Can This Class Be Saved? 'This Nation Is in Danger,' Steve Green Says

Yesterday the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released our latest report, Can This Class Be Saved? Authored by Southern Methodist University religious studies professor Mark Chancey, the report looks at a new public school Bible curriculum created with backing from Hobby Lobby President Steve Green.

Green, as you’ll recall, has been in the news a lot lately because of his company’s Supreme Court challenge, on religious liberty grounds, to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include coverage for birth control in employee health insurance plans.

The Bible curriculum, which Green hopes will be used all over the country, will get its first test run in public schools in Mustang, Oklahoma, this coming school year. Green maintains his aim is to develop a Bible curriculum that’s constitutionally permissible in public schools. For that to be true, as we have explained in our previous reports on public school Bible courses, Green’s course would have to be taught in an academic, non-devotional manner that refrains from promoting or disparaging religion or promoting one particular faith perspective over all others.

So is that the case with the Green-sponsored Bible curriculum? Chancey’s report raises some serious concerns, and Green’s own comments suggest the answer is “no” and offer a window into what his real intent may be.

In a speech from April 2013, Green discussed the curriculum and what he hopes it will accomplish. Here’s a transcription from the video above:

This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught. There is (sic) lessons from the past that we can learn from, the dangers of ignorance of this book. We need to know it. And if we don’t know it, our future is going to be very scary. So we need to be able to teach and educate students. We discussed a college curriculum, but said, no we really want to be into the high school level, because we want to reach as many as possible. And someday, I would argue, it should be mandated. Here’s a book that’s impacted the world unlike any other, and you’re not going to teach it? There’s something wrong with that.

“This nation is in danger” because of its “ignorance of what God has taught”? That doesn’t sound like purely academic instruction, nor does it sound non-devotional, nor does it sound like it’s not promoting one faith over all others. Many would also have a big problem with Green’s suggestion that its teaching should be “mandated.”

Still, Green goes on to try to make the point that his intent would be to teach the Bible in a non-sectarian way.

So if we were to take this book — it’s not about a faith tradition, it’s not about a religion, it’s about a book. Here’s a book that has impacted our world. Here’s its history, here’s how it’s impacted it, and here’s what it has to say. In a non-sectarian way, we just want to teach, this is what the book’s about. And then let the evidence stand for itself. And, again, the evidence is overwhelming.

His last point rings somewhat hollow given Green’s earlier comments.

Here’s the video. And we’ll have more on Can This Class Be Saved? in the coming days.

4 thoughts on “Can This Class Be Saved? 'This Nation Is in Danger,' Steve Green Says

  1. Mr. Green reflects one of the most basic problems with Christian fundamentalism. The focus is not on the person of Jesus Christ, the things He said, the things He did, and trying to become one in mind and heart with Him. Rather, Christian fundamentalism is all about a book (binding, ink, and paper) that is held in higher esteem by the “religious system” than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who gave it. The Bible says that there is a name that is above every other name, and it says that name is “Jesus.” Several fundies have told me in no uncertain terms that this is wrong: “There is a name that is above every name, and that name is “Bible.” They have really and sincerely told me this. Christian fundamentalism worships the Bible as if it is God itself, which many more capable and educated Christian ministers down through the ages have clearly fingered as a form of idolatry.

    Therefore, it is no wonder that Mr. Green is concerned. Like most fundies, he probably feels that American society and culture pose a threat to the Bible—and perhaps most important—he would like people to learn more about it and what it says. Then, if you are the right kind of person and you enjoy chatting with and otherwise interacting with the Bible, you will learn that the “son of soy and a pulp mill” is not such a bad guy after all. Then this “god” will no longer look dangerous and will be allowed to live and spread the fundie message to your kids in public schools. Christian fundamentalists have been trying to SAVE THE BIBLE ever since the late 1800s. The Bible must be saved!!! Your kids must become fundies just like us!!! Otherwise, there is no hope for them and no hope for Uhmerica.”

    All I can say is this: “If this god called the Bible is so weak and always teetering on the edge of being wiped out, it must be a damned sorry god.” That’s “god” with a lower case “g” on purpose.

    For those of us in the rest of the worldwide Christian community, which the fundamentalists refer to with hatred and venom as the apostates, we prefer to declare and follow the PERSON of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—not only as they are taught about in the Bible—but also as they move about, communicate with us, and do good things in this world—and we try to cooperate with them and work with them in spirit and truth to accomplish the fruits of their love in this world with our fellow man, woman, and child.

    Personally, I do not want the public school systems to be teaching this warped view of “Christianity” that has Bible Idolatry at its center, while giving only lip service to the person of Jesus Christ. Decent churches do a much better job than the public schools would ever do in this work. This is why the ministers work down at the churches rather than as public school administrators down at the schools.

    Basically, and I think this is what MUST happen, the ACLU and Americans United need to head on down to Mustang, Oklahoma, and kill this Bible course before it has a chance to grow. Of course, I would guess that Mustang was specifically chosen because the founders of the course (and their lawyers) view Mustang as a place where offended nonfundie parents with legal standing would be unlikely to step forward and file a federal lawsuit against teaching the course.

    And this highlights one of the other key weaknesses of Christian fundamentalism and clearly demonstrates that the person of Jesus Christ really has little to do with this cult. No person will file a lawsuit in Mustang because the fundies who live there will create and maintain an atmosphere of hatred, fear, and intimidation so strong that no voice would dare stand up in opposition to it. As we already know from all over the United States, whenever a First Amendment complaint is filed in federal court, the faithful fundies (all supposed followers of Jesus Christ) start sending out hate mail, threats to burn houses down, and death threats. Where is the person of Jesus Christ in this behavior?

