It hardly seems possible that with California’s irreligious reputation, a school district would choose to add the bible to its curriculum.  But the  Chino Valley School District has done so.

Beginning this fall, high school seniors of the Chino Valley School District will have the chance to enroll in a new course called “Bible as/in Literature and History.”

[The class] will offer a survey of the Bible, beginning with the historical context of the Old Testament, and then will focus on the New Testament later in the semester. It will also provide students with a historical knowledge of the Middle East.

I’m certainly not opposed to students learning that yes, Israel was a nation long before 1948, and that Jews have been a part of that region for thousands of years.  Perhaps that will reduce the number of people who think they should “go back” to Germany and Poland.  If high school seniors learn Jewish history, then maybe Jewish students will be safer on California college campuses where Israel is routinely delegitimized.

If it really is taught in that way, it could be a valuable addition to the curriculum.  But the article leads me to believe it’s a back door effort to proselytize.  Fred Youngblood, president of the Board of Education, said, “It is my belief that better understanding the Bible will help all students with their decision-making process. …The Bible has been a part of my life ever since I could remember. It has had a very positive influence on me and my family.   It is my hope that our students will have a better understanding of the impact the Bible has had on all that surrounds us.”

Social cons will celebrate this development.  California schools have whitewashed Islam and allowed Islamic proselytism, they’ll argue, and this doesn’t even come close to counterbalancing that.   But fiscal cons will groan, and rightfully so.  California already has a budget shortfall of more than $25 billion. Chino Valley School District already must cut the budget by $30 million.   Now is not the time to add an inevitable, expensive, legal battle.  Social cons would do better to work at getting Islam (and other religions) out of the schools rather than getting their own in.


Cross posted to Pursuing Holiness.

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