Arizona Law to Allow Classes on Bible Influence

Weekly summary of world news

Norm Olson April 20, 2012




Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill that allows the establishing of elective classes that focus on the Bible and its influence on western civilization, reports The Christian Post. Sponsored by State Representative Terri Proud, House Bill 2563 was passed by a 21 to 9 vote in the state Senate last Thursday and signed by Brewer on Tuesday. The Bible class elective would teach students, among other things, “the contents of the Old Testament and the New Testament,” “the history recorded by the Old Testament and the New Testament,” and the “influence of the Old Testament and the New Testament on laws, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values and culture.” HB 2563 was not without its critics, as church-state groups like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State openly opposed the bill’s passage. Joe Conn, spokesman for Americans United, told The Christian Post that he was “disappointed” by the signing of the bill. “This bill is not about improving academic achievement; it’s about introducing religious indoctrination into the schools and currying favor with conservative religious voters,” said Conn. “I think most public schools will decide not to offer Bible courses. They are already strapped for funds, so I doubt if they’ll want to use scarce resources to intervene in such a controversial topic.” While Conn believes that the “Bible obviously played an important role in history,” he also felt that having a social studies class about it would be difficult given the many Bible translations and interpretations. “It is very difficult for a public school to teach about the Bible without wandering into constitutional and religious difficulties.” Rep. Proud, the chief sponsor of the bill, told CP in an earlier interview that she “worked with various attorneys and other individuals to ensure this bill is constitutionally sound.” “Many professors from various universities like Harvard, Yale etc. have stated that biblical knowledge is a key factor to a successful education,” said Proud. With the bill now officially a law, Arizona becomes the sixth state to allow school districts to create elective classes studying the Bible. The other states are Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina.

Other news:

  • The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., dedicated a new observatory housing a historic telescope developed by a respected Christian inventor whose works have been used by NASA, reports The Christian Post. The new Johnson Observatory, named after inventor Lyle Johnson, was dedicated last Friday by some 130 museum staff and guests. The new observatory houses several telescopes, including two permanently mounted 16-inch reflector telescopes, with one of them being the Johnsonian telescope by Lyle Johnson. “Because our planetarium programs inside our museum have attracted one-million guests since opening in 2007, having an observatory with excellent telescopes is a wonderful addition that will enhance the museum experience for our visitors,” said Ken Ham, president/CEO of the Creation Museum and its parent ministry, Answers in Genesis. “We look forward to continuing the legacy of Lyle Johnson by using his telescope to tell others about God’s glory and His gospel message.” Johnson’s daughter, Barbara Johnson Perry, cut the ribbon during the dedication ceremony. The Johnson family had said they wanted the telescope to be given to an organization that believes God is the creator of the universe, rather than one that believes in the evolutionary big bang theory. Dr. Danny Faulkner, who will leave his post as professor and head of the Division of Math, Science, Nursing & Public Health at the University of South Carolina’s Lancaster campus later this year, will oversee the planetarium and new Johnson Observatory. The Creation Museum, perhaps most well-known for exhibits that illustrate a literal interpretation of the Bible, will extend its museum operating hours so visitors can use the telescopes to examine planets and stars as part of the group’s “Stargazer’s” programs to teach astronomy from a Biblical perspective.
  • Businessman Steve Green is best known for his family-run retail chain Hobby Lobby. But Green also has a love for God and collecting Biblical artifacts that bring the power of His Word to life. In November 2009 Green purchased his first piece of Bible history. Today “The Green Collection” has grown to include more than 44,000 items. “We want to tell the story of the Bible,” Green told CBN News. “The Bible has been under assault for generations,” he later added. “And that is part of the story we want to tell—how it survived.”
  • A new report reveals that billionaire George Soros has tapped into Obama stimulus money to advance his left-wing agenda, reports onenewsnow.com. The report’s author, Dr. Tina Trent, uses recently released tax documents to state her case that Soros used seed money to form numerous state-based, nonprofit organizations, which then lobbied for funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the “Obama stimulus”). According to Trent, Soros can do more social engineering at the state level. “You can get a couple of activists on the ground and they can really affect state legislation and they can make their way into state government,” she explains. “And the Recovery Act was an enormous transfer of funds from the American taxpayer to state and local government entities. And we saw that Soros had groups on the ground that were positioning themselves to take advantage of that money.” The writer says those activists are demanding the Recovery Act money be spent on projects that fit Soros’s goals, “such as green jobs programs, sustainability programs—things that would provide full employment for the activists that Soros wants to see take over the United States government,” Trent continues. “He’s putting more and more money into activist groups that are supporting open borders [for example].” In her report conclusion, she recommends that Congress “take a closer look at [Soros's] 2010 efforts to steer Recovery Act funding to organizations that sow racial, ethnic, and economic discord among Americans, or which hijack public control over government decision-making and place it in the hands of special interests.” Trent says the unfolding scandal of extravagant spending by the General Services Administration is peanuts compared to how Soros tapped into the public till.
  • “You don’t want to buy it, fine. We’ll fine you into oblivion.” That, says a lawyer representing a number of Catholic institutions, is what the Obama administration will say to his clients if the federal courts do not strike down a regulation the administration has issued that requires all health insurance plans to cover sterilizations and artificial contraceptives, including those that induce abortions, reports CNS News. The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception, and abortion are wrong. For faithful Catholic individuals, or institutions, to comply with the administration’s regulation, they would need to violate their conscience and the teachings of their church. The lawyer, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, says he is confident the federal courts will rule in favor of Catholics and religious liberty and against the Obama administration in cases challenging the administration’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation. But he is also confident that if the courts do not rule against the regulation, the Obama administration will attempt to literally fine Catholic institutions in the United States out of existence. In other news, WorldNetDaily reports that President Obama once utilized controversial Chicago priest Michael Pfleger to push a racial agenda. Pfleger famously claimed during the 2008 campaign that Hillary Clinton cried in public because she thought being white entitled her to the Democratic presidential nomination. The Roman Catholic priest, a practitioner of black liberation theology, is known for anti-white rants and is close to the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan. He has been a guest lecturer at Obama’s former church, Trinity United Church. He is a colleague of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. Obama’s association with Pfleger was partially documented during the 2008 campaign. However, a review of the president’s record as a state senator shows a deeper connection—how he utilized Pfleger to push race legislation.
  • A Pakistani Christian falsely charged with blasphemy after rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys has been cleared of the charge, reports The Christian Post. Dildar Masih, a 27-year-old father of two young children, was acquitted after prosecutors failed to produce any evidence against him, he said. His nephew had gone out to fetch ice when Muslim boys from a nearby madrassa (religious school) beat him for refusing to convert to Islam in Khanewal district’s Mian Channu area in Punjab Province on June 10, 2011. Seeing the attack from a distance, Masih shouted and rushed to the scene, rescued his nephew, and then went to his work as a painter. Soon after the incident, a Muslim mob of about 55 led by village prayer leader Qari Hasnain besieged Masih’s house and ordered his father, Yousaf Masih, to hand over “the blasphemer” to them. Yousaf Masih said that Hasnain claimed to have heard Dildar Masih “abusing Islamic holy words” as he was standing in the entrance of his mosque near the site of the incident. Hasnain later telephoned clerics in neighboring villages, and they called on all Muslims to “come out for the defense of Islam” after Friday prayers. Unaware of the declarations emanating from the mosque, Dildar Masih had no idea why the Islamic throng arrived at the house he was painting and “pounced on him like tigers,” his elderly father told Compass. Police registered a blasphemy case against Dildar Masih later that night after a crowd of about 2,500 Muslims gathered outside the police station and demanded officers hand him over to them. He told Compass that he could scarcely believe his ears when he learned that he had been acquitted and would be released that same day. Masih said that during his imprisonment, he stood by his faith that Jesus would free him from the false charge and that he would be able to return to his family.
  • The recent General Services Administration and Secret Service scandals have been a distraction for the White House as it moves toward the general election and fights the perception of an out-of-control government, reports conservativebyte.com. The double dose of scandals has made it difficult for the White House to get its message out, and Republicans have piled on, pushing a tone of cynicism and disappointment with a government they say needs to be reined in. Obama’s likely opponent in the election, Mitt Romney, said this week that he would “clean house” on federal workers gone bad, suggesting that the president hadn’t done enough from a management perspective.
  • Majority Democrats on a California state legislative committee have decided to kill a plan that would have cracked down on intimate relationships between school teachers and their students, prompting a pro-family organization to warn that it is just another reason for parents to pull their children from the government education industry, reports patriotupdate.com. Assembly Bill 1861 would have made it a felony if any teacher or employee of a public or private school “engages in a sexual relationship or inappropriate communications with a pupil.” Those communications were defined as anything that is “sexual, lewd or lascivious in nature.” “This is yet another reason for conscientious parents to flee the dysfunctional, immoral, and imploding government school system for church schools and home schools, which are much safer physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually,” said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com. “Why are Democrat legislators supporting child sex abuse? Why don’t they care about children’s immature hearts and minds being immorally manipulated and sexually seduced by public school teachers?” he continued. “It is certifiably evil that this bill to protect schoolchildren’s bodies was defeated by this Democrat-controlled committee.”