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Christian Bias in Public School Speeds Through Legislature

Last updated on 2013.01.10

Neither vote on Hickey legislation went the way I wanted it yesterday. The Senate approved Rep. Steve Hickey's silly Bible-study-in-public-school resolution, HCR 1004, and didn't have the courtesy to add a clause putting conscientious and unbiased secular humanists in charge of such literary instruction. Meanwhile, across the hall, the House killed Rep. Hickey's perfectly sensible speeding ticket bill, HB 1170, on a 30-to-39 vote.

As the good Representative notes, the Bible resolution got all sorts of press, more, I would argue, than his bill to make it possible to revoke the drivers licenses of habitual speeders. That shows the backward priorities of our media and our Legislature. Revoking the drivers licenses of habitual speeders promised to do more concrete good for the health and safety of South Dakotans than a toothless resolution that coddles insecure Christians whose faith apparently cannot survive without government support.

Alas, the most speeding you may see on South Dakota's highways may be good people with a sense of Constitutional separation of church and state, rational education policy, and responsible government speeding away to other states not suffering the red-state failure with which my friend Mr. Kurtz diagnoses us.


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.01.31

    Your friend Cory is a New Age Theocrat. You and he have a right to your worldview, but not a right to establish worldwide pantheism. Just because your worldview cannot withstand the truth from the Bible does not give you the right to ban books. Isn't that a violation of free speech?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.31

    Sigh. I am not a theocrat by any definition of the word.

  3. LK 2012.01.31


    Let's get a few things straight. The Bible is not banned from schools. Using the Bible to teach a specific theology is. Last week I compared passages in Hamlet with Psalm 8. I have taught world lit classes and that discussed the archetypes that the Bible contains.

    I don't doubt that you are doing what you believe you must to advance the kingdom as you see it through a glass darkly. I can tell you that your efforts are bearing little fruit. Switch to decaf and stay away from conspiracy theories for a start.

  4. Matt Groce 2012.01.31

    I'm going to completely steal a quote from someone.

    "I think those that support this step do not understand what it actually would be to teach the Bible in a proper historical and cultural context; if they did, they wouldn't support it."

  5. Bob Newland 2012.01.31

    Matt nails it solidly.

  6. Robin Pear 2012.01.31

    My concern is exactly what is going to be taught from the bible.. For example are they going to teach hate about other religions, are they going to teach how badly women were treated then, are they going to teach that many of the books of the bible are missing and what determined christianity as an acceptable religion.... there is no one qualified to teach it objectively in South Dakota

  7. LK 2012.01.31

    "My concern is exactly what is going to be taught from the bible."

    The answer to that is probably no more and no less than now. It's a resolution like the one making kuchen the state desert. I don't know if that resolution made anyone eat fewer kolaches or more kuchen.

  8. Bob Mercer 2012.01.31

    Depends which newspapers you read...

  9. larry kurtz 2012.01.31

    where have you gone, george mickelson?

  10. Douglas Wiken 2012.01.31

    One of the legislators said this resolution drew a line in the sand. More like tossing sand into a hydraulic line keeping the gears of rational thought functioning. The sand is several thousand year old tribal silt.

    There is enough wasted time studying Greek and Roman mythology as literature as it is.

  11. LK 2012.01.31

    "There is enough wasted time studying Greek and Roman mythology as literature as it is."

    I really should leave this one alone, but I can't so I will be brief. That statement ranks right up there with some of the really wrong things Sibby has posted in these comments. Without the Greek myths, modern science would not be possible. The myths created the society that developed the philosoph which lead to the Aristotelian thought that made rational inquiry and modern science possible.

  12. larry kurtz 2012.01.31

    Istáwicayazan Wi – Moon of Sore Eyes (Snow Blindness)

  13. Steve Sibson 2012.01.31

    "The Bible is not banned from schools. Using the Bible to teach a specific theology is."

    LK, so how do the schools get away with using science textbooks to teach New Age Theology?

  14. Steve Sibson 2012.01.31

    "Switch to decaf and stay away from conspiracy theories for a start."

    LK, maybe it is you and fellow New Age Theocrats that should wake up to the myth of their evolution conspiracy theory:

    A strange religion has been coming into prominence in recent years. Sometimes miscalled the "New Age Movement," this phenomenon is in reality a complex of modern science and ancient paganism, featuring systems theory, computer science, and mathematical physics along with astrology, occultism, religious mysticism and nature worship. Ostensibly offered as a reaction against the sterile materialism of Western thought, this influential system appeals both to man's religious nature and his intellectual pride. Its goal is to become the world's one religion.

    Although New Agers have a form of religion, their "god" is Evolution, not the true God of creation. Many of them regard the controversial priest, Teilhard de Chardin, as their spiritual father. His famous statement of faith was as follows:

    "(Evolution) is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforward bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow." 1

    The ethnic religions of the east (Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc.), which in large measure continue the polytheistic pantheism of the ancient pagan religions, have long espoused evolutionary views of the universe and its living things, and so merge naturally and easily into the evolutionary framework of the New Age philosophy. It is surprising, however, to find that Julian Huxley and Theodosius Dobzhansky, the two most prominent of the western scientific neo-Darwinians, were really early proponents of this modern evolutionary religion.

