There is an excellent article out there on AU’s official blog about why things are going so wrong in Arkansas. I have always advocated the (critical and secular) teaching of religions in Public school, so long as they are not simply havens for proselytizing by Sunday School teachers and pastors. If a student wants to learn about their faith, churches and synagogues and mosques provide an element that public schools, the bastions of our general education (not to mention it’s paid for by government funds, i.e. taxes), should not teach. However, critical education about religion should be taught, since a great deal of what fundamentalists want to teach is not only anti-science, but anti-Bible, anti-scholarship, anti-archaeology…well, just about anti-everything (that doesn’t conflict with the faith of the fundamentalist in question). Here is a snippet from the AU blog article:
Every year, you can count on state legislators coming along with proposals for public schools to teach “about” the Bible and its influence on art and literature.
It sounds good in theory. After all, the Supreme Court has never said that objective study about religion is unconstitutional.
In fact, in the landmark 1963 school prayer decision Abington v. Schempp, Justice Tom Clark observed, “[I]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”
But, they say, the devil is in the details. And some people who are promoting these classes seem to be trying to hide that devil.
I recommend it highly.