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Will They Teach The Rocky Parts Of The Bible In Public Schools?

In Jan Brewer’s Arizona, if you hit your thumb with a hammer, you’d better watch your back. About this time last year, Brewer signed a bill into law allowing public schools to teach the Bible in public school.

stoningTeach that the Bible is the foundation of law in the United States, as right wingers want to do, and you’ll be teaching the legal doctrine of Leviticus chapter 24 verses 13-16: “Then the Lord said to Moses: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.”

Yes, the Bible teaches that anyone who dares to criticize its prime deity must have their bodies smashed with stones until they are dead. Some people believe that this kind of brutal morality is the foundation of law in our society. Other people see things differently.

Among those who see things differently are a group of atheists at the University of Arkansas. This week, they held a public stoning on campus – but it was a satirical stoning. Members of the group stood still and allowed themselves to be “stoned” by onlookers, with water balloons standing in for real stones. It was a simulation, but the stonings of the Bible were not merely theatrical.

6 thoughts on “Will They Teach The Rocky Parts Of The Bible In Public Schools?”

  1. manning120 says:

    I’m not against teaching the Bible in public schools as long as other religions get attention as well — particularly Islam, but really any others. Does the Arizona law allow that? I think it’s definitely misleading to say that U.S. law is based on the Bible, when other religions also stress moral principles that can be found in the Bible and have been incorporated in U.S. law. I would like to know whether other religions feature items like the one from Leviticus that you quote. Also of interest to students would be to what extent, and why, modern law departs from moral teachings like that in Leviticus.

    1. Peregin Wood says:

      So long as other religions get EQUAL attention as well, maybe. But is that likely?

      I’d also like to see a requirement that any course taught regarding any religion in public schools contain critical consideration as well as appreciative perspectives. You want to teach the Bible? Okay, but only if you’re willing to devote serious time to witch burnings, the religious massacres of the Crusades, and televangelist scandals.

      Teach about religion with ACCURATE history, and the picture is not flattering.

      1. Dave says:

        Witch burnings, the Crusades and televangelist scandals are not in the Bible.

        1. Peregin Wood says:

          No, they aren’t, but the supposed idea of these public school Bible courses is to teach the influence of the Bible on history. Witch burnings, the Crusades and televangelist scandals are part of the destructive side of the influence of the Bible in history – and no honest academic course in the Bible as a part of history should be without them.

  2. Evan Leeds says:

    In my opinion, the whole new testament is pretty good. There are some parts of the old testament that should be cut, or read just so that the students can be taught how those parts are flawed.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      How about the bit where all the non-believers are tortured for eternity?

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