Friday, March 5, 2010

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened..."

A friend forwared me an article from the Tulsa World, hoping (I expect) for some fireworks:

Oklahoma Senate Approves Bible-Classes Bill

Indoctrination in schools! Separation of church and state! Creationism RAAARGH!

But honestly... I'm kind of cool with it. First off, it's an elective course. Not that that's a free pass; a public school can't _endorse_ a religion, either, so just declining to force students to take the class doesn't make it oay. But it's also "required to maintain religious neutrality and accommodate diverse religious views, traditions and perspectives of students". This isn't a religion class; it's a class on the Bible.

And an understanding of the Bible is about as important to an English speaker as an understanding of Shakespeare. Entirely apart from being one of the philosophical underpinings of western civilization, the language alone is the basis of a good chunk of the figures of speech and idioms in English.

It's a bit of a minefield--the Oklahoma school board had better work damned hard to make sure those classes don't turn into prayer meetings. But done right, it's a useful service to the students. This atheist approves.

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