I’ve never heard of the reality show The Bible – I learned about it because of the controversy related to a devil being cast by a guy looking suspiciously like the president of the United States.
Reading about The Bible, I learned that it’s created by Mark Burnett – the creator of reality juggernauts like Survivor and his actress wife Roma Downey – the Irish beauty who starred in Touched by an Angel for like a billion years as a social worker slash angel.
So after a bit of research I stumbled upon an op-ed piece the couple wrote for the Wall Street Journal titled “Why Public Schools Should Teach the Bible: Westerners cannot be considered literate without a basic knowledge of this foundational test.” In the piece the couple argue – quite correctly – that the cultural influence of the bible – from popular clichés to foundational literature – is pretty important.
They write “The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanism.”
Again, nothing that Burnett and Downey say is wrong – except it’s also very limited. I’m all for teaching the Bible objectively as a work of fiction or myth. But it’s interesting because while the couple write about the positive influence of the bible, they seem to conveniently forget the negative influence of this book.
Like how passages have been used to justify slavery, imperialism and colonialism, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, war, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia. Bible thumpers regularly arm themselves with the holy book to argue against gender parity, or equal rights for gays. Would then we be taught about all the injustice that was done as inspired by the bible?
I don’t know, because is their op-ed piece they neglect to write the less-than-glorious stuff the bible has given us. I also imagine that the same folks who trundle on about how great it would be to include the bible in public school curriculum would blanch at the idea of mentioning that anti-segregationists pulled passages from the bible to support their claims; or that LGBT rights are in limbo because of outdated and archaic passages written in a book centuries ago by scores of writers and translated into various different languages, with unique interpretations.
They sign off their essay with a nifty, “Can we hear an amen?”