There are now two competing curricula available for teaching about the bible in a public school elective course, the NCBCPS curriculum and the Bible Literacy Project. The former, you will recall, was thoroughly trashed by SMU religious studies professor Mark Chancey, whereupon the NCBCPS and their followers called him all sorts of names and then admitted he was right by making many of the changes he suggested. The new curriculum, however, is still heavily sectarian and contains many factual inaccuracies. The Bible Literacy Project, on the other hand, is brand new and is the end result of a good deal of work by reputable scholars to put together an objective course that teaches about the bible without endorsing its content, which is the only constitutional way to go about it.
Bill Wilson, who bills himself as a “senior analyst” for “KIN” (which stands for Koenig’s International News, an end times prophecy ministry), has issued a press release comparing the two and endorsing the NCBCPS curriculum. In the process, he pretty much manages to discredit the constitutionality of the curriculum he endorses. He writes:
According to the Supreme Court, the public schools cannot endorse religion by teaching it, but the Bible can be taught as a literary or historic curriculum as an elective. And the conservative National Council on Bible Curriculum In Public Schools has been offering a King James Based-based curriculum, used in some 1,100 high schools in 37 states.
The National Council on Bible Curriculum, however, is now challenged by The Bible Literacy Project, who will offer a textbook-based curriculum in schools next year. Its standards are endorsed by the National Education Association, and the liberal National Association of Evangelicals. These standards were developed in part by Charles Haynes, who once worked for Americans United for Separation of Church and State and was on the advisory board of The Pluralism Project, comprised also of people like Wicca priestess Margot Adler. Haynes and others involved with the project are “communitarians”, who believe individual needs and rights are secondary to the interests of the state.
Notice how he starts right off with attempts to poison the well by picking out one (out of dozens) of scholars involved in the writing of the BLP curriculum and making the entirely irrelevant statement that he was an advisor on a totally different project that included – gasp! – a Wiccan! Does this sort of argument actually work with anyone with an IQ over room temperature?
Dr. Dennis Cuddy, a former Education Department official and currently a commentator on education issues, reviewed both curriculums. He describes the Bible Literacy Project’s textbook as the liberal’s answer to the Bible-based approach of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. He said the Bible Literacy Project’s textbook could lead children to believe that parts of the Bible are mythology and cause them to question whether God is good. He said there are problems he has with the Bible Literacy Projects program that he does not have with that of the Council’s.
First, Cuddy says, the BLP’s textbook does not have a complete curriculum; second, he believes there are factual errors in the presentation of the Bible; and he strongly believes that the BLP’s textbook does not teach the Bible as the inerrant word of God.
Now let’s pause and review. First he says that the Supreme Court has ruled that you can teach about the bible as long as you don’t endorse its content (which is true). Then he says that, unlike the NCBCPS curriculum, the BLP curriculum “does not teach the Bible as the inerrant word of God.” Is that not an admission that the NCBCPS curriculum does teach the bible as the inerrant word of God, i.e. that it does endorse the Bible as being 100% true, in violation of the very standard he cites above? Bad move, Bill.