Bible is seen as the basis of a lot of American literature, presumably more so than the other books you're bringing up. I would tend to agree with this opinion.

By the way, this is totally irrelevant to THIS topic, but I also happen to believe that if more people did "some missionary work on the side" the world would be a better place in general. I love me some Jesus.



CRZ
Stilton
Frankfurter








Since: 7.2.04
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.49
    Originally posted by CRZ
      Originally posted by Stilton
      . . . unless, of course, there was a large and influential lobby that believes the hellenistic epics are literal fact and who are trying to get students in high schools to pray to Zeus. Then it would disturb me equally.
    Holy crap, is THAT what's happening in Canada?!


Maybe in Alberta. :-)





He was a popular attraction until he choked to death on a corn kernel.
spf
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.57
I guess I find it a bit sketchy on the grounds of "so much of American literature references it" being the way they justify it. Ironically, I would believe it more if Greek mythology was assigned along with it, as the assumption of most readers being familiar with this myhtology seems to me as or more pervasive in classic American writing than even the Bible.

I do believe the Bible can be taught as a text and as a cultural artifact in public schools, but I think 95% of the time that's now how it will be approached. But the way this is set up doesn't quite pass the smell test for me. Perhaps because the administrator has been working to try and get the Bible in the curriculum for a while now, it gives me a feeling like this is not purely an academic exercise for him.



Grimis
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Since: 11.7.02
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
Schools teach historical fiction. A lot.

Most of the Bible, suffice it to say, is historical fiction.

This is really much ado about nothing.

My question is; replace "The Bible" with "The Catcher in the Rye" as far as historical fiction goes, would there be as much righteous indignation?



I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Lefts tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those red state voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, Well, dont you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices? It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt. - Pat Sajak
DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.24
Back when I attended high school, religious literature was and English elective. It covered the Koran, Torah, New Testament, Book of Mormon, eastern religions, etc. Hard to believe the late sixties/early seventies were more enlightened than today.

If done properly and in context, there is no problem. Idealogues on both ends drive me nuts.



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too-old-now
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.19
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Schools teach historical fiction. A lot.

    Most of the Bible, suffice it to say, is historical fiction.

    This is really much ado about nothing.

    My question is; replace "The Bible" with "The Catcher in the Rye" as far as historical fiction goes, would there be as much righteous indignation?


Salinger's book was banned (burned?) more in the past 50 years than the Bible. It contains a couple of offensive words, you know, that are repeated more today than most scripture.

    Originally posted by CRZ

    By the way, this is totally irrelevant to THIS topic, but I also happen to believe that if more people did "some missionary work on the side" the world would be a better place in general. I love me some Jesus.


CRZ loves Jesus. The world would also be a better place if more people loved CRZ.


Grimis
Scrapple








Since: 11.7.02
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
    Originally posted by too-old-now
    Salinger's book was banned (burned?) more in the past 50 years than the Bible. It contains a couple of offensive words, you know, that are repeated more today than most scripture.
You're preaching to the choir there. I don't want to see either side's books banned in this context.

I mean, some school systems ban Farenheit 451 for crying out loud...



I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Lefts tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those red state voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, Well, dont you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices? It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt. - Pat Sajak
Lise
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Since: 11.12.01

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.37
I had a writing class this last semester which had Genesis 1-3 and Antigone assigned as required reading. At no point were students asked to think about God or Zeus. The theme we were supposed to be thinking about was "victimization". If anything fundamentalist Christians might have been offended at how the Genesis reading was approached since it was clearly pointed out how Genesis has multiple authors and talks about two very different Gods.

Mind you it was one of the stupidest classes I've ever had to take (graduation requirement) but it was in no way promoting Christianity, or the Greek Gods. While it was supposedly a college level class, there was nothing about it that wouldn't be applicable to teach in high school English class.


    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


That does not mean that you can't have any incidents of religion in schools. In a strict interpretation all it means is that Congress can't make a national religion. If you take a broader interpretation of it towards schools, school officials can not in anyway seem to favor any religion over another in an official capacity. So things like celebrating one religion's holidays but not others, having religious themed assemblies are clearly out. But a student's right to reasonably exercise their own religion should not be infringed on either. That should (reasonably) also include an atheist student's right to not be infringed on in not believing anything. So things like religious murals being paid for by an extra curricular Christian group are within free exercise, their presence on school grounds are inappropriate on two accounts; one, it may seem like the school officials are endorsing Christianity over other religions by approving the mural, and two, its presence on school grounds infringes on students with other beliefs who have no choice but to use school grounds.

