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Nov 26 2013

Hobby Lobby Owner Pushes Bible Curriculum

In completely unsurprising news, the owner and CEO of Hobby Lobby, who is fighting so hard to avoid having to provide for women’s health needs in his company’s group insurance policy, is also spending his fortune developing a Bible curriculum for use in public schools. The first target for its adoption is Mustang, Oklahoma.

The Mustang School District is considering adding an elective course that would teach about the Bible.

“A state law that passed several years ago made a provision for public school districts to offer an elective course through social studies or through the English department called ‘The Bible in the Curriculum,’” said Mustang Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel. “We thought it was very intriguing and wanted to see what this kind of curriculum might offer.”

McDaniel invited Steve Green, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby, to come and talk to the board at their meeting on Monday. He said Green has taken on an initiative to create a curriculum from a historical perspective.

Green and his family own over 40,000 Bibles and he now oversees The Green Collection, which has grown to be the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts…

Green is also in the development stages of creating a new, nonsectarian Bible curriculum and said it would cover three parts of the book: the history, the impact and its story.

“We have a list of universities that we are working with today all over the world,” he said. “We want to find the leading scholars to help us and we will be pulling from this group to help write this curriculum and it will tie to the three parts we want to teach. With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible and then we want to show the impact of the Bible. The Bible has had an impact on just about every area of life, whether you like it or not, it has. It has impacted government, education, art, science, literature, you name it. Thirdly, is the story, meaning what does the book say.”

It’s entirely possible to build such a curriculum from a genuinely scholarly and non-proselytizing perspective and it would be constitutional to do so (though it’s pretty unlikely you could find many secondary school teachers who could actually teach the class from that perspective; it would almost invariably be used as a means of urging students to be Christians). But given that Green has partnered with David Barton to produce full page newspaper ads full of those out-of-context and sometimes misleading quotes Barton is so famous for (see here for the response to that ad from the FFRF) doesn’t suggest that he is capable of developing such a curriculum. He clearly starts with the goal of inculcating Christianity, which is impermissible.

We’ve seen the result before when those intent on using schools to proselytize develop Bible curricula that they claim are objective and scholarly. The result is crap like the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    trucreep

    That is the problem, that the people most likely to teach this kind of course would use it to proselytize. You’d want to get an historian or literature professor to teach the class, or maybe split it into two different classes, having a focus on the history in one, and the literature in the other.

  2. 2
    raven

    But given that Green has partnered with David Barton to produce full page newspaper ads full of those out-of-context …

    Makes perfect sense.

    Now that Barton has finished making up quotes about the US founders, he can make up quotes about the bible.

    The fundies do this a lot anyway. Cherry pick out of context quotes from the bible while ignoring the vast majority of it. When you actually read the quotes in context it usually means something totally different.

    With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible ..

    The archeaological evidence shows that most of the bible is fiction. There was no Exodus out of Egypt and no genocide of the Canaanites. The proto-Jews were just another tribe of Canaanites. Fundies lie about this too.

    There are two archeaological stories. The real one and the one the fundies just made up.

  3. 3
    pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile

    you have to admire their persistence in that one incident after the other where these folks try to get away with violating the Establishment Clause, watch themselves get slapped down in court, but still have a line of people ready to try it again somewhere else.

  4. 4
    Modusoperandi

    Ironically, every copy of the corriculum comes with a pack of birth control pills.

  5. 5
    whheydt

    Besides Hobby Lobby, he also owns a chain of “Christian book stores”. This was mentioned in an article today on the CBS News website in connection with the USSC accepting cert on the appeal over contraception coverage for his employees. His case is to be argued together with that of a Mennonite family owned business where the appeals court went the other way.

    I would love to have someone stand up and (basically) ask if *all* of his employees hold the same religious views, and if none of the employees or their family members want to buy contraceptives, how does he know that? (Especially considering that parents can now cover their kids up to age 25. Want to bet that 20-something daughters will see these issues differently than their parents….let along their parents boss?)

  6. 6
    D. C. Sessions

    The archeaological evidence shows that most of the bible is fiction.

    How can you say that given the discovery of Noah’s Ark (not to mention the pieces of the Cross!)

  7. 7
    raven

    I would love to have someone stand up and (basically) ask if *all* of his employees hold the same religious views,

    Probably they would say they do. This is some Oogedy Boogedy religious fanatic. I’m sure anyone who didn’t would just sort of end up fired. Religious discrimination might be illegal but I doubt the Hobby Lobby guy cares one bit if he gets hauled into court.

    and if none of the employees or their family members want to buy contraceptives, …

    Probably they all do including the Hobby Lobby CEO. Hypocrisy is a main sacrament of the fundies.

    If you look at the fundie leaders, they all have 2-4 kids instead of 10 or 20. They don’t want to breed like rabbits. They have better things to do with their time and money. They want someone else to do it instead.

  8. 8
    raven

    Needless to say, the Hobby Lobby CEO really doesn’t want to teach about the bible.

    He wants to teach a cartoon, highly edited, fictional version of the bible.

    If you actually read it, it is just a kludgy mess of contradictions, atrocities, mythology, and obsolete morality. I’m sure they won’t mention that biblical law mandates the death penalty for disobedient children, nonvirgin brides, atheists, heretics, apostates, sabbath breakers, and adulterers among others.

    Reading the bible is a great way to make atheists.

