Welcome to Errattic! We encourage you to customize the type of information you see here by clicking the Preferences link on the top of this page.
The Big Problem With ‘Biblical Literacy’
America is, quite famously, a nation founded on the principle of freedom of religion. As a result it is easy to understand why many people would be uncomfortable with certain kinds of religious practices (mostly notably prayer) and education in public schools. A little over a week ago President Trump tweeted his support for the introduction of Biblical literacy classes in schools, drawing attention to efforts by a variety of Christian groups to put the Bible back on the high school agenda.
Following Trump’s statement there was a flurry of media coverage of the issue. Fox News reported that “at least six states, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia have introduced legislation this year pushing for public schools to offer Bible literacy classes,” noting that these classes would be electives. (The Indiana bill is not actually a Bible course bill at all. It demands that the previously existing world religions electives class has to include a conversation about the Bible).
There is a strategy here: Project Blitz, an initiative sponsored by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation and the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislative Network, has been orchestrating the push to create these bills.
As prominent SMU religious studies professor Mark Chancey has written, it’s actually already legal to teach the Bible in schools, so in some sense these bills are unnecessary. Courses like the one Trump is tweeting have been around for a century. Chancey told The Daily Beast that “it is important to recognize that Bible course bills and their sponsors may have different motivations…sometimes a bill is clearly about more than just biblical literacy, and that's definitely the case with Project Blitz bills.” Other measures that Project Blitz has called for includes the promotion of the motto “In God We Trust,” the introduction of a “year of the Bible” and the limiting of the rights of same-sex couples and transgender people. Chancey told me, “Project Blitz is weaponizing Biblical Literacy for the cultural wars.”
The Daily Beast