Chuck Norris’s brain waves could be picked up on a transistor radio — nobody knows because he doesn’t think.This must be a television advertising spot, but I hope it’s not rated as a public service spot, since it encourages stupidity and illegal school board actions.
(Is it my imagination, or is Norris using the same bottle of orange hair dye that Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-Mars, used in the last 65 years of his life?)
Norris is promoting the suspect curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS), a group of fundamentalist right-wingers who originally promoted “Thou Shalt Not Steal” with plagiarized material. Do not trust that curriculum.
Analysis of this curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network by a distinguished Bible scholar from Southern Methodist University, Dr. Mark Chancey, showed that the curriculum as revised still presents enormous legal problems — it promotes fundamentalist Christian theology — as well as being academically flaccid. Despite an update in late 2005/early 2006 designed to alleviate some of the more egregious errors of fact, Bible fact, and plagiarism, NCBCPS refuses to release their curriculum for analysis; copies obtained from schools in Texas show many of the old problems remain (see page 61 of this document).
Errors in Norris’s claims:
- The U.S. was not “founded on Biblical principles.” For Texas, teaching this would lead students astray of the state’s Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
- The Supreme Court has never ruled that it’s legal to teach with the Bible as a textbook. In obiter dicta in religion in the schools cases, the Court has noted that a non-sectarian, fair teaching of the Bible as literature, or as it relates to history, should be part of a full and complete education. Specifically, the Court has never ruled that a course such as the one Norris proposes would be legal; instead, the Court has held consistently that course content that appears to be religious indoctrination as this course, is illegal, a violation of students’ religious rights and and over-reach by government. School boards may not endorse one faith over another.
- The count of schools using the NCBCPS curriculum is inflated. The group refuses to identify any school using their materials, but their claims in Texas were found to be inflated when compared with the materials school districts actually used.
Religion has played a big role in U.S. history. No student needs to be converted to Christianity in order to study that role. Nor does the role of Christianity need to be exaggerated.
Good Bible curricula exist, open to inspection, passed by religious scholars, approved by First Amendment and education lawyers. See the materials from the Bible Literacy Project, for a good example. NCBCPS’s curriculum, the one Norris promotes, is not that approved, educationally valuable curriculum.
Below the fold: Texas Faith Network’s guidelines for using the Bible in public schools