  9. 9
    Modusoperandi

    whheydt “I would love to have someone stand up and (basically) ask if *all* of his employees hold the same religious views, and if none of the employees or their family members want to buy contraceptives, how does he know that? (Especially considering that parents can now cover their kids up to age 25. Want to bet that 20-something daughters will see these issues differently than their parents….let along their parents boss?)”
    Doesn’t matter.
    Job Creators get rights (from God). Employees get privileges (from their bosses).

  10. 10
    D. C. Sessions

    This was mentioned in an article today on the CBS News website in connection with the USSC accepting cert on the appeal over contraception coverage for his employees.

    Given the current Court, I’d bet (not terribly long odds, but still …) that they’ll find that the rights enumerated in the First Amendment are indivisible: that, per Citizens United, corporations have full First Amendment rights and that includes the right of free exercise [1].

    The fun part will then come when corporations exercise their rights to, for instance, block immodest behavior in the workplace — by forbidding men and women to work together. Or, closer to the instant case, for Witnesses to deny coverage for blood products. Or Muslims to bar coverage for medical treatment by caregivers of the opposite sex.

    [1] This is characteristic of Chief Justice Roberts. He’s a long thinker, as demonstrated by his building an entirely new Constitutional meta-principle (“equal sovereignty”) in Shelby County out of dicta in an earlier case.

  11. 11
    raven

    The issue with the court case; should employers have the right to dictate reproductive choices for their (mostly female) employees.

    I don’t see why. They are employers, not dictators or slave masters.

  12. 12
    D. C. Sessions

    Religious discrimination might be illegal

    Good luck proving it. It doesn’t take much cleverness for an employer to fake up some other grounds, even in a State where they need grounds at all.

  13. 13
    coffeehound

    With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible…

    If it was real, I’d like to see that. Arks and Crosses and Shrouds, Oh my!

    “…. and then we want to show the impact of the Bible. The Bible has had an impact on just about every area of life, whether you like it or not, it has. It has impacted government, education, art, science, literature, you name it.”

    No argument there, though honesty should compel them to talk about all the impacts, good and bad(hint; not gonna happen)

    “…. Thirdly, is the story, meaning what does the book say.”

    Now that’s what I’d like to see, a sectarian Summer Slam! Wrestlemania 2014!

  14. 14
    howardhershey

    Easy peasy. Only allow atheists and agnostics to teach a course on the Bible. Or you could have it taught by Jews, Muslims, Buddists, Wiccans, Pagans, Hindus, or basically almost anyone but a Protestant Evangelical. That would ensure either that it would never get taught or would get taught with some objectivity.

  15. 15
    John Hinkle

    Green and his family own over 40,000 Bibles…

    Barton and other “scholars” come to visit Steve Green to discuss getting Bible study in schools. The butler answers the door…

    Butler: Ah, Mr. Barton! Professor Christian! Dr. Godspeed! Mr. Green is expecting you. Come in. Please have a seat in the library. Mr. Green will be with you shortly.

    They enter the library and the butler closes the library door … time passes… the scholars become curious of Green’s mighty book collection…

    Barton: I say, look at this antique weather-worn Bible.
    Christian: Yes, I see. Here’s another one.
    Godspeed: Wait, they’re all friggin Bibles!
    All: WTF?

    Barton tries the door.

    Barton: Holy shit, the door’s locked!!

    And from beyond the walls, a disembodied voice…

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!

  16. 16
    paulg

    Sure, why not. In an era when public schools are being gutted of funding for extra-curriculars, music, art, etc. let’s pay some douche to teach about the Bible. Makes perfect sense.

  17. 17
    Ichthyic

    It’s entirely possible to build such a curriculum from a genuinely scholarly and non-proselytizing perspective and it would be constitutional to do so

    it would also be a waste of time, given the tens of thousands of better books there are out there one could have an elective course to discuss.

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    He wants to teach a cartoon, highly edited, fictional version of the bible.

    IOW, he’ll be relying on Chick Tracts.

  19. 19
    iknklast

    I wish they would get a true, scholarly, properly taught bible curriculum in the high schools (or the grade schools, as long as it’s age appropriate in its instruction level). That’s the very thing that moved me from an apathetic deist to a full blown agnostic and eventually to atheism. Actually questioning the bible, challenging it, not going into it assuming truth and beauty, can be eye-opening for an intelligent, curious kid. Especially when they don’t get struck by lightning. ;-)

  20. 20
    democommie

    “How can you say that given the discovery of Noah’s Ark (not to mention the pieces of the Cross!”

    The whole 900′ JESUS with the frikkin’ lazer beam eyes is based on the fact that there is enough “True Cross” wood around to make a cross1600′ tall! Honest!!

  21. 21
    DaveL

    With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible

    Mr. Green seems blissfully unaware of his own linguistic ‘tells’. Reputable historians, archaeologists, and scientists use the word “evidence” as a mass noun – how much evidence, the evidence this or that. The use of the plural “evidences” is a particular affectation of one field in particular: theology, especially apologetics.

  22. 22
    democommie

    @21:

    Isn’t “evidences” one of those fucked-up adverbial neologisms that the wonkers tend to love?

  23. 23
    Modusoperandi

    democommie, do you have evidences of that?

  24. 24
    Ichthyic

    we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible

    something tells me that list of of archeological “evidence” will be a bit less than skeptical.

    I’d bet he won’t be including the research of Dr Hector Avalos, for example…

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