Months after the official launch of a high school Bible curriculum spearheaded by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green and his family was postponed due to “unforeseen delays,” it has now been canceled indefinitely by an Oklahoma school district.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, released a press release Tuesday praising the fact that that Mustang Public Schools in Mustang, Oklahoma, is “canceling plans to conduct [the] Bible course.”
In a statement issued to TheBlaze, Dr. Jerry Pattengale, editor of the curriculum and executive director of education for the Green family’s Museum of the Bible — a facility scheduled to open in 2017 a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. — confirmed the district’s move.
“We understand Mustang’s decision to withdraw the new, elective Bible course from consideration,” he said. “Museum of the Bible remains committed to providing an elective high school Bible curriculum and continues work on an innovative, high-tech course that will provide students and teachers with a scholarly overview of the Bible’s history, narrative and impact.”
Showing no signs of backing down or being dissuaded from its plans, Pattengale said that the museum plans to move forward with other school districts who have interest.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation — which took credit for leading the “charge against” the class earlier this year — said that the district’s rejection came after it joined Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU of Oklahoma to issue an open records request in an effort to obtain information surrounding the planning of the course.
According to the atheist group, district superintendent Sean McDaniel confirmed in an email that there are now no plans to offer the elective course to students.
“In summary, the topic of a Bible course in the Mustang School District is no longer a discussion item nor is there a plan to provide such a course in the foreseeable future,” the school official reportedly wrote.
McDaniel said that there were some non-negotiable requirements that the Green family did not meet in order for the course to move forward, according to the statement: that the district be able to review the material before it was introduced and that legal coverage be afforded to the district.
“This development is a victory not only for reason and the law, but the sacrosanct right of a captive audience of students to be free from indoctrination in a public school setting,” Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in the statement.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the curriculum was scheduled to be introduced in the Mustang Public Schools in August, but was moved to this upcoming January to allow for a proper review period; now, it has been scrapped entirely.
Earlier this year, church-state separatists charged that portions of the course textbook 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, were ecstatic over the Oklahoma school district’s decision to adopt the curriculum in a 4-0 vote earlier this year.
Now, they will be starting from scratch to find other interested districts.
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 facility 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,” Pattengale said earlier this year.
(H/T: Raw Story)
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