Sometimes you have to wonder if people are really that stupid, or if they are acting stupid for nefarious purposes.
The inveterate trash purveyor, World Net Daily, carried a column with this headline: “Texas to teachers: Bible will be taught.“
It’s what you’d expect out of Texas, sort of, an order from the state to those darned secularists and atheists in the teaching biz, forcing them to teach the Bible to yearning-for-scripture chilluns.
But the story gets it almost exactly backwards: Texas’s Attorney General ruled that schools do NOT need to offer special electives in the Bible under a new state law.
And to the consternation of Bible thumpers everywhere, it appears that instead of Bible study, tough academic courses that may include serious literary and history criticism of scripture will fill the bill.
The post here at the Bathtub was headlined, “Texas AG rules: Bible classes not required.” In the Houston Chronicle, religionists got what might be their most favorable headline, “‘Bible bill’ for Texas schools up for interpretation,” though the body of the story made things pretty clear, I thought. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram was clear: “Texas Schools don’t have to offer Bible class, attorney general says.”
The opinion, over the signature of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, includes this clue to reporters: ” . . . the Legislature did not mandate that this curriculum instruction be provided in independent courses.”
So, how did World Net Daily get a story almost completely perpendicular to the facts? Perhaps they hope that some hapless Texas school district superintendent or board member will read their story, and not the AG’s decision, and order a Bible class. Especially if that class is the academically-discount version suggested by WND, from National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools in Greensboro, North Carolina, there is likely to be litigation — the school district will get sued and lose its shirt.
Who wins then? WND gets to report on the story and editorialize.
It’s interesting that at least two people who know better got suckered in, Ed Brayton and P. Z. Myers. If they can be fooled by WND, what school superintendent in Texas can be safe? Heaven knows what schools in other states might do.
You may want to check out:
- Texas Freedom Network, “Public School Bible Courses” — the most complete compilation of information on the issue on the internet, I think.