  15. Rorschach 2012.01.31

    So Rev. Hickey has formal legislative agreement that his religion should be treated more favorably than other religions in the public school system? Most people I know are tired of politicians foisting religion on people. But it doesn't carry the force of law, so what really was the point of doing it - to drive a wedge and create a campaign issue?

    Maybe since his speeding bill failed, Rev. Hickey can bring a resolution just urging people not to speed. Throw a bible verse in the resolution and the legislature will trip over itself to pass it.

  16. Steve Sibson 2012.01.31

    LK, already read it.

  17. Bob Newland 2012.01.31

    Is there no other medium besides sand in which to draw a line? Most who use the metaphor have never even seen sand. On the other hand, most (who use the metaphor) have seen a quagmire (because they are busy creating it).

  18. Bob Newland 2012.01.31

    Drawing lines in quagmires. Has a certain avoirdupois about it, eh?

  19. Steve Sibson 2012.01.31

    "didn’t have the courtesy to add a clause putting conscientious and unbiased secular humanists in charge of such literary instruction"

    You guys are aleady in charge and you are not unbiased or conscientious:

    Prior to these modern developments, Sir Julian Huxley, arguably the leading architect of the neo-Darwinian system, had written an influential book called Religion without Revelation, and had become, with John Dewey, a chief founder of the American Humanist Association. As first Director-General of UNESCO, he formulated the principles of what he hoped would soon become the official religion of the world.

    "Thus the general philosophy of UNESCO should, it seems, be a scientific world humanism, global in extent and evolutionary in background." 9
    "The unifying of traditions into a single common pool of experience, awareness and purpose is the necessary prerequisite for further major progress in human evolution. Accordingly, although political unification in some sort of world government will be required for the definitive attainment of this state, unification in the things of the mind is not only necessary also, but it can pave the way for other types of unification." 10

    The neo-Darwinian religionists (Huxley, Dobzhansky, Dewey, etc.) thought that evolutionary gradualism would become the basis for the coming world humanistic religion. Evolutionists of the new generation, on the other hand, have increasingly turned to punctuationism--or revolutionary evolutionism--as the favored rationale, largely because of the scientific fallacies in gradualism increasingly exposed by creationists. This development has facilitated the amalgamation of Western scientism with Eastern mysticism.

  20. Douglas Wiken 2012.01.31

    Religion is enough without also having to put up with dyslexic versions with a few hundred varieties of dogs involved.

    Steve Hickey is on Statehouse live right now. mail your question to statehouse@SDPB.ORG.

  21. Owen Reitzel 2012.01.31

    I know this is only a resolution but I look at it a different way.
    It could be an unfunded mandate. Books, maybe the Gidians (SP) could donate some, need to be ordered. Which version of the Bible? St. James? You'll need a "certified" teacher who might have a heads up on getting the 20% bonus. How do you not give it to a teacher teaching the Bible? You'd be hit by lightning!
    Just some things to think about

  22. Jana 2012.01.31

    Pastor Steve, couldn't you have at least put something into resolution that kids be taught usury is a sin.

    Why did you quit on the usury bill?

  23. Donald Pay 2012.01.31

    The resolution is basically nothing. Schools already teach about Biblical references and concepts in literature, history, etc., just as they talk about Lakota/Dakota religious concepts when talking about South Dakota and Native American history. All of this is perfectly constitutional, and it is already included, without reference to specific religious texts in Reading Content Standards. This one is taken from the 11th grade standard:

    "critique a text within its cultural, geographical, and historical context"

    Notice this is involves not only knowing Biblical references if those are provided in the text, but being able to "critique" such text with the Biblical references. This goes even farther than the resolution. Not only might you have to understand the context of the Biblical reference, but you might have to be able to critique their appropriateness.

    Take for example the following quote:

    "The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined." United States Senator James Henry Hammond.

    To really understand how racists used the Bible to justify American slavery (which is condoned in many places in the Bible), they might have to read a little bit of the Jewish texts that are also part of the Christian Bible. They might read more and find that the Bible has contradictory information about Ham and many Bible scholars now see the story as more and ancient attempt at propaganda than fact.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.31

    Oh, Steve, if only I were in charge....

  25. Elliot Knuths 2012.02.01

    We do need to all keep Madison in our prayers/thoughts right now, be we Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Hindi, Pagan, Buddhist, Agnostic, or Atheist. Hope everyone in Madison is okay!

  26. Owen Reitzel 2012.02.01

    I agree Elliot and well put. My prayers are for my hometown

  27. larry kurtz 2012.02.01

    Hickey on SDPB: climate change "debatable." Koran not in same league as Bible.

  28. larry kurtz 2012.02.01

    Hickey: Opposition to Bible Bill employed "Sharia Law."

  29. larry kurtz 2012.02.01

    Rep. Wismer on SDPB: "Really worried" about resolution.

  30. Donald Pay 2012.02.01

    Just to amend my comments above, some of the actions requested of the Board of Eduction, districts and teachers would be clearly unconstitutional without the escape clauses provided regarding being consistent with the First Amendment. I can see providing reference books in a school library, but providing an entire curriculum is really expensive and a waste of tax dollars.

  31. larry kurtz 2012.02.14

    "When living in space you see Earth transform, chnging w/seasons: you see a living organism" @Astro_Ron #NASAtweetup"@EPAresearch

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