While it is possible to make the case that offering 'biblical literacy' classes in high schools could help students understand and engage certain elements of American culture more fully, it is impossible to make the case that the U.S. should be indoctrinating high school students with the Christian religion - or any other, for that matter.
But this is not stopping Iowa Rep. Larry Sheets from giving away his intentions with House File 2031, a bill that would allow courses on “the Hebrew scriptures” and “The New Testament of the Bible" into Iowa's public schools.
“This country was founded by God-fearing, Bible using people,” said Iowa Rep. Larry Sheets, R-80, one of the bill’s architects. “George Washington said it himself, that this country can only work if people are righteous.”
“Truly righteous people only need ten commandments,” Sheets said. “If people aren’t Christian, I’m sure they can be good neighbors, but I don’t think they can be good in the divine sense.”
There is a lot going on in this short statement, but Sheets is wrong that the founders were all devout Christians, and even if they were, it would not resemble the Christianity espoused or practiced by today's Republican party.
But Sheets also said non-Christians cannot be good people:
There’s part of that statement that’s technically true: People who aren’t Christian can’t be considered “good” under the rules of Christianity.
But that’s totally not what he meant. Sheets was clearly saying people who aren’t Christians might seem good on the surface, but they can never be truly good human beings unless they embrace the Ten Commandments. Because anyone who works on the Sabbath, makes an idol, curses, or covets is the absolute worst.
Sheets' comments make clear that his ultimate concern is not to educate young people in a way that allows them to more fully engage certain elements of their country's history or culture; it is to indoctrinate.