This summer, the State Board of Education voted overwhelmingly to begin teaching Bible classes to students throughout Texas, although larger questions remain about whether students will receive Kool-Aid, peanut butter cookies, and little paper hats of thorns for their participation.
While a debate raged between school board members to offer classes during summer Bible School or to make it part of the regular school curriculum, the board decided that “kids need straighten’ out,” and courses would be offered year around. The rules are the latest in a drama that began when the Texas State Legislature passed a law authorizing Bible classes “as long as there’s hain’t too much arm wavin’, dancin’ around and carryin’ on.”
Claiming that Texas is tired of “takin’ the back seat” to states like Georgia and Tennessee, Johnny Boy Snozbob of the Alamo Conservative Market Foundation in Bumfalk, Texas said, “Our students need the Bible more than most and we ain’t no longer playin’ second fiddle to no one. Our football team has got God on our side and Arkansas will never beat us again.” (A rivalry, which according to Texas Biblical scholars, goes back to the Garden of Eden and is, perhaps, the most important political issue in Texas.)
While some states raise the issue of the separation of church and state, Texas meshes the two on the local level. Many school districts already teach the Bible, adding their own interpretation to read, “God created Texas, and then Heaven.” Most small towns require school administrators to serve as Sunday School Superintendents, to pray before daily classes begin, and to lead cross-burnings.
“If our dumbass kids are goner win them games, they better know the Bible,” said State Attorney General Georgie-Bob Addict. “As long as we ain’t allowin’ no women preachin’, gays marryin’ or aliens practicin’ other ridiculous religions, thars nothin’ in the Texas Constitution to prevent it from happenin’.”
Leaders in the Double Fundamentalist Baptist Church oppose teaching the Bible in public schools due to a general suspicion of education. Terry Sue Brownnose, a leading Republican on the State Board of Education, noted that when she was a girl, people didn’t need no education. “We got along just fine without all them high flutin’ ideas,” she said. “Things is simpler in Bible pitcher books. We know we’re bettern’ any other’n, whoever you may be, that evolution is flat out evil, and we vote for God’s party. We don’t need no forein’ ideas!”
Many share Brownnose’s sentiments. Southern Baptists, Church of Baptists, Assembly of Baptists, Conservative Baptists, American Baptists and other Texas Baptists, complain that evolution will undermine moral standards and “brainwash” children with science. Science might lead children to no longer obey their parents and the church, and to begin to think for themselves. Other religious devotees claim teaching Bible classes will give students a firm foundation to reject “foreign” ideas such as Judaism, global warming, and mixed marriage. A few worry about Bible classes leading to a revival of long-time religious rivalries in the state, which have, in the past, led to slander, adultery and murder.
Afraid of being branded disloyal, few Texans objected to teaching the Bible in public schools. And most Texans agree that teenagers are so undisciplined that teaching it in school must reinforce studying the Bible in church. Rep. Emily Lou Switchbottom, 79, from Shady Past, Texas, proposed a law requiring Bible reading on public transportation, at banks and in grocery store lines. Opponents pointed out that Shady Past already has three-dozen round-the-clock Christian radio stations for a population of 176, but Switchbottom remained unrelenting, almost killing the legislation.
“There’s more and more ways to sin these days,” she said, “and you cain’t get too much religion.”
Democratic Sen. Bobby Ray Hairball, 97, the bill’s sponsor, argued that the Bible retarded every area of human development, which was good for social conformity. “Otherwise,” Hairball told the Legislature, “we would have all that socialist free medical care, high wages, and time off. Work is the only true salvation for idle minds that make more sin.”
“Our tax spoungin’ government teachers may not know how to preach the Bible, but they can learn,” said Hairball as he posed to have his photograph taken with Karate action doll hero Chuckie Nogood, leader of the Kill for Christ Bible Teaching Materials, Ltd. Nogood’s company stands to make $986 million by placing Bibles in every schoolroom in Texas.
Several organizations protested the lack of standards but proponents of the bill contended they couldn’t find experts to explain important Biblical issues such as immersion baptism, the Holy Ghost and the virgin birth. A simplified version for teaching the Bible, one that’s not too rigorous and will include comic books, films and peep shows, was finally agreed upon by the Legislature. Nogood’s Christian company is slated to win the $24 billion no-bid contract for such materials.
“Texas ain’t never been keen on academic rigore,” said Texas governor Jimmy Dick Parry. “But as good Texans we remain open to all faiths, as long as they’re Christian.”