May 13, 2014 — There are two main problems with a public school Bible course developed by the president of Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts retail chain that "is committed, according to its website, to 'honoring the Lord in all we do,'" according to a USA Today opinion piece by Stephen Prothero, an author and professor in Boston University's religion department.
Prothero notes that Hobby Lobby is at the center of a Supreme Court case seeking "a religious liberty exemption to the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148]." Now, its president, Steve Green, "is promoting the Bible curriculum the [Mustang, Okla.] school board just adopted -- a curriculum he predicts will soon be adopted in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of American public schools," Prothero writes.
Although more than 1,000 "public schools offer Bible as literature courses" and Green's course would be offered as an elective, it is problematic that the authors of the textbook have a "tendency ... to view virtually every Bible story through a Christian lens," Prothero argues.
He also raises concern about "the inability of the textbook's authors to resist the temptation to assert the Bible's truth," Prothero argues.
Prothero writes that Green has "every right" to his belief that the Bible is "'true'" and "'good'," as Green described it in an April 2013 speech to the National Bible Association. However, "there is no place under the Constitution for a textbook that requires public school students to pledge their allegiance to it," Prothero concludes (Prothero, USA Today, 5/11).