Can This Class Be Saved? Bible Course Compares Book of Exodus to Infamously Racist ‘Birth of a Nation’ Film

by Dan Quinn

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green and the nonprofit he created, Museum of the Bible, insist that respected scholars helped create their new Bible curriculum. But Mark Chancey, a biblical scholar at SMU in Dallas, questions how that could be true. Chancey found numerous errors and bizarre passages in his review of the curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

Here is just one example Chancey notes in his review of The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact:

[M]any film buffs will not miss the irony of the curriculum’s blithe suggestion that the Book of Exodus, which tells the story of the ancient Hebrews’ deliverance from slavery, “could be titled The Birth of a Nation (like the American film classic).” D. W. Griffith’s 1915 movie about the Civil War and its aftermath famously portrayed freed slaves as brutal, uncivilized, sexual aggressors. Originally known as The Clansman, it lionized the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan and helped spur the creation of the modern Klan. The movie concludes its approving portrayal of violent Klan suppression of African Americans with a hopeful vision of a peaceful, heavenly future for whites under the watchful care of Jesus. Needless to say, the curriculum’s passing comparison of Exodus to this movie is an unfortunate and inadequate introduction for high schoolers to this particular episode of film history.

Public schools in Mustang near Oklahoma City are planning to teach a pilot version of the new Bible curriculum in the coming school year.

For Chancey’s previous reports on public school Bible classes for the TFN Education Fund, click here, here and here.

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