The Mustang School District is considering adding an elective course that would teach about the Bible.
"A state law that passed several years ago made a provision for public school districts to offer an elective course through social studies or through the English department called ‘The Bible in the Curriculum,’" said Mustang Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel. "We thought it was very intriguing and wanted to see what this kind of curriculum might offer."
McDaniel invited Steve Green, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby, to come and talk to the board at their meeting on Monday. He said Green has taken on an initiative to create a curriculum from a historical perspective.
Green and his family own over 40,000 Bibles and he now oversees The Green Collection, which has grown to be the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts. He is also working on building a national, nonsectarian Bible museum in Washington D.C. to house the collection.
"We have started a Bible collection with the goal to open a the Bible museum in the year 2017," he said.
Green is also in the development stages of creating a new, nonsectarian Bible curriculum and said it would cover three parts of the book: the history, the impact and its story.
"We have a list of universities that we are working with today all over the world," he said. "We want to find the leading scholars to help us and we will be pulling from this group to help write this curriculum and it will tie to the three parts we want to teach. With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible and then we want to show the impact of the Bible. The Bible has had an impact on just about every area of life, whether you like it or not, it has. It has impacted government, education, art, science, literature, you name it. Thirdly, is the story, meaning what does the book say."
Green also argued that the Bible has had a big impact on literacy.
"If someone calls someone a ‘Good Samaritan’ and you are not familiar with the Bible, you have lost the context of what they are saying," Green said. "If you know the Good Samaritan story, whether you like it or not, or believe it is true or fictional, it is a story and something a lot of our conversation in our culture comes from."
Green said the Bible is undeniably one of the most important objects in world history. As an example, he mentioned a Life Magazine that listed the ‘100 most important events in the past 1,000 years.’
"Number one was Gutenberg printing the Bible," he said. "The History Channel listed 101 objects that changed the world. Guess what number one was. The Bible. Imagine a school that would not teach about Columbus, which was number two on the list. Or imagine a school that would not teach about Luther and the Reformation in history class or the Industrial Revolution. Can you imagine these things not being taught, but number one is not."
Green said it is legal in most states to teach the Bible as an elective course, meaning it would not be a required.
School board member Jeff Landrith asked Green if the curriculum would teach subjects regarding different denominations within the Bible.
"This is not about a denomination, or a religion, it’s about a book," Green said. "We will not try to go down denominational, religious type roads. Now, it would go through the Jewish and Catholic tradition so it would include someone of those, but it is not trying to push any of them. It is just history that goes through them. That is going to be a challenging part of this."
McDaniel said the course, along with any new courses, would go through a curriculum committee before going before the school board for approval.
"We would have all the documents, text books, everything for the board to review before taking action," McDaniel said. "