Thursday, January 19, 2006

Watch out, Alabama ...

Georgia's coming for you! We may trail our immediate neighbor to the West --- and their Western neighbor, Mississippi --- in SAT scores, but a new plan, introduced by a group of state Senate Democrats, is sure to push us past, dare I say, Louisiana.

Their idea (no doubt inspired by the upcoming mid-term elections): create an elective high school class for Bible instruction. If approved, according to today's AJC, "the legislation would authorize the state Board of Education to adopt a state-funded academic course covering the good book's influence on literature, art, music, culture and politics."

On second thought ... it's really not a bad idea. We're living in fundamentalist times, and it's wise to know what fuels that thinking, whether it be the Islamic or Christian strain.

As Andrew Sullivan pointed out yesterday in his blog, "One thing I learned from studying the Third Reich in college: If a genocidal maniac attains power, it's always worth noting what he has said and taking him at his word. There's a tendency in the West not to believe the worst about our enemies. Hitler wasn't really going to kill all the Jews. Mao couldn't be massacring and starving millions, could he? Stalin meant well, no? Democracies, because we create cultures of reason and toleration, find it hard to get our heads around people who really do believe some crackpot theory."

Following Sullivan's lead, check out this essay, detailing what Muslim extremists really believe.

Whether it's the Koran or the Bible, it makes sense to understand how and why they fuel such dominant ideologies. You know, history.

Still, I hesitate to endorse this transparently opportunistic legislation by the state Democrats (thinking they can lure religious conservative voters), partly because of its origin, the 'Bama-based "Redeem the Vote," founded by a group of Christian evangelicals whose motives are questionable. The AJC says the group is lobbying to pass similar bills in Florida, Missouri and, of course, Alabama.


  1. Damn-how can someone who appreciates the Kinks have such silly opinions on other subjects?? Likening Christian fundamentalists to Islamist death cult leaders is is some pretty slipshod thinking. Here's how it comes off-"Let's see-I don't like religious people; these religious people are killers; so these other religious people are just as dangerous."

  2. I can see how you might have observed I was making that comparison, but blame the writing, not the opinion. I certainly don't equte the two; as Bill Maher said, "Jerry Falwell's never attempted to behead Richard Simmons." One wants us dead, the other just wants us to return to the Victorian Age. I think if you check out the rest of the blog you'll see I make the distinction. Sorry that it wasn't clear here.