Tennessee’s Butt is in the news.
Seriously, Tennessee Representative Sheila Butt is making headlines. Go ahead and get the jokes and snickering out of the way right now. I’ll give you a minute.
Here’s the deal—parents of middle school students got together to complain about the curriculum used to teach their students about Islam. It seems they thought there was more indoctrination than simple instruction. If you read the whole article you will see that students aren’t subjected to Islam alone. The middle school curriculum takes them through several of the world’s major religions, including Christianity and Judaism.
Enter Ms. Butt. She’s trying to pass legislation prohibiting schools from teaching religious doctrine to students before 10th grade. Of course, the left is getting fired up over the issue. The Huffington Post politics page wrote about Rep. Butt’s attempt to push this legislation through. The feel of the piece is, “Those Islamophobic Christians are at it again!”
And they’re partly right.
The legislation DOES seem to be anti-Islam in nature. But don’t let the Huffington Post article fool you. They quote an educator who lauds the contributions of Islam to the world (like the invention of algebra). The problem is that many of the contributions from Islam were actually from others’ cultures.
But here’s the thing: Christians don’t need to be up in arms about the world’s religions being taught in schools. Good parents are actively involved in the education of their children and should be having discussions about class material no matter what the content is. The “we don’t want the schools teaching this stuff to our kids” attitude only rears its head when parents take a hands-off approach to their kids’ education. Parents, find out what your kids are learning and talk about it at home. Teach them what the Bible says.
Here’s the other thing: Christians don’t need to be up in arms about the world’s religions being taught in schools (yes, I know I already said that). Jesus is big enough to handle middle school students hearing about other faith traditions. I can’t see the apostle Paul getting his knickers in a twist when people offered competing world views. This is the guy who once wrote:
If someone who isn’t a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don’t ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this (1 Cor. 10:27)
He wasn’t bothered by what other people believed—he simply continued to preach the truth that he always preached. I think we can do the same.
So be actively involved in your kids’ education, but trust that God is a big God and isn’t threatened by other faiths.