Would you be uncomfortable letting your child take a literature class which had passages from the Koran as part of its curriculum even if they were only being studied for their literature content? As long as they can show that there is a non-religious reason to bring this particular literature into the curriculum that another piece wouldn't fulfill in quite the same way, there probably isn't a problem with it.



...oh bother.
Oliver
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.48
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Schools teach historical fiction. A lot.

    Most of the Bible, suffice it to say, is historical fiction
I would say that about the Book of Mormon, rather than the Bible.

That, or the story of the life of Joseph Smith. :-)



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AWArulz
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Since: 28.1.02
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.13
    Originally posted by CRZ
    I love me some Jesus.


My new favorite quote. Can I use this? 'Cause, me too.

One statement regarding this: Someone said, Catcher in the Rye was burned more than the Bible in the last 50 years. I'd like to see that proof. I'd even be willing to guess that it's not even true in North America, much less in the world. I think we'd have to agree that there's no comparison in the two being burned in the world. The Bible took some serious hits in the last 50 years from the Rooskies and their buds, and well as China and the Islamic countries. Holden Caufield, as sweet a kid as he is, probably doesn't scare the Saudis as much as Matt, Mark, Luke and their buddy, John do.

(edited by AWArulz on 28.5.05 2311)


Now, just wait a minute!
jfkfc
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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.23
    Originally posted by Stilton
    This is disturbing, and (correct if I'm wrong) unconstitutional in the USA, is it not?
As far as I can tell, if the school board approves it (kansascity.com), bible classes in school can happen.
    Originally posted by spf
    Perhaps because the administrator has been working to try and get the Bible in the curriculum for a while now, it gives me a feeling like this is not purely an academic exercise for him.
How did you come up with THAT??? From the paragraph about the principal?
    Originally posted by Sun Sentinel
    Boca Raton High School Principal Geoff McKee dropped plans to offer an "Introduction to the Bible" course last year when teachers, parents and some school district officials complained.....

    West Boca Raton is completing its first school year. Many of the faculty came from Olympic Heights High, which started requiring the reading of Genesis for honors students last year. It's optional for students in other English classes.
At best, spf, you are stretching things quite a bit to give credence to your concerns. How can you speculate with the words, "for quite awhile now" when the school has only been open for one year? Do you know that the principal of this school was vocal elsewhere in trying to "get the Bible in the curriculum for awhile now?" The article doesn't even state that it was the principal's plan, just that he dropped them....



(deleted by CRZ on 7.6.71 0335, who loves him some Jesus)
too-old-now
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Since: 7.1.04

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.04
    Originally posted by AWArulz
    One statement regarding this: Someone said, Catcher in the Rye was burned more than the Bible in the last 50 years. I'd like to see that proof. I'd even be willing to guess that it's not even true in North America, much less in the world. I think we'd have to agree that there's no comparison in the two being burned in the world. The Bible took some serious hits in the last 50 years from the Rooskies and their buds, and well as China and the Islamic countries. Holden Caufield, as sweet a kid as he is, probably doesn't scare the Saudis as much as Matt, Mark, Luke and their buddy, John do.

    (edited by AWArulz on 28.5.05 2311)


Re-read my post.

'Twas only me trying to expand on Grimis' point that if it were Salinger and not New Testament, this may not get as much attention.

I intentionally put a question mark after "burned", and included in parenthesis after "banned".

I agree that there is no contest overseas. I didn't intend to make a point about a particular continent, country, state, town, village or neighborhood. My exaggeration without representation was intended to refer to several parochial schools in this country that continue to ban Salinger, or several public libraries in this country that keep lists of critically acclaimed literature they choose not to include in their collection.

In this country Salinger raised a ruckus with his use of offensive language in Catcher that some folks still haven't gotten over. I stand by my comment that a couple of words from that book are repeated more by today's students than any verse of scripture.

To me, banning and burning of books are pretty darned close relatives - kissin' cousins or worse. I don't want to see either.

But allowing the books in school are one thing, making them part of the curriculum is entirely another - it usually requires taxpayer's dollars.

If I were in that school board's district, I wouldn't have a problem with the course on the Bible as literature as long as the textbook wasn't costing materially more than other texts. Then again, perhaps some evangelical group, maybe say the Gideons, wants to donate several hundred copies of the sacred text to the school system, all the better for Joe Taxpayer.

BigSteve
Pepperoni








Since: 23.7.04
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.09
    Originally posted by too-old-now
    Salinger's book was banned (burned?) more in the past 50 years than the Bible. It contains a couple of offensive words, you know, that are repeated more today than most scripture.


I may just be stupid, but after reading "Catcher" a few months ago, I'm at a loss for why it's such a controversial book. I saw the naughty words, and I guess that they would have been "shocking" fifty or sixty years ago, but still, I just didn't get what the big deal was. Perhaps it was one of those "themes" that I didn't catch onto. Anyway....

