"The course is designed not as a religious class or as a Bible study... It is helping students understand a classical illusion [sic] of references to the Bible."
So what's this about? What are Westminster residents Mary Ann Shields and Walter Shulte talking about? Well, the Huntington Beach Union High School District is considering their proposal to allow for a "Bible As Literature" elective course to be offered at the high schools. So what's worng with this? Let me tell you about it down below...
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
So what's wrong with it? Well, why didn't they do this earlier?! No really, this is actually a good proposal. Here's some more from today's OC Register story:
The proposed curriculum, which includes mock trials and presentations, meets California requirements for school materials and was written by Nader Twal at Millikan High School in Long Beach, Shields and Schulte said. Teachers would be chosen according to their academic qualifications and not religious affiliations and would be teaching from the King James version of the Bible, they said.
The course will focus on the literary style and nature of the Bible as well as biblical references in popular literature.
References to the Bible can be found in Shakespearean works, "Moby Dick," "Jane Eyre" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" as well the Declaration of Independence and other political documents and court cases, Shields said.
This doesn't violate Separation of Church and State. This doesn't promote the teaching of the Bible as real science. Nope, this is actually how the Bible should be taught in public schools.
There are scores of Biblical allusions found throughout literature. In fact, in order to fully understand many works of literature, one must also understand the Biblical stories that they refer to. So now that I think about it, a "Bible as Literature" class can be quite helpful for students preparing for AP English and/or Collegiate Literature classes.
And now that I think of this also, the Bible itself is a great work of art. Its imaginative stories have captivated people for millennia. Its verbal portraits have inspired artists to create wonderful works of visual art. Basically if one takes the religion out of the Bible, one has an artistic masterpiece. And that's how the Bible should be taught.
So should the Huntington Beach Union High School District allow for this course? Absolutely, so long as it truly does teach the Bible as a work of literary art, AND NOT as absolute truth. After all, when one tries to take everything in the Scriptures literally, one misses the true artistic beauty of the Scriptures.