The snarky press--but we repeat ourselves--felt obliged to point out that the president of the United States once again commented on a Fox News report featured in the early morning hours.
Yes, it's unfortunate that's where the man gets his information. And don't get us started on his having a Twitter account. But the president can use his bully pulpit as he pleases. Early in the week, at least one tweet gave conservatives hope that maybe the country isn't going to hell in a handbasket after all. Maybe just to heck in a wickerwork.
After a report on the number of states offering The Bible as Literature courses, the president tweeted his support. It's good to have friends in high places.
The Bible educational? Sweet Jesus, yes! One president of some note had little else at some points in his frontier life, often having to turn to The Book's pages for his education, when he couldn't get some Shakespeare or Euclid. Abraham Lincoln was a lot like other people in the wilderness of his youth, when the Bible might have been the only book in the house--or the one-room cabin. That may be why Lincoln's Second Inaugural has so many biblical cadences. Try reading it aloud. A. Lincoln made a great prophet. The man studied the Word.
Some states, like Arkansas, allow public schools to offer The Bible as Literature, and more and more states are catching up. With bills under review in Indiana, West Virginia, Florida and Missouri, the topic is getting play once again.
Bible as an education? At least the language would be improved. There'd be less filth, anyway, if our kids skimmed Ecclesiastes more often. And maybe less blasphemy, if they studied John the Revelator.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that religion can't be forced on our kids in taxpayer-funded public schools, but done right, the Bible can be taught. And, we'd add, it should be. Just look around for evidence that we live in a biblically illiterate era. Today, biblical references that were once recognized by every American of any class or demographic may elicit a strange look, or pass by without another comment, as if the person who made the utterance was talking a foreign language. Which, of course, he was. Which is why schools also offer foreign languages. It's called an education.
A teacher doesn't have to proselytize in order to teach. Fact is, the courts say a teacher can't. But a teacher can show how scripture guided most of the West's history, starting several millennia ago, when a man named Moses put together a few books. If that's still the opinion of modern scholars, which it isn't.
How about that for an week-long lesson? Who wrote the books of the Bible, and why was there so much confusion about such things in antiquity? Could it be compared to those who attribute their opinions to famous people today and upload it to their Facebook pages? Imagine the classroom debate.
The Bible is full of poetry. And war. And great people, not to mention those who betray with a kiss. There are stories about kings who kill, repent, and are forgiven. And kings who refuse to kill, and are cast aside.
Greatness? Forgiveness? Poetry? Are those just three more romantic notions that went out of style years ago, and should be left to old fogies born before Abington v. Schempp? Or is there room for such things in oh-so-modern classrooms?
Of course there is opposition. There always will be in this rambunctious country, founded by men who noted that our rights are unalienable--and endowed by our Creator, no less. Unfortunately, the last we looked, even in Arkansas the elective of The Bible as Literature has proceeded at a snail's pace. There are few more effective blockades to education, and other worthwhile goals, than the threat of lawsuits.
In such a culture, or lack of one, well-meaning people--such as school superintendents and principals--might dissuade any teacher bold enough to want to teach how the Bible influenced life in the Middle Ages, how that gave birth to the Renaissance, how many of the world's great pieces of art came from its stories, how some men used it for their own purposes throughout history. Even American history. How the Church ordered Galilieo to trial for writing that the Earth revolved around the sun. Heresy! (Is there a astronomy lesson here? There should be.)
Not teach the Bible as literature? We're doing our kids a disservice by not even offering it. Especially since the highest court in the land has given its permission to proceed.
As long as we do it right.
With firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.
Editorial on 02/03/2019
Print Headline: The president's blessing