December 02, 2005

Christian fundamentalists don't just want to change the way science is taught in US schools.

They're forcing other subjects through their religious filters as well.

Back in August, we blogged about how a group of fundamentalist Christian schools are suing the University of California in order to force the UC system to give credit for high school science courses the embrace the creationist worldview. According to the suit filed by the Association of Christian Schools International, UC's policy of refusing to give credit for classes that use textbooks that challenge the reality of evolution discriminates against 'Christian' schools and attempts to secularize the schools.

The fundamentalists' lawsuit specifically objects to UC's refusal to accept courses that use science books pubished by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books. At the time of our earlier post, we went over to these publishers' websites and looked at some of their science books, and we found stuff like the following from books currently in the Bob Jones catalog:

The description of a grade 7–12 book on the fossil record:

A discussion of the evidence from the fossil record, which supports the biblical view regarding the Flood and disproves the evolutionary view.

From the introduction to a text on space and earth science:

The answers to important questions such as those above can be found only in Scripture. It seems proper, then, that whenever you are faced with a question you should first find out what the Bible has to say about it. If the Bible speaks clearly onthe issue, then you have your answer. If it is silent, then you must use the reasoning ability that God has given you to find an answer that is consistent with what Scripture says.

[You'll find more examples in our earlier post.]

Since our August post, the suit against UC has gone to trial, and more examples of the texts used by the fundamentalist Christian schools have come to light. It turns out that it's not just the science texts that present their subjects in a manner that's troublesome. Here are some excerpts compiled by Thomas Vinciguerra in the NY Times:

"United States History for Christian Schools," written by Timothy Keesee and Mark Sidwell (Bob Jones University, 2001), says this about Thomas Jefferson.

American believers can appreciate Jefferson's rich contribution to the development of their nation, but they must beware of his view of Christ as a good teacher but not the incarnate son of God. As the Apostle John said, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22). [...]

"Elements of Literature for Christian Schools," by Ronald Horton, Donalynn Hess and Steven Skeggs (Bob Jones University, 2001), faults Mark Twain for calling God "an irascible, vindictive, fierce and ever fickle and changeful master."

Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless. Denying that he was created in the image of God, Twain was able to rid himself of feeling any responsibility to his Creator. At the same time, however, he defiantly cut himself off from God's love. Twain's skepticism was clearly not the honest questioning of a seeker of truth but the deliberate defiance of a confessed rebel.

Emily Dickinson, too, is criticized for her lack of faith.

Dickinson's year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary further shaped her "religious" views. During her stay at the school, she learned of Christ but wrote of her inability to make a decision for Him. She could not settle "the one thing needful." A thorough study of Dickinson's works indicates that she never did make that needful decision. Several of her poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.

If you go through the previous quotes and substitute, say, 'socialism' or 'Karl Marx' for each instance of 'God', 'Christ', or 'God's love', you get the picture of why the UC system isn't willing to grant transfer credit for classes that use these texts.

Posted by Magpie at December 2, 2005 03:19 AM | Science | Technorati links |