Monday, March 10, 2008

Oklahoma prepares to allow students to answer science tests according to their religious convictions.

According to the Edmond Sun, the Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee has just approved House Bill 2211. The bill is expected to pass the full House, and then to go to the Senate. Its authors describe it as promoting freedom of religion in the public schools.

The bill requires public schools to guarantee students the right to express their religious viewpoints in a public forum, in class, in homework and in other ways without being penalized. If a student’s religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student’s incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.

The school would be required to reward the student with a good grade, or be considered in violation of the law. Even simple, factual information such as the age of the earth (4.65 billion years) would be subject to the student’s belief, and if the student answered 6,000 years based on his or her religious belief, the school would have to credit it as correct.

If a student chose to take his opportunity to speak to a group of students in a school-sanctioned assembly to tell them they must accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior or go to hell, then that student would have a right to do so, according to this bill.

The same would be true if the student chose to tell the assembled students that they would not go to hell, that there is no hell and that those who promote belief in hell are liars. What if a Wican student chose to tell the assembled students that the only true God is Nature, or a member of a radical religious sect advocated assassination in order to preserve God’s will? According to this bill, those students would be free, in a forum supported by the school, to do so.

In Texas, a similar bill has been law for several months. Denton, Texas Independent School District, responding to the law, has decreed that no students may ever speak in assembly, to graduation, to the crowd at an athletic event or in other group function. As reported in The Denton Record Chronicle Sept. 1, the superintendent there said if no students are ever allowed to speak, then there will be no discrimination and no basis for lawsuits.

Question Authority looks forward to the time when ever student will be able to respond to any test question with: "The Flying Spagetti Monster tells me I can't respond unless I'm allowed to dress in my pirate suit."

Article here.

1 comment:

Scott S said...

God help us all. In the words of Michelle Goldberg, author of "Kingdom Coming", this is 'Christian nationalism' -- the conviction that so-called true Christianity must govern every aspect of public and private life, and that all —- government, science, history and culture must be understood according to the dictates of Biblical scripture.

For those who value secular society, apprehending the threat of Christian nationalism is tricky. It's like being a lobster in a pot, with the water heating up so slowly that you don't notice the moment at which it starts to kill you, but I would say that laws like this are akin to turning the burner on!