Secular Ethos Episode 10 _ Secular Sunday School edition
Localmemphis.com headline: ’Parents Angry Altruria Elementary Bible Club Was Shut Down After Complaint By Atheist Group’
This story is about the Altruria Elementary school in Bartlet Tennessee having a bible club in the mornings. I do not know a whole lot of the details in this story except what is in the article. The school had received a letter from The Freedom From Religion Foundations in regards to a complaint about this bible club being in the public school. I am not a lawyer, so when I say this does seem like it is clearly a 1st amendment issue please keep that in mind.
If you take the 1st amendment issue out of this, and look at it from the stand point of what is appropriate material for elementary school age children to be exposed to. The bible is very vile and lewd, especially in the King James version.
Restating that I am not a lawyer, I did find the Tennessee code regarding student conduct.
Tennessee Code Title 49. Education § 49-6-3401
(a) Any principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal of any public school in this state is authorized to suspend a pupil from attendance at the school, including its sponsored activities, or from riding a school bus, for good and sufficient reasons. Good and sufficient reasons for suspension include, but are not limited to:
(1) Willful and persistent violation of the rules of the school;
(2) Immoral or disreputable conduct or vulgar or profane language;
(3) Violence or threatened violence against the person of any personnel attending or assigned to any public school;
(4) Willful or malicious damage to real or personal property of the school, or the property of any person attending or assigned to the school;
(5) Inciting, advising or counseling of others to engage in any of the acts enumerated in subdivisions (a)(1)-(4);
enrolled and the director of schools shall determine the appropriate educational assignment for the student released for readmission
– See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/tn/title-49-education/tn-code-sect-49-6-3401.html#sthash.rPGgGKKk.dpuf
in regards to section a(2) I am going to mention Ezekiel chapter 23: verse 20
– For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
Aside from whether or not an elementary school age child knows what is meant by the words “ flesh” and “issue” we must hope they are not in possession of an expositors student bible. In my student bible I am given the following explanation of this verse:
“ She threw herself into the idolatrous ritual of Egypt with an almost orgiastic passion. The last phrase is likened to a wife who, in her unfaithfulness, not only commits adultery with a man, but has sexual relations with an animal.”
I don’t know how the school is interpreting what is vulgar or profane, or what they would consider immoral or disreputable. Yet, it seems that simply bringing a book that talks about a woman having a passionate orgy with animals would fall into at least the disreputable. It is definitely profane for a 5-8 year old to be sharing with their peers at a public school.
So what about the argument, “ you are just taking this out of context”. In what context is a 5-8 year old kid supposed to take, a woman engaged in an animal orgy. Should 5-8 year old be biblical scholars or apologists to “properly” read something like this.
It is even more explicit if they were reading the New International Version(N.I.V.), which reads:
-There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
To get a some context of this verse let’s look at the beginning of the chapter to see how they are introducing this chapter.
For now we will stick to the (N.I.V.):
1:The word of the Lord came to me:
2: “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.
3: They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed.
4: The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
5: “Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians—warriors 6: clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen.
7: She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after.
8: She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.
9: “Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted.
10:They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.
11: “Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister.
12: She too lusted after the Assyrians—governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men.
13:I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.
14: “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans portrayed in red,
15:with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea
16” As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
17:Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust.
18: When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister.
19: Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt.
Reading this it is clear what they are talking about. Even young children would pick up on the meaning here, even if they did not fully understand. But that lack of understanding is the problem, children are told this book is the holy word of the creator and master of the entire universe. We are already begging to sow discomfort, shame, and a twisted view of human sexuality. Moreover, the only person at fault here is the women. She is promiscuous, and she is doing something wrong, but the men involved here all had sex with her willingly. She is then punished for this, yet none of the men are too blame for this. This is not only lewd and vile to be in a book given to young children, but this is creating a sense of women as inferior or to blame for men’s sexual arousal.
Aside not included in show:
Just for a moment think about the website pornhub or the popularity of the Faces of Death movies. The explosion of these types of entertainment appeals to something inside of human nature. I would argue that this same something in human nature was present during the iron age, and the peasants at the time engaged in something similar. The bible seems to be the ancient worlds version of pornhub and faces of death with a little bit of fairy tales fantasy thrown in. Think about ancient Ezekiel ( if he truly existed) walking around telling his stories about whores and lust and bestiality. Given the lack of computers the internet and toilet paper in that time people needed some way to be entertained.