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South Dakota Votes To Put Bible Study In Public Schools

South Dakota Votes To Put Bible Study In Public Schools

A non-binding resolution that encourages South Dakota public school districts to include academic study of the Bible earned final approval in the state legislature on Monday. The resolution passed the South Dakota House of Representatives by a large margin last week and, while facing greater scrutiny during the Senate’s floor debate, still passed with a comfortable 25-10 vote.

The measure urges districts to provide instruction that makes students familiar with the content, characters and stories of the Bible. The instruction is also supposed to make students aware of the role the Bible played in the development of literature, art, culture and public discourse.

National education groups including the National School Boards Association say the Bible can be taught in public schools, so long as the instruction is academic, does not press students to accept religion, doesn’t ask students to conform to a specific religious belief and does not encourage or discourage any specific religious views. This is consistent with a 1963 Supreme Court decision that banned ceremonial Bible readings in public schools but green-lighted the presence of the Bible in coursework so long as it was presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.

That all sounds great in theory, but a quick look at who supports and promotes these bills reveals not is all as it seems. Dr. Alex McFarland, author, speaker and national talk show host, recently launched Project 2026, a “15-year initiative to preserve America and restore her to the Christian principles the United States was founded upon through spiritual awakening and revival.”

Here we go.

“Bringing biblical education back to our classrooms is exactly what our country needs,” McFarland said. “The Bible, whether people want to believe it or not, is the book upon which our country was founded. These valuable Bible classes in our high schools don’t have to teach Christianity to be successful.   To give students a working knowledge of the Bible, whether for spiritual or academic reasons, will help restore our country to those founding biblical principles.”

Other goals of McFarland’s Project 2026 initiative include forming organized coalitions; communicating through writing and syndicated radio programs; involving America ’s youth, parents and grandparents; creating small-group study materials; and hosting national conferences.

The six core beliefs of Project 2026 include:
·       God —Christianity has been an integral part of America, and it must remain so if America is to thrive in the future. As five-time Virginia governor Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too often or too strongly, that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
·       Family—The traditional family is a foundational “building block” of society, which should be affirmed within our culture as the normative model for marriage and child rearing.
·       Life —Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore human life is sacred in all contexts. All people have inherent worth, value and dignity.
·       Morality— America’s founders recognized absolute moral truths, calling them “self evident.” Our culture must recover the knowledge that morality is based not on changing human social conventions, but is tied to the unchanging character of God.
·       Prayer and worship —It is the privilege, as well as the duty, of individuals and groups to pray for America. Worship and prayer have long been a part of the lives of America’s leaders and citizens; these should be encouraged again, in gratitude to God and for promotion of the common good.
·       American exclusivism —American democracy has been a unique occurrence on the plane of history. America has influenced the spread of freedom throughout the world, yet we must be careful to defend liberty here at home. For the glory of God and the good of America, the U.S. Constitution, American laws and U.S. sovereignty must never become subservient to foreign powers, nor be compromised.

This is not an educational movement that will be satisfied with aspirational non-binding resolutions. It’s a crusade.

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Photo from Ryk Neethling via flickr.

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191 comments

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3:26AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Jane R- good point- nothing is being forced on anyone. I mean, you teach Science in schools, but kids don't have to believe it. Sex Ed is taught in schools, but it doesn't make kids have sex. Teaching the Bible & maybe even a few other major religions & maybe allowing kids to pick from a few others later on, exposes them to dif religions & they can make the choice to believe in one religion or none at all. Just giving them proper teaching on it, doesn't hurt... So long as it's not forced onto them in such a way that makes them think it's the only way for them to live. Personally, I'd rather everyone believe in Christianity, but I won't push them into it. They have to want to believe. But school is about exposing kids to as much diverse info during their time there, as possible. That's education. Then, if they go on to college, they can pursue more specific studies that interest them. Variety gives them more options...

8:33PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Such a compassionate Christian comment. Condemn those of us who do not belong to your cult to an eternity of pain - if this is what your bible teaches, please keep it to yourself.

8:04PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

I think this is wonderful. If they can teach sex education they can teach what the Bible is all about. Religion is not forced on anyone just as having sex or abstaining is not forced on anyone. To believe or not is left up to each individual. Those opposed to this can go to h_ll. My thoughts only. You think what you want, it's your right. It's my right to believe.

3:46PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

omg how wrong is this

4:53PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

freedom of religion. it shouldn't be in schools. schools are to educate, not preach

1:00PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

So myopic and distorted a vision--there are far more important educational needs our students need for the future survival of this country.

8:30AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

They can vote on it all they want but its still public money and not church money they are using to promote and enforce personal religious choices.

There are more important things to do with THAT MONEY!

5:07AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully others. It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers as long as they are loved.
Sex Education should be taught from LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. Children should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy,STD, AIDS ) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the Bud so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these principals I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

7:47PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Everyone knows what the bible is and what it's about. I was raised as an atheist, but I know a lot about the bible simply by being American. I don't see them rushing to include what's taught in any other religions' books. I'm a good person, I contribute to charity and I volunteer, and I didn't need a 2,000 year old book to teach me any of it. Keep it out of schools entirely.

5:31AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

His Patrick Henry quote is fake:

http://fakehistory.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/fake-quotations-patrick-henry-on-religionists/

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