NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

So three Democrats in the Georgia Senate have proposed a bill authorizing local school boards to offer, at their own discretion, an elective course teaching historical and literary analysis of the Bible, because whatever you say about the divinity of its authors' inspiration, it is at the very least one of the oldest and most widespread artifacts of human culture. Naturally, the Republicans call horsepucky:
But Republicans criticized the move as simply pandering to faith-based voters in an election year.

"The Democrats are learning this year what Republicans for decades had to realize: When you are completely shut out of control, you have to play on the margins," said Matt Towery, a former GOP lawmaker who now runs an Atlanta political media firm. "This is reminiscent of many of the things we — when I was a Republican state legislator — had to introduce when we were in the minority."

Is it really pandering? Or is it a legitimate move by Democrats to point out, in a period when our party is consistently and mercilessly attacked as "godless," "atheist," and "anti-religion," that we are not as a rule an irreligious bunch of God-haters? Could this be the Democrats' way of saying, "Look, just because we have been opposed to your attempts to teach creationism in the science classroom doesn't mean we're trying to eradicate God from the whole fabric of society," considering the only time you ever hear the words "religion" and "Democrat" in the news they are placed wholly at odds?

I personally don't see a big problem with a cultural/sociological study of the Bible in public schools (and our guest speaker for tonight, Maggie Garrett of the ACLU, seems to agree), although I think I'd still feel more comfortable with the concept if the syllabus also included the important literary influences from other religious traditions, both from a "constitutional safeguard" perspective and from a "Americans are ethnocentric enough already could we PLEASE acknowledge something from another worldview just once" perspective.
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posted by Aerodad at 1/19/2006 12:22:00 PM


Blogger CatherineAtlanta said...

excellent post, shelby. i tend to prefer religion in church, but with proper balance of religious traditions (bible, koran, patti smith, john coltrane... ) i can support these fellas.

1/19/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

yeah, i personally would like to see a religious studies class that is world-centric, and talks about how religions, the many, have impacted civilization as we know it. There can be some specificity to Georgia and the influence of various religions on us, etc.,

1/19/2006 05:43:00 PM  

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