The official launch of a public school Bible curriculum spearheaded by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green and his family has been postponed due to “unforeseen delays,” according to its editor.
The curriculum was scheduled to be introduced in the Mustang Public Schools in Mustang, Oklahoma, in August, but now it will not reach classrooms until January.
“We have operated on an aggressive timeline to deliver the curriculum for the upcoming school year,”Jerry Pattengale, director of the Green Scholars Initiative wrote in a statement to Religion News Service.
That said, he blamed “unforeseen delays” for derailing the project’s original timetable.
“We will continue to work with Mustang and other school districts that have shown interest” in the program,” Pattengale continued.
The first textbook, “The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact,” was also due out later this summer, though it is unclear whether it will still be released on time.
While Pattengale’s statement didn’t go into detail on the reason for the delay, Mustang Superintendent Sean McDaniel told school board officials Monday that he wanted to hold off on the course launch to ensure that it is properly reviewed, according to the Mustang Times.
“In the event that someone files a claim against us, it is important that we have appropriate coverage,” he said, noting that the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group, will be reviewing the Bible curriculum.
McDaniel said that 178 students signed up to take the course in the fall and that he didn’t want to wait until the last minute to let them know if the curriculum was complete and approved, so he suggested moving the launch date to January.
Church-state separatists have charged that portions of the book in its current form cross First Amendments bounds, though it is unclear where the textbook is in the editing process.
TheBlaze reported in April that Pattengale and Green, who helped develop the course as chairman of the board of the Museum of the Bible — which plans to open a Bible museum in Washington, D.C., in 2017 — were ecstatic over the Oklahoma school district’s decision to adopt the curriculum in a 4-0 vote earlier this year.
“Our hats are off to the Mustang School, because they actually contacted us,” Pattengale said in an interview with Glenn Beck at the time. “They were contemplating some kind of a course like this … and they wanted to be the first one to do it.”
The curriculum is being designed to coincide with the museum and, considering the rare biblical texts and artifacts that the Green family has touted and possesses in its Green Collection, the museum is poised to be filled with some intriguing content.
“We have a unique value proposition to offer with this curriculum, given our work with scholars, The Green Collection’s rare biblical texts and artifacts that currently number more than 44,000, and the museum, which will open in 2017 a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington,” Pattengale said in a separate statement last month.
(H/T: Religion News Service)