  2. Mr. Green is transparently simple. He’s a rich guy with a religious psychosis. No, I’m not a psychiatrist but I bet there’s enough material in Mr. Green for an entire thesis!

    Also, Mr. Green is a total liar to profess wanting to “merely” promote the historical significance of the Bible. If someone wants to learn that there are many better, scholarly and accurately researched resources than the opinionated Watchtower-esque tract that Green has produced. Obviously, Green wants to “spread the message” and he thinks his money can buy access into the public schools.

    Alas, he might get his way in a weak-minded state like Oklahoma but I suspect even if he succeeds his project will be short lived. Unless mandated (and that’s not going to happen!) who in their right mind is going to waste an elective in high school taking “Bible study?” The only kids who would attend are already indoctrinated, so Green’s efforts are doomed to failure from the outset.

    Why isn’t this obvious to Mr. Green? As I said: money + psychosis. Nothing to do with rational thinking, just swinging the authority stick.

    1. Hi Doc. I am a nice guy with a religious psychosis.

      I would be happy for people to join me in my Jesus psychosis. However, it is a matter of faith rather than scientific facts, and I do not profess to have a corner on any area of knowledge or faith so tightly that I would be willing to force it on someone else against their will.

      Some of the fundies who visit here and some of the atheists/agnostics probably wonder why I am not constantly beating unbelievers (like the atheists/agnostics) on the brow, telling them what horrible human beings they are, informing them about how much God hates them, and telling them what program they need to “get with.”

      Actually, God has not told me to beat anyone’s brow. God has not told me that He hates these people—in fact just the opposite in the New Testament. And generally speaking, they would not “get with” any program I might recommend because their path is already firmly decided.

      And why is that? Well, agnostics are searchers who have not really decided on anything religious. As long as they keep searching, they will most likely find something at the end of their search. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.”

      As for the atheists, they have already sought and found. In fact, in terms of factual knowledge, atheists are some of the most informed people I have ever known—light years beyond most people. Atheists are people who have already deeply considered and made up their minds about things religious—and just as strongly and firmly as the fundies have on their end of the spectrum. I doubt that I or anyone else could say anything that would change their minds. God does not force them to believe in him. He has given them a choice, and it is not my job to take away that choice that God has so freely given them. If God wants one of them to believe in him, I suspect that only God is up to the job of convincing that person to get on some wagon.

      But here is the curious thing, and it is very mysterious. Jesus said that he most appreciates the people in this life who DO the will of his Father rather than those who just sit on their soap box talk about it and do little or nothing. Jesus also said that those who are not against him are really with him. Yes, He said that.

      I have rarely ever heard an agnostic or atheist who was willing to force his or her beliefs about religion on other people against their will—quite the opposite of the fundies. Most appear to be “live and let live” sorts of people who just happen to not believe in God. In this sense, they are for Jesus rather than against him.

      Furthermore, and I think this is key, I have almost never heard an atheist or agnostic who disrespected the person of Jesus or most of the things Jesus said and did with regard to how we should treat each other as human beings. The words of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are understood and respected by most of the atheists I know—and many of them actually live it out in life as best they can for whatever reason and however consciously or unconsciously. They may not be doing it specifically and consciously for Jesus—but they are doing it nonetheless. The fundies I know run from those “do unto others” words of Jesus like they would run from bubonic plague.

      If there ever is a final judgement in the sense that the fundies believe, Jesus said that there would be a lot of surprises. The last will be first, and the first will be last—meaning that all of those people who are full of pride and cock sure of their faith and righteousness might have a big surprise in store on that final day. It also means that many of those the fundies were so cock sure had no chance at all and were totally written off may be going into the doors of the Kingdom before they do. I think it will be interesting to see what happens with those atheists and agnostics who did not believe in Jesus consciously in this world but did believe in him unconsciously and wholeheartedly by the way they lived their lives and the things they did for others in this life. Mind you. I am not advocating a program of salvation of atheists by “works” rather than grace. What I am saying is that the things that some people do in this life for others may reflect an extant unconscious state of mind and heart that are (by their very nature) “with Jesus” rather than against him, and Jesus may honor that as true faith in him. If that is true, God may actually give Steve Schafersman the honor of flinging Rousas Rushdoony’s sorry ass into the Lake of Fire. It’s like Jesus and Gomer Pyle said: Surprise!!! Surprise!!! Surprise!!!

  3. It is clear that the agenda of the Far Right and especially Steve Green, that they’re going to try to mandate the teachings and doctrines of a holey book that is ancient in origin and was written by a group of goat herders who were hallucinating on some type of weed or chemical substance. The mandating of doctrinal teachings of the buybull, is not only unconstitutional but shows a penchant for authoritarian regimes.
    Too often the real agenda of the Far Right is couched in simple terms, but the hidden agenda is one which will cause authoritarianism to become the mode of operation of the government of the U.S. We are not an authoritarian government despite the protestations to the contrary. We progressives/liberals value freedom of conscience and of course freedom from religion. The Far Right would put in place policies that are antithetical to freedom and that would make the Islamic nations look like America used to. We must start being the change that we wish to have, Americans of conscience must become politically astute and not apathetic towards the freedoms that we want to be the future of our nation.