Earlier this year, before the Supreme Court decision came down, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green announced that he had developed a Bible curriculum for public schools and that Oklahoma’s Mustang Public Schools board had voted to approve it and become the first district to implement it. The course would focus on the “narrative, history and impact of the Good Book.”
Green said in a video that he believed the course should be mandatory, though it would only be an elective for the time being.
In case you’re wondering, there are already courses like this in public schools around the country and they’re legal because they don’t treat the Bible as a Holy Book. (Though even that line is crossed far more than it should.) I think most defenders of church/state separation would agree that there’s a lot of value in teaching about the Bible because of the role it plays in literature, culture, and our own history… as long as you follow a simple rule: You can teach the Bible, but you can’t preach the Bible.
That was the big question people were asking: Would Steve Green’s Bible curriculum really be objective?
Turns out women have a better chance of finding birth control pills sold in Hobby Lobby’s aisles.
A first look at the course’s textbook showed instance after instance of the Bible being taught as factually, historically true — making it illegal for use in a public school.
It didn’t help that the Freedom From Religion Foundation exposed the all-too-cozy relationship between the Greens and the district administrators.
Today, finally, the Green family announced they would postpone the curriculum:
“We have operated on an aggressive timeline to deliver the curriculum for the upcoming school year,” wrote Jerry Pattengale, editor for the projected four-year high school syllabus, in a prepared statement. But “unforeseen delays” necessitated postponing the debut until January.
“Unforeseen delays” must be the euphemism for “Damn! They caught us!”
David Van Biema notes in his article that it’s unclear if the “current glitches are technical or editorial,” but it’s hard for me to believe a few tech glitches couldn’t be cleaned up in time for the beginning of the school year. This problem goes much deeper than that. The course needs a complete overhaul — or it needs to be scrapped altogether.
Maybe the Green family should just take the hint: Stop injecting your theology in places it doesn’t belong. The Supreme Court gave you a gift when they allowed you to make the lives of some of your female employees that much harder. Don’t screw up the school system, too.
(Top image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were posted earlier.)