"David and his Goliath of ambition." That is how one newspaper article during the 2007 session of the Texas Legislature was headlined regarding Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Without any knowledge or understanding of the biblical story behind David and Goliath, this headline and its intended impression has little or no meaning. Without a second thought, the reporter or editor who crafted the headline unwittingly demonstrated that the literary influence of the Bible extends well beyond Sunday mornings. In 2007, the Texas Legislature passed a bill, which I was proud to sponsor through the Senate, to require public schools to offer a nondevotional, academic elective course in biblical text if such a course were requested by 15 students in grades nine through twelve12. This elective course is intended to promote biblical literacy to fully understand and appreciate our historical writings and contemporary references.
So, when is state-sanctioned proselytizing not state-sanctioned proselytizing? Well, silly...it's when the Texas Legislature says so! Everyone knows that Christianity is the majority religion, right? After all, why else would our paper money beat the motto, "In God We Trust"? If you have a problem with that...well, to paraphrase Lyle Lovett, you may not be from Texas, but Texas sure as Hell doesn't want you anyway. Why don't you just move to San Francisco with the other Godless Atheists and go pound sand?
Sen. Estes may be falling all over himself in paroxysms of self-congratulations, and if he's not careful, he's going to dislocate an arm patting himself on the back. Unfortunately, all his monstrous miscarriage of representative democracy has accomplished is to prove that Texas Republicans will go to any length to proselytize on the public dime. Despite Estes' alleged good intentions and desire to promote the idea of "biblical literacy" in an academic sense, the line between academic neutrality and active, zealous Christian proselytizing is so slim as to be nonexistent. If anyone truly thinks that Estes' legislation will ensure the rational, non-denominational, and academically neutral examination of Christianity...well, how about keeping in mind that this is Texas we're talking about here?