Thursday, April 28, 2005

The OTHER holy books to teach in Odessa

You knew, the way things were going, that this was going to happen Pretty soon. And you probably figured that when it happened it was gonna happen,in a dusty intolerant backwater of Texacaralaborgia. Still being right doesn't make it any less depressing. As reported by the AP today

ODESSA, Texas - The school board in this West Texas town voted unanimously to
add a Bible class to its high school curriculum. More than 6,000 Odessa
residents had signed a petition supporting the class.
the class should
be added to the curriculum in fall 2006 and taught as a history or literature
course. The school board still must develop a curriculum,

Now this is usually the part of the diary where I'd start jumping up and down, muttering about Lemon tests, and High Walls of Separation and pulling out the 37 8x10 color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows and....
But this time I say screw it.:

They know; they just don't especially care. Much Like the Brown v. Board of Ed. ruling last century, they are perfectly aware of what the Supreme Court and the Constitution requires them to do; they simply have no intention of doing it.

Now as rushed and obvious as this was, (the curriculum they just approved hasn't even been created yet) the good folks of Odessa aren't completely stupid. So, before destroying the intent of the 1st amendment they did at least pay a little lip service to its technical form:

The board had heard a presentation in March from Mike Johnson, a
representative of the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible
Curriculum in Public Schools, who said that coursework designed by that
organization is not about proselytizing or preaching.
Johnson said students
in the elective class would learn such things as the geography of the Middle
East and the influence of the Bible on history and culture.
"How can
students understand Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last Supper' or Handel's 'Messiah' if
they don't understand the reference from which they came?" Johnson said.

How indeed? since of course we KNOW that students have no other avenues for being steeped in the culture of the predominant religion of their country, if it weren't for the public school system.

Whew! thank god the good Folks of Odessa stepped in to save western culture!

Okay we all know they are lying and this so-called expert testimony is merely a fig leaf for what the board really wanted; namely, yet another large national fight where whiny evangelicals can play the wounded victim of a big bad Liberal elite. And like I said Screw 'em. Certainly don't file a massive ACLU lawsuit against the school....Yet.
Instead we should take them at their word. We should come up with a list of other sacred works that are vital to the student's understanding of the greater culture and demand they be taught as well.

Here's my Short List:

The Koran: Well you certainly can't fully understand World politics, not to mention Algebra, basic astronomy and medicine, without an appreciation of the source document of the culture that produced them. Now since its utter heresy to translate the Holy Koran, we'll also have to hold Arabic language classes as well.

The Bhagvad-Gita: essential to fully appreciate history. When Robert Oppenheimer witness the first nuclear explosion he exclaimed "I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds". How can you fully appreciate the importance of that statement, and that moment in history without a class on the 23,000 page epic poem from which the quote comes?

The Kama Sutra: Well they ARE teenagers after all, and if they are going to properly appreciate their favorite pastime....

Druidic holy writings : hmmm since they really weren't fans of writing things down we'll have to substitute Gardenerian writings and Drawing down the Moon (note to Celtic historians: I know, I know). But you HAVE to have these, neither Christmas nor Easter makes any sense at all without understanding the Pagan traditions they co-opted.

Writings of Aleister Crowley: How could any teenager even begin to appreciate the Paige/Plant oeuvre of Led Zepplin songs without reading Aleister? It is simply essential to their understanding of these cultural giants

hmmm what else do we need on the list?


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