Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Here's an excellent quote from Camille Paglia via Against the Grain:
. . . I am very concerned about the cultural future of the United States in this kind of environment. Most people who are secular humanists having the idea that they are doing fine. We are doing fine and our only enemy is the Bible-based far right. The reason why the real threat is the far right is that they have the Bible. And the Bible is a masterpiece. The Bible is one of the greatest works produced in the world. The people who all they have is the Bible actually are set up for life. Not only do they have a spiritual vision given to them but artistic fulfillment. They don’t even recognize just the pleasure of dealing with this epic poetry and drama. Everything is in the Bible. What does the left have? The left has a lot of attitude.
--Camille Paglia, as quoted in "Birnbaum v. Camille Paglia" The Morning News August 3, 2005.
Speaking of which, Rich Lowry at National Review Online has been writing about the Bible Literacy Project.
The nonpartisan, Virginia-based Bible Literacy Project has set out methodically to return Bible education to the schools by answering the questions: Is it legal? Is it needed? How can it be done? "The Bible and Its Influence," a just-published textbook for use in grades 9-12, is the culmination of this effort. Rarely is a textbook an occasion for celebration or anything but moaning on the part of students, but this substantial, gorgeously produced, thoroughly vetted volume is an emphatic exception.

A few years ago, the Bible Literacy Project published together with the First Amendment Center a guide on how to teach the Bible in schools. The list of groups that have endorsed this consensus statement reads like a who's who from the clashing sides in the culture war, with People For the American Way Foundation on the one hand and National Association of Evangelicals on the other. In 1963, the guide notes, the Supreme Court struck down devotional Bible reading in schools as unconstitutional. But the court said schools may teach the Bible as long as it is "presented objectively as part of a secular program of education" — a message lost on most lawsuit-averse school boards.


Fred said...

As an English teacher, I do not teach the Bible directly, as I have a limited grasp of the full range of textual and other issues and I think that the Bible deserves decent treatment. I do think that the Bible is an excellent resource to bring in when studying other texts. With Wiesel's memoir, Night, for example, bringing in the story of the three men in the firey furnance from Daniel; with African American spirituals, showing the strong connection with the Psalms.

mrsdarwin said...

I remember my father telling me how once at work (this is only very obliquely related to the Bible in schools) he was once asked by a co-worker doing a crossword puzzle for the answer to the clue "Jacob's twin". My father answered "Esau" without having to think about it at all, and his co-worker was just amazed.

The story of Jacob and Esau is certainly not one of the more esoteric parts of the Bible. It's almost an unconscionable level of biblical (and cultural) illiteracy not to know the book of Genesis, which is packed with archetypes, the creation narratives, and some of the most powerful imagery in literature.