Every family has one, that eccentric aunt or uncle, whose public antics give rise to a nervous giggle and an avoided glance when told about what new embarassment has taken place.
Sometimes, that eccentric aunt shows up in a legislature and in Florida, courtesy of Jacksonville’s district 14, we have Kim Daniels.
She is an interesting character, who claims to be the daughter of a bar owner and alleged drug dealer. She runs her own church and works to spread her beliefs through legislation, although her personal ethics always seem to be in question. Read this and this.
In 2018, she gave Florida a bill that requires every school to post the motto “In God We Trust” in a prominent place, which most schools comply with by flying the state flag on the flagpole because the Florida flag includes those words and the flagpole of every school is in a prominent place.
While offered as “an objective study,” what the bill really proposes is this:
— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament…”
— “A course on the New Testament…,” and
— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”
Hmmm, while many object to this elective, because everyone knows it is trying to force proselyzation into schools, GOT could teach the class. As a former pastor, with a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, he would be well-qualified for the job.
Dreaming of the curriculum, GOT would begin with form analysis and comparison with other texts from Ancient Near East culture. We would begin with the first chapter of Genesis and realize it takes the form of a creation account like that of every other culture. In fact, it was a theological statement in opposition to others, not a factual account of creation.
We would, however, take a detour into the theory of relativity to realize that time is relative and that a day from the perspective of God is not the same as a day from the perspective of Earth.
We could examine Jacob wrestling with the angel and understand the trope: a river demon story. Then we could look for what is unique in the Bible story versus the stories of the popular culture. And I’m sure teenagers would get a kick out of realizing what a stele is. (Spoiler alert: a phallus.)
As we got into the New Testament (and we might not ever get out of the Prophets, whose call for social justice is powerful and resounds today), we would also read the Quran and Hindu texts to find the similarities in the moral codes and discuss the differences. We would even examine the oral stories of Africa for the same.
Oops, such a course of study might be interesting and valuable to high school students who have the interest. But GOT suspects that it would make Kim Daniels hopping mad.
It’s not what she has in mind.