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Texas Public Schools Teaching Christian Creationism and Scripture as Historical & Scientific Fact

If the earth is 6,000 years old, how to explain dinosaurs, which were extinct 65,000,000 years ago? This is how... (Photo: Flickr)

If the earth is 6,000 years old, how to explain dinosaurs, which were extinct 65,000,000 years ago? This is how… (Photo: Flickr)

Dozens of public and charter schools in Texas are teaching Christian creationism and biblical scripture as scientific and historical fact, a newly released study conducted by a professor at a leading Christian university reveals.

The study, “Reading, Writing & Religion II: Texas Public School Bible Courses in 2011-2012,” was authored by Mark A. Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University (SMU) near Dallas. It covers 60 school districts throughout Texas that offered Bible studies courses last academic year.

Chancey’s study found that taxpayer-funded public schools are teaching children that the Bible proves that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that astronauts have discovered a “day missing in space” that confirms the biblical tale of the sun standing still and reversing course, that racial diversity is rooted in a curse cast on Noah’s son and that the United States was founded as a Christian nation based on biblical principles.

Some of the state’s Bible studies courses are virtually indistinguishable from science classes, with students in one Eastland ISD school shown videos from the Creation Evidence Museum that suggest dinosaurs and humans coexisted. In reality, they missed each other by around 65 million years, or 10,000 times the age of the earth as taught in some of these classes.

Among the other course lessons revealed by the Chancey’s study:

– “The Bible is the written word of God… united in content because there are no contradictions in the writing. The reason for this is because the Bible was written under God’s direction and inspiration.” (Klein ISD)

– “Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space– and it was, in reality historical and not mythological.” (Brenham ISD)

– “Giving God his rightful place in the national life of this country has provided a rich heritage for all its citizens. Yet as wonderful as the benefits of that heritage may be, a true relationship with God… [is the] personal responsibility of each citizen. Would you like to place your trust in Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Savior from Sin?” (Belton ISD)

– “Survival of the Jewish nation is one of the miracles of history and her greatest agony is yet to come.” (Prosper ISD)

– “The first time the Lord gathered His people back was after the Babylonian captivity. The second time the Lord will gather His people back will be at the end of the age (the Rapture).” (Prosper ISD)

– “Sad to say, mainstream anti-God media do not portray the true facts [of Moses and the Red Sea crossing] in the light of faith but prefer to skeptically doubt such archaeological proofs of the veracity and historicity of the biblical account, one of the most accurate history books in the world.” (Ector ISD)

In the Amarillo USD, children are taught that the origins of racial diversity on earth can be traced to Noah and his three sons. This origin tale teaches that the “African races” were begat by Noah’s cursed son Ham, a notion that has been cited (misinterpreted, apologists claim) to justify slavery and racism against various peoples throughout the ages, most notably African Americans.

Under Texas House Bill 1287, passed back in 2007, public schools are permitted to teach the Bible. But they must do so while “maintaining religious neutrality.” According to Chancey’s study, most of the schools in the report are violating this provision– as well as the constitutional principal of separation of church and state.

Meanwhile, the Texas Board of Education has recently decided to limit references to Islam in textbooks, which the board believes are “tainted” with “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions.”

Private religious schools can– and do– teach pseudoscience and mythology as scientific and historical fact. At the Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana, for example, students utilize a “biology” textbook that claims the Loch Ness Monster is real, and is proof that God created the earth and evolution is bunk.

But although public schools are supposed to eschew religious advocacy, many do not, and conservative lawmakers across the country are attempting to inject biblical scripture and prayer into our nation’s classrooms. Anti-evolution bills have recently been introduced in Colorado and Missouri, the latest in a series of states to attempt to erode the world’s most scientifically accepted theory of the origin of life on earth.

In Kansas, a state notoriously hostile to evolution, state Sen. Dennis Kruse last year introduced a bill that would require the teaching of “creation science”– aka Christian creationism– despite the fact that the US Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aguillard that teaching such pseudoscience is unconstitutional. Undaunted, Sen. Kruse has now introduced a bill that would allow mandatory prayer in public schools.

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