- (Photo: Courtesy of Mustang Public Schools)
- (Courtesy of The Green Collection)
A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has announced their intention to "scrutinize" the Bible class that an Oklahoma school district recently approved.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison expressed their intentions Wednesday in response to Mustang Public Schools approving a Bible class elective championed by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green.
In the statement, FFRF announced that they are "keeping a close eye on the Bible course developed by Green for public school students."
Dan Barker, FFRF co-president and a former pastor, stated in the press release that he was troubled about the possible content of the elective course.
"In the religious climate of the Bible belt, given the impetus for this class, we are seriously concerned," stated Barker.
FFRF, along with other groups focused on church and state separation, have expressed their concerns since last November.
A letter from FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel was sent to Mustang Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel last year.
"The Green family's constant attempts to impose their evangelical Christianity on Hobby Lobby employees has secularists naturally suspicious that any Hobby Lobby Bible class will not conform to the law," wrote Seidel.
"Previous investigations have revealed that Bible classes in Texas rarely comport with the law, that teachers lack training, and that teachers impose their personal religious beliefs on all students."
Last November, Hobby Lobby's president announced his effort to create a Bible course for public schools that focuses on its history, meaning and impact.
"With the history, we want to show the archaeological evidences of the Bible and then we want to show the impact of the Bible," Green told the Mustang Times.
"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."
Earlier this week, Mustang Public Schools voted to approve the elective for Mustang High School, with the course being introduced in the fall.
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, McDaniel said that he's "excited to offer the elective."
"The Green Scholars Initiative has brought in more than 70 renowned scholars of different faiths from Jerusalem and Oxford to Baylor University to create the curriculum," said McDaniel.
"The course is an elective. When our pre-enrollment packets were returned by students earlier this semester, more than 170 students indicated the course would be their first choice for an elective class."
Regarding church and state concerns, McDaniel told CP that it is a voluntary course, so "no student will ever be required to take it."
"Also, the professors with the Green Scholars Initiative who put together the curriculum come from different personal faith backgrounds, not just Christianity," said McDaniel.
"The curriculum has been through a rigorous review to check for bias and to ensure the content is neutral."