Here's the deal I'm prepared to offer S.C. state Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bible Camp):
I'll let you teach the Bible, if you let me teach the biology.
If you haven't heard, Sen. Grooms is pushing a measure to have the state Department of Education develop a Biblical literacy elective for high school juniors and seniors.
And, if you haven't heard, a majority of Americans — including at least three GOP candidates for president — reject evolution science, the foundation of our modern understanding of biology. In South Carolina, the "I didn't come from no monkey" contingent is almost certainly larger than the national average.
What to do, what to do?
Scared liberals, including writers for this paper, see the biblical literacy class as a stepping stone toward theocracy, soon to be followed by government-mandated church attendance and chastity-belt checkpoints on our public highways. This is nonsense.
But not nearly as nonsensical as the notion that we're all the offspring of a guy named Adam and a girl named Eve doing the jungle boogie in the Garden of Eden just 6,000 years ago. And yet, at least half the people you meet on the street today believe just that.
There are so many Americans who believe this demonstrably untrue fairy tale that an entire museum opened in Kentucky last week to fleece these gullible folk of their hard-earned cash. At the grand opening of the "Creation Museum," a 60,000 square-foot monument to America's scientific illiteracy, Paul Aduba of Toledo, Ohio, told reporters: "If you want to believe you came from animals, that's you. But it's a lie."
No, Paul. It's not me. It's biology. It's more than 100 years of scientific research, observation and experimentation. It's science, and it's not going away.
If you, Paul, and people like you want to believe there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark — one of the actual theories presented by the clueless curators of the Creation Museum — then that's you. You and your decision to be an idiot.
What these bonehead Biblical-literalists need is more information. A few weeks of studying the cosmos, where time is measured in billions of years and not thousands, will beat this boobery out of their heads. More information is a good thing.
Which brings us back to the panicky "secular progressives" (thanks, Bill O'Reilly) trying to keep the Bible out of high school. My question is simple: Why?
You presumably want the children of snake handlers, Pentecostals, and chiropractors to be taught the elements of evolution science against their parents' objections. And, also presumably, you want these students to be free to act on that information as they choose. If they find evolution absolutely true and absolutely incompatible with the Bible, that's their problem. Right?
Why, then, should South Carolina schools treat Biblical literacy any differently?
The lame argument from the insecure secularists of the Charleston City Paper is "Hey, what about Buddhism?" Put another way, why should South Carolina public schools make sure students are familiar with the major characters and themes in the Bible, as opposed to the Koran or the latest by L. Ron Hubbard?
The obvious answer is "Hey, this is America." Teaching the Koran to help people understand South Carolina makes as much sense as teaching the Bible to help people understand Saudi Arabia. The Bible as both literature and philosophy played a unique role in the creation of western civilization. It is literally (pardon the pun) the text from which every one of our ideas and ideals was born.
You may think the Bible is hooey. Fine. The kid in the next row may think Darwin was the Devil. Fine. But the facts remain the facts in both cases.
There are some Christians who fear science because they believe their faith cannot withstand a fair fight with cold reason. Secularists reply, "Then you should re-consider your faith." And rightly so.
But how are these cowardly Christians significantly different from the secular who fear every encounter with the Gospels? Are you afraid you'll find yourself at an altar call if you're forced to read John 3:16 in public? Are Moses and St. Matthew too much for you to handle?
Christians would answer, "Then you should re-consider your faithlessness." And rightly so.
I say, "Bring on the biology" and "Bring on the Bible." Believe it or not, there are some intelligent people who find truth in them both.