Hobby Lobby owner branches out


Steve Green, the president of the company Hobby Lobby that has a case pending in the US Supreme Court where they argued that they did not have to comply with the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act because of the religious objections of the owners, has even greater ambitions for the role of religion in public life. He has financed a new curriculum that he wants public schools to adopt that consists of a “four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact” of the Bible. One school district in Oklahoma has already adopted it.

This is going to run straight into a lawsuit because while the Supreme Court in the past has ruled that schools can teach about the Bible in a secular, academic, and neutral manner, what this curriculum seeks to do is something else entirely.

In an award acceptance speech last April before the National Bible Association, Green explained that his goals for a high school curriculum were to show that the Bible is true, that it’s good and that its impact, “whether (upon) our government, education, science, art, literature, family … when we apply it to our lives in all aspects of our life, that it has been good.”

In the same speech, Green expressed hope that such courses would become mandatory, whereas now they are usually elective.

What people like Green seem to be hoping for is that the nature of the court has changed sufficiently so that they will be more sympathetic to inserting religion into schools than courts of the past.

These people never stop in their attempts to insert religion into public schools, however many setbacks they receive. As long as they have the money, they will keep at it. This is why I am unsympathetic to those who argue that we secularists should not fight to keep passive symbolic religion such as ceremonial prayer out of public life, that these are trivial intrusions of religion. The problem is that religious people will never be satisfied with just the symbolic trappings of religion but will use those to keep pushing to expand the role of religion. We have to be as implacable in our opposition as they are in their determination to advance it.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    So I guess this pretty much proves that Green isn’t just trying to use his religion to get out of paying taxes or health care fees or whatever. He really does have a sincerely held religious belief to be a complete ass.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Green explained that his goals for a high school curriculum were to show that the Bible is true, …

    Oh good! I can’t wait to hear how he reconciles the Nativity narrative in Matthew, where Jesus must have been born in 4 BC or earlier, with Luke, where Jesus must have been born in 6 AD or later.

  3. raven says

    Green with his BC case is all about power and nothing to do with religion.

    He doesn’t really care about birth control. There is nothing that can or will prevent his employees from getting BC. They will simply take the money he pays them and buy it.

    BTW, Green himself only has 3 children not the 10 or 15 he might have had without birth control. Who knows, maybe he just used his personality as a birth control method but hypocrisy is one of the three fundie sacraments.

    Green is worth $5 billion. He can afford to indulge his hobby of trying to force his kooky religion on the rest of us.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    In the same speech, Green expressed hope that such courses would become mandatory, whereas now they are usually elective.

    I know that historians and archaeologists are constantly finding new data that changes our views of history, but when I was in school we were taught that many people emigrated to the American colonies because the governments in Europe had tried to force them to worship in ways different from how they themselves saw fit, and that was a very bad thing to do to people. So, when did we change our minds about that?

  5. raven says

    So, when did we change our minds about that?

    About 3,000 years ago when we discovered that you can use religion to gain and keep power and money.

    (Or maybe it was earlier. It might have been the Sumerians.)

  6. John Horstman says

    @moarscienceplz #4: We sort of changed our minds with the ratification of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. The religiously-motivated emigrants from Europe turned right around and established theocratic colonies. Churches were legal institutions for much of the colonial period, with the ever-expanding application of the Establishment Clause through court rulings slowly rolling back their degree of influence on the public sphere. The Fourteenth Amendment extended the protections further via Equal Protection and the application of rights defined in federal law to the states.

    Basically, the early religious colonists didn’t think mandating religion was a bad idea at all, they just objected to someone mandating any religion that wasn’t theirs. Sound familiar? (They haven’t changed their views of church-state entanglement much in 300 years.)

  7. Crimson Clupeidae says

    It was pointed out somewhere here on FTB just recently that a more accurate description of the early pilgrims motivations is that they really wanted the ‘right’ to establish a theocracy that refleceted their religion (duh). This is easily seen in all of the de-facto official religions of the various colonies and their history of persecuting others.

    The whole ‘religious freedom’ meme makes a nice story for high school level understanding, but it whitewashes much of the bad that came along with it.

  8. Lonely Panda, e.s.l. says

    Oh good! I can’t wait to hear how he reconciles the Nativity narrative in Matthew, where Jesus must have been born in 4 BC or earlier, with Luke, where Jesus must have been born in 6 AD or later.

    Perhaps these could be simultaneously true and thus a tenet of born-again Christianity?

  9. jimmyfromchicago says

    @Crimson–You might says that the Pilgrims didn’t leave England because they were being persecuted; they were kicked out for trying to persecute everybody else.

  10. smrnda says

    Yeah, we could talk about the influence of the Bible on the US, like business owners who are Christians wanting to violate laws about health care coverage and discrimination against same-sex couples. The Bible still, regrettably, has too much influence. I don’t think that’s the course he wants taught, but it would be accurate.

  11. Endorkened says

    And once again, as resident fringe guy who’s on every watchlist and possible FBI agent provocateur, I feel it’s my duty to say: Stage a coup, take over the country, herd the Christians onto reservations, kidnap all their children and force them to wear hemp clothing and go to Montessori schools.

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