The issue of using the Bible to teach themes in American literature is perfectly acceptable. It's being done for an explicitly secular purpose, and in any event, the only required reading is the Book of Genesis. I'd think that if they were really trying to use sneaky methods to teach high schoolers about Christianity, they might have used something like the Gospels so that they could, you know, learn about Jesus.

    Originally posted by too-old-now
    If I were in that school board's district, I wouldn't have a problem with the course on the Bible as literature as long as the textbook wasn't costing materially more than other texts.


I don't understand your point here. What does it matter how much the books cost? If the course was deemed to be acceptable, then it shouldn't matter how much Bibles and texts cost. Is that to make sure that the Bible/Scripture class isn't seen by some as being "more important" than other courses? Regardless, I don't see a problem with having a class that looks at the Bible as literature because, no matter if you think it's fiction or non-fiction, it is the most important and most widely read book in Western History, that much isn't really in dispute.

    Originally posted by the Article
    "If there is no other required summer reading, it may send a message the school district is elevating the Bible above all books, which may convey a religious message," she said.


That's so ridiculous. If they assigned "Catcher in the Rye" or "The Great Gatsby" would anyone think to themselves as a result of that, "Wow, this must be the greatest book ever and certainly more important than anything else."? Of course they wouldn't.

    Originally posted by the Article
    "Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?" she asked. "This is a public school."


When in doubt, act like the USA is turning into a theocracy and use the phrase so important that it isn't found anywhere in the Constitution.

This seems to me to be just another case of parents getting all worked up over something because they love to get worked up. The bottom line is, people will complain about anything.
Fuzzy Logic
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Since: 31.3.02
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.57
Jeepers, people sure do get their knickers in a knot over silly books being used in schools. 'course, I might not see it as an actual big deal because the churches ran the schools 'till '97 in my province. And we were sort of required to take religion classes until high-school (oddly enough, I entered high school the same year the province took over the schools). There really should be history classes that integrate religion, 'cause religion is an important part of history. Or social studies stuff should incorporate a bit of teaching about religions, 'cause hey, it's an important part of a lot of societies. 'course, then you get the stupid people on all sides bitching about how their children are being indoctrinated with [insert thing here].

It's good to see that no matter what side people are on, they gladly jump on the "I don't care WHY they're teaching this/making the children read this, they're not supposed to! It goes against [insert thing here]!"

They don't even mention which version of the bible is being used.

The reason that Catcher in the Rye is such an evil book that must be burned isn't the language, but the attitude that is displayed by whatshisface and the rejection of the adult world-view... or something stupid like that. So yeah, it's one of those themes you didn't catch onto. That book blew, also.




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too-old-now
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.04
    Originally posted by BigSteve

      Originally posted by too-old-now
      If I were in that school board's district, I wouldn't have a problem with the course on the Bible as literature as long as the textbook wasn't costing materially more than other texts.


    I don't understand your point here. What does it matter how much the books cost? If the course was deemed to be acceptable, then it shouldn't matter how much Bibles and texts cost.


    ..... The bottom line is, people will complain about anything.


The reason it matters how much the books cost is simple - who pays for them? Joe Taxpayer. It's always been disturbing to me that new courses get added every year for which new, expensive textbooks, are needed. When my state and local property taxes go up because the school board added another couple hundred grand worth of textbooks for dozens of elective courses with enrollment under 10 kids, I ask why.

I don't want to slam the teachers/school board here, as for the most part they want to provide challenging courses for students, and they want to try to be relevant. But too often the school board operates under the assumption that because it'd be nice if they had x, they should just ask the taxpayers for it.

Just because it might be an acceptable topic to add to the curriculum, as it may have educational value, doesn't mean it should be approved. One of my favorite analogies about adding a course to curriculum is space exploration. Many people agree this is a worthwhile topic for students to learn about. They might learn some if they were given some old textbooks, or and/or newspaper clippings. They might learn more if they can use online references. They likely would learn an awful lot if there was a field trip to NASA, if they could see the actual moon rocks. They would learn even more if they had the NASA sized budget to build and launch a MARS explorer satelite. It is just not practical.

Even if resources are limited, it might not be a good idea to give them rocks from the parking lot and tell them to pretend they came from the moon.

I don't mean to take this off-topic, but the attitude of "it doesn't matter what it costs" really annoys me.
BigSteve
Pepperoni








Since: 23.7.04
From: Baltimore, MD

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.09
Oh that makes sense. I can understand not wanting to pay more taxes. And by the way, taht line about complaining wasn't directed at you. It was directed to the parent in the article that was quoted, just so you know.

(edited by BigSteve on 31.5.05 1120)
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