Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bible Study in Public Schools -- Two Oklahoma Bills that Need Time-Out

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Bible Study in Public Schools -- Two Oklahoma Bills that Need Time-Out

Oklahoma chapter --
National AU office --

Dear First Amendment Separationists:

Below you'll find a summary of two important bills that are pending in the Oklahoma legislature. The SB1338 was originally introduced by Sen Ivester, but as we know, once thrown in the hopper of the legislative mill, centrist ideas quickly morph beyond all recognition.

Such is the case SB1338.

The language of HB2321 has also morphed from an opportunity for a reasonable educational elective class into a dogmatic requirement for
the use of the explicit word "Christian" to be used.

The respective committees to which these bills have been assigned will likely hold hearings this week of March 22.

Please contact your legislator, both senator and representative, by phone as time is critical. You can use the talking points outlined below as the office assistant won't have much patience with anything longer. You can Identify your legislators and obtain all other contact information: .

Bible Study in Public Schools

SB 1338 mandates that courses use curriculum materials created by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a curriculum that has been ruled unconstitutional by a Federal court in Gibson v. Lee County School Board.

The founder of NCBCP, Elizabeth Ridenour has stated the reason for creating this curriculum is “to expose the kids to the biblical Christian worldview.”

Bible study in public schools must be taught in a secular, objective and academic manner, as well as expose students to critical perspectives on the bible and diversity of biblical interpretations. This bill does not do that.

Mark Chancey, a biblical studies professor at Southern Methodist University, as well as other biblical scholars and religious organizations have determined that the NCBCPS curriculum contains a distinct pro-Christian agenda and fails to meet scholarly standards.

It is unconstitutional under Sec. II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution to expend public money to advance religion, which this bill clearly does.

For these reasons, this bill should be rejected.


HB 2321 was amended to refer only to the Christian Bible, thus eliminating numerous other bible versions and translations from study.

Including “Christian” before every single reference to the Bible is clear evidence of a religious purpose in passing this bill.

Thus, this bill has the obvious purpose of promoting Christianity, which is unconstitutional under both the US Constitution and Sec. II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution prohibiting the expenditure of public money to advance religion.

For these reasons, this bill should be rejected.

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