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Our Godly American Heritage thinks the Constitution is Wrong!

27 March, 2009

From the Idaho Press-Tribune (via Americans United for Separation of Church and State):

A 77-year-old retired teacher by the name of Chuck Sheldon, founder and executive director of Our Godly American Heritage, has decided that public schools should be allowed to teach the Bible. 

“The people of Idaho are not going to put up with the fact that their Constitution does not allow them to do it,” Seldon said about teaching the Bible in schools. “It’s a book and can be taught without getting involved with devotional or religious rhetoric.” (Various courts have already ruled that courses on the Bible may be taught in public schools so long as they are academic in nature, neutral and objective, so I don’t see what his problem is.)

Among those who have signed the initiative so far, Seldon said he’s collected some Idaho lawmakers’ support, including Rep. Robert Schaefer, R-Nampa. (Raise your hand if you are surprised at the letter ‘R’.)

“I don’t see that as trying to inflict any specific religion on anybody,” (if that is so, where are courses about the Q’uran, the Mahayana sutras, the Book of Hope or the Necronomicon?)   Schaefer said. “It’s mostly direction from the prime supervisor to tell us how to get by better in life.”  (The prime supervisor?  Is that a way of saying ‘god’ without saying ‘god’?  And if it tells “us how to get by better in life” that would be teaching religion, right?  Or am I missing something here?)

“There might be some people that object that don’t have a good relationship or rapport with the one who set everything up in the beginning,” (so, obviously, anyone who objects to teaching Christian religion classes in the public schools must be godless atheistic Satan-worshippes out to expunge the Christian religion from its godly place in America) Schaefer added. Leaders of two Boise secular groups say teaching the Bible in public schools would amount to teaching religion.  (And they are right.  Sort of.)

So Our Godly American Heritage thinks that the United States Constitution is wrong.  Because they only like Godly heritage, not actual historical heritage.  Big surprise.

As AU says it,

If all Sheldon wants is for Idaho schools to teach an academic Bible course, he’s wasting his time. Courts have already ruled that courses on the Bible may be taught in public schools so long as they are academic in nature, neutral and objective. We’re sure, as a leader of a group advocating public school Bible curriculum, he already knows that.

Which leads us to assume Sheldon has a larger agenda.

On his group’s Web site, they claim the “Founding Fathers created a nation under God” and that their mission is to “re-establish Bible education within our public schools.” The group also believes that “the 1962 Supreme Court decision to remove Biblical teaching within our public schools is unconstitutional.” (Actually, in 1962 the court said in Engel v. Vitale that government-sponsored prayer, not Bible reading, is unconstitutional in public schools.)

In addition to the mission statement, the group’s Web site contains several other misleading statements and historical inaccuracies, including the claim that “George Washington and the other Founding Fathers of our nation have made it very clear that our nation cannot survive without the Bible as the foundation of all areas (education, law, government, the market place, media, Wall Street, etc.).”

Luckily, his self-appointed mission of  “simply . . . study[ing] the Bible as a foundation[al] document of society,” is meeting a great deal of resistance in Idaho. 

Boise State Secular Student Alliance President Lloyd Lowe said he can’t see teaching the Bible from a literary perspective to high school students.

“He’s trying to skirt the intent and get around the separation of church and state,” Lowe said.

State Superintendent Tom Luna said there is nothing in Idaho law that prohibits public schools from using the Bible as literature or history as long as they do not cross the line into doctrine.

“That’s a local decision that local school boards will decide,” Luna said.  (Idaho Press-Tribune)

And he is making a great deal of progress. 

Chuck Seldon, 77, has collected at least 20 signatures on a ballot initiative for the next general election. The initiative aims to get around a provision of the Idaho Constitution and “allow that elective Bible course curricula, taught as an academic study rather than devotional material, may be offered in the public school systems.” (Which it already is.) 

Seldon needs to gather 51,712 of registered voters to get the initiative on the ballot.  (Only 51,692 signatures to go!  I guess he has run out of family members.)

So how many times do we need to go through this sort of nonsense?  How many more groups will try to use popularity to force religion into the public schools?  How many more school districts (most of which don’t have enough money now) will have to fight, in court, to defend unconstitutional religious indoctrination classes in public schools?

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8 comments

  1. Maybe you can take consolation in the thought that Mr. Seldon is probably senile.


  2. “The people of Idaho are not going to put up with the fact that their Constitution does not allow them to do it”
    – Chuck Seldon, 77, has collected at least 20 signatures

    Sounds like treason and a threat of secession to me. I suppose the military should be called in to subdue the people of Idaho. That shouldn’t be too hard since it appears there’s only 20 people in the entire state. 🙂


  3. Chappie: By the same token, many of our congresscritters (not to mention the last President) are most likey senile. Or at least, suffering from a rather severe dementia.

    Philly: Having been in Idaho for many wild fires, I can say that there are more than 20 of them and an inordinate number carry high-power rifles in the back window of their pickups. I figure the 20 is just his immediate relatives (the ones who don’t think he’s a loon.


  4. Well, at least they realise that their fundie views are incompatible with the constitution. That’s more than can be said for most religious groups who want to ignore the separation of church & state.


  5. Craig: Agreed.


  6. Having grown up in Idaho, and taken a Bible as Literature class, it does seem like Seldon is rather confused about what is already available. I will say, though, as a Christian, if Seldon’s agena is more encompassing (which it sounds like it is), I disagree strongly with him.

    Teaching Christian doctrines or creationism, or having Christian-led prayers, are appropriate in churches or at home, but not in public schools. Church and state serves not only to protect non-believers, but also believers from being forced to conform to beliefs they don’t agree with. This is the factor they usually forget when trying to bring Christian practices directly into the schools.


  7. Cheryl: Thank you for stopping by. And I agree.


  8. the public schools on our district can really give some good education to young kids. they have high standards “,:



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