Texas now has a law that requires all public schools to offer an elective course in the Christian bible, thanks to a bill authored by Warren Chisum, who will for all eternity be remembered as the “Bible-thumping dwarf from Pampa,” a phrase by Molly Ivins. This is a tricky one; I’m not opposed to teaching the bible as an example of literature, since it is, and is a rather widely used source in addition, but there’s more here than a Texas hick acquiring a sudden and previously unexhibited appreciation for literature. He may have to be remembered for something else — a palpable knack for dimwitted irony.
You see, it has to be the Christian bible, not one of them upstarts like the Bhagavad Gita or the Torah or the Quran or the Book of Mormon, ’cause none of those have historical or literary value. Really. He said that.
And Chisum said the legislature specifically addressed the Bible, not the Quran or any other religious writing, because “the Bible as a text … has historical and literary value.”
“It can’t go off into other religious philosophies because then it would be teaching religion, when the course is meant to teach literature,” he said.
I am amused. So you must teach the bible because it’s literary, but if you teach any of those other books, why, you’re just trying to sneak religion into the classroom.