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Commie Denies NASA proved Joshua’s Missing Day!

On Monday, the Texas Freedom Network published its report on the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (which I had blogged on here, noting the complete absence of serious scholars in connection with the enterprise), as was reported in the New York Times. The report’s author, Biblical scholar Mark A Chancey, listed numerous problems with the syllabus, including the following:

… The curriculum cites a “respected scholar” who claims that archaeological evidence “always confirms the facts of the Biblical record” [page 170]. Yet that “respected scholar” claimed elsewhere to have seen Jesus’ school records in India, records from the lost continent of Atlantis and evidence that Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza was used to transmit radio messages to the Grand Canyon thousands of years ago.

The curriculum uses a discredited urban legend that NASA has evidence that two days are missing in time, thus “confirming” a biblical passage about the sun standing still [pages 116-17].

The curriculum identifies a creation scientist as an expert and recommends materials from his Creation Evidence Museum to explain the origins of life.

But now, NCBCPS head Elizabeth Ridenour has responded with a devastating rebuttal. Over to Charisma:

NCBCPS President Elizabeth Ridenour dismissed the network as a “far left” extremist organization that is pro-homosexuality and pro-abortion.

That should do it. Of course Chancey is not impressed with the NCBCPS syllabus – he’s a queer-loving Commie! Ridenour then heads for the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt: her lawyer.

Mike Johnson, a lawyer for the national council [through the Alliance Defense Fund], agreed [that the course is educational]. “The most telling factor is the network held a conference instead of filing a complaint in court,” Johnson, who has been inundated with media interviews this week, told CharismaNow. “That says it all. There’s no legal problem with the approach of this curriculum. If there were one, we would have been legally challenged a long time ago.”

He cited a 1999 legal opinion by four lawyers, including two constitution attorneys from Notre Dame and Princeton, calling the course permissible under constitutional guidelines.

As with Intelligent Design, who cares about the opinions of actual experts when you’ve got lawyers fighting your cause? This is about winning, not truth. (The two constitution attorneys, by the way, are Robert P George of Princeton, who advises George Bush on bioethics, and Gerard Bradley – see here. One wonders whether they gave their opinion on teaching about the Bible in schools in general, or whether they actually lent their reputations to the pseduo-scholarship of the NCBCPS.)

Meanwhile, for a course on the Bible that doesn’t debase the very book it claims to be teaching about, teachers could do far worse than the Bible Literacy Project.

UPDATE: This older report from the Odessa American passed me by. In it, Johnson claims that “they cited passages out of context…They have misrepresented our curriculum and content.” Apparently, some of the wacky material was only mentioned to “broaden perspectives”. But why students need to be “broadened” by the lies of pseudo-scholars and hucksters while serious Biblical scholarship is ignored is not explained…

UPDATE 2: Mark Chancey responds to the controversy.

Agape Tooled Up for Israel

Irony escapes the hacks at Agape Press, as they provide another puff-piece for CIA-analyst turned neo-con culture warrior Mark Tooley (emphasis and links added):

Several mainline Protestant denominations are being condemned for their increasing hostility towards Israel…Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) lists those churches taking such a stance. “The Presbyterian Church (USA) has endorsed the divestment idea [here],” Tooley explains, adding that the United Church of Christ has “at least indirectly, endorsed the idea [here], and a committee of the Worldwide Anglican Communion has similarly endorsed the idea [here] [as have] several regional bodies of the United Methodist Church.”[here]…Tooley maintains that churches in America need to be “more even-handed, factual, and less swayed by failed theological and political fads” when they address human rights concerns in the Middle East.

But what’s Agape’s own particular concern?

Ignoring scriptural warnings to nations that do not support Israel, several mainline denominations are calling for economic sanctions designed to punish the Jewish people.

Yes, don’t be swayed by “theological fads”, but if you care about Palestinian human rights you’re accursed of God. Because in fact all you really want to do is “punish the Jewish people”.

Several months ago the IRD published a report criticising the human rights activism of mainline churches, which I in turn critiqued at the time. Tooley follows the same line: some soft criticism of Israel is allowed, but not much, and unless you precede it with log diatribes against China, Arab dictatorships and Palestinian terrorism then we should dismiss you as an anti-Semite.

(As it happens, the IRD is currently showing its “even-handed, factual” virtues with a gushing tribute to the late John Garang. Jeff Sharlet has further thoughts on how conservative Christians perceive Garang and the Sudan in an interesting article here.)

Ex-Muslim Evangelist Backs Tancredo’s “Bomb Mecca” Call

Agape Press carries a report that ex-Muslim evangelist W.L. Cati has admonished Tom Tancredo for backing down from his recent call to bomb Muslim holy sites following any Muslim nuclear terrorism in the USA:

“You don’t backtrack,” Cati says. “If you’ve got guts enough to say it, then you have to stand by it.” According to the former Muslim, destroying Muslim symbols is an effective way to deliver a message. “According to Islam, the only possible way they could ever get into heaven, or paradise, would be through death,” she says.

Erm…whereas Christians believe…?

“So if you go and bomb a bunch of Muslims, you just sent them — according to them — straight to heaven, because they died in jihad for the cause of Allah.” But Islam’s religious artifacts or “holy sites” are more precious to Muslims than human life, she explains — which is why destruction of those sites would be an effective response.

So if the US nukes Mecca and Medina (and that appears to be the bombing Tancredo is imagining), it’ll be because Muslims don’t value human lives. In contrast, Tancredo and Cati care deeply about the 2 million human beings who actually live in those cities.

Meanwhile, the BBC carries a report on the “hibakusha”, survivors of the atomic bombs that fell on Japan almost exactly sixty years ago:

“The other day I saw on television that talks on the non-proliferation treaty had broken down,” said Ms Kayashige [who is one of the hibakusha].

“It made me think that is partly because of the hibakusha’s negligence. We haven’t said enough to let the world know about the reality of the atomic bomb, especially in the United States. The US has the information but ordinary people don’t know enough about it.”

****

W.L. Cati’s story is an interesting one: she’s from Texas, and converted to Islam following marriage to a Muslim and exposure to the works of Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat. Later came conversion to Charismatic Christianity, divorce, and the establishment of Zennah Ministries, Inc, “a Christian organization founded to minister to women who are influenced by Muslims”. “WL Cati” is a pen name, representing the phrase “With Love Christians Announcing Truth to Islam”; back in 1984, as Katrina White, she became Mrs Alabama. In April Agape profiled her work leading Christian groups into American mosques.