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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Christianity elective inappropriate for high school

    Last week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed an abortion bill that will dictate what women can and can’t do with their bodies, and this week she will likely sign a bill that will promote Christianity in high schools.

    She’s a governor with a God complex.

    The state Senate approved House Bill 2563 last Thursday, which would create an elective course for teaching, or preaching, the Bible and its significance in Western culture, in public and charter high schools across the state. Republican state Rep. Terri Proud sponsored the bill, which will also require the course to abide by state and federal laws of religious neutrality in classrooms.

    The Huffington Post noted that this is just the first of two bills by Proud that focus on Christianity. Similarly, House Bill 2473, which is still seeking approval in the House, will enable high schools to offer another elective based around Christianity. If implemented, students will be able to examine the Bible as a literary work. Considering both the House and Senate passed the first bill, the second will likely come to fruition as well.

    But, before Brewer picks up her pious pen to sign off on either bill, she should consider some of the bills’ implications — like the promotion of religious intolerance.

    The controversial topic of religion is also a fascinating area of study. The UA College of Humanities provides a religious studies major, which allows students to travel through the world of religion, exposing them to various faiths, and differences and similarities among them.

    A popular course that comes to mind is The Question of God, created by religious studies professor Alexander Nava. From personal experience, this objective course provides a general idea of different religions without narrowing in on any one in particular — unlike what this proposed high school elective course would do.

    “Elective” implies that students can choose whether or not they want to take the class. However, offering only one religion class that focuses solely on Christianity hints at a problem.

    While this class may be taught with religious neutrality, or focus only on the religion’s history or impact on society, the subtext of this bill is the encouragement of Christianity.

    By offering an elective course that only teaches students about the Bible and its importance in this country’s culture, it implies that Christianity is the only religion worth being taught. What about the Torah or the Quran?

    If Arizona’s public and charter high schools are going to offer a class about religion, then it should be one about a variety of world religions. Learning about this country’s major religions will not only increase understanding, but also promote religious tolerance.

    Should we have faith in Brewer to consider this seemingly simple concept before she signs off on the bill? Probably not, but let’s have some faith that people, both young and old, will consider learning about different religions themselves.

    — Kelly Hultgren is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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