Texas Public School Bible Courses: Preparing Students for the End Times

Public school Bible courses in Texas often promote particular religious beliefs as widely (or even universally) accepted. So it shouldn’t be surprising how a number of such courses feature a significant preoccupation with eschatology, the theology of the “end times.” From the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s new report, Reading, Writing & Religion II: Texas Public School Bible Courses in 2011-12 by Prof. Mark Chancey at Southern Methodist University in Dallas:

A Prosper ISD timeline on ‘Revelations’ [sic] … relates the fate of present-day Israel and the Jewish people with various verses: “Survival of the Jewish nations [sic] is one of the miracles of history and her greatest agony is yet to come. It was sealed in the book of Daniel 12:4-9, opened in Revelation 5:5, 7, 6:19, Matthew 28:21, 23, John 30:7, Revelation 12:12, 10.” The course explains that “the first time the Lord gathered his people back was after the Babylonian captivity. The second time the Lord will gather his people back will be at the end of the age.” Students in this course are taught that they themselves may be living in the last days. A discussion of the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 suggests that “each church represents a period of history” and concludes with “the lukewarm church of the 20th century, today the last period of church history.

Such content isn’t uncommon. Another example:

Lazbuddie ISD’s only resource makes concerns about the apocalypse the central idea for its Noah lesson: “We should have an understanding of what happened in Noah’s day if we are to know when the coming of our Lord is near. What are the similarities between the days of Noah and the days preceding the coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:37-39)?”

Even more:

Eastland ISD, among other districts, assumes that Christians will at some point be “raptured,” presenting students with a Venn diagram showing the pros and cons of theories that posit the rapture before the returning Jesus’ 1000-year reign and those that place it afterwards. Dayton ISD shows the movie Left Behind, a fictionalized depiction of the “end times” theology influential in some Protestant circles. Although Amarillo ISD’s course outlines four reading strategies for understanding Revelation (the “futurist, continuous historical, preterist, and philosophy of history” approaches), it nowhere exposes students to the standard scholarly interpretation of the book as a fairly typical ancient apocalyptic work that reflects concerns of the original author and his audience about threats facing them in their own time and environment.

The TFN Education Fund’s new report includes many other examples of serious flaws in Texas public school Bible courses. You can read a short overview of the report here. Read what some Texas courses teach about race, Judaism, and creationism, and how they portray the Bible as “one of the most accurate history books in the world.”

The new report and other TFN Education Fund reports on public school Bible courses are here.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    It is difficult for me to keep my anger under control when I read garbage like that being taught in public tax-supported schools. Christians think there is only ONE bible: Theirs that says unless you are “saved” you will spend eternity in a place of horrible torture? My God is not a monster who drools with pleasure over the eternal cooking of his people.

    Now, WHICH bible is being taught? The Christians think their’s is the only one. How ’bout the Book of Mormon, the Hebrew Tenach, the Koran, the Indian religious books???????

    God help anyone who tries to “save” me.

    • Hartmut
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

      Well, they believe that God created them in his image. Since they are digestive rear exits they naturally assume that their maker must be the same[/sarcasm]

  2. TPK
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    How can any of this possibly be legal?

    • Makoto
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Oh, it’s not.. but if they can keep it flying under the radar long enough, then it becomes tradition™, which apparently makes them think they can argue it in court.

  3. Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Reason, logic and common sense seem to have been abandoned in Texas. It is ok though, I am sure Gov. Perry will pray about this post haste.

  4. Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Why are the terms “public school” and Bible course” in the same sentence? What is going on?!?!?!

  5. Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Infuriating. No wonder we lag the world in math and science.

  6. Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    So many students being so horribly shortchanged in their education.

  7. Charles
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    A popular saying from the people of East Tennessee:

    “The things they is a sayin’ and a doin’. Why hits jist awful.”

  8. Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    So THIS is why climate change doesn’t matter…so let’s hurry it along!

  9. Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe my tax money is being used to financially support cults.

  10. Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    classy.

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