Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"The Cincinnati Bible Wars": Things I should have learn in Ohio history class, but didn't

I'll admit that I'm a lecture nerd. Find me a good topic, and I'm hooked. On April 1, at 5:30 p.m., the Ohio Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society are hosting a lecture from Notre Dame Associate History Professor Linda Przybyszewski regarding the "Cincinnati Bible Wars."

The video gives a good overview of how a fight over the requirement of the teaching of the Protestant Bible in a heavily Catholic city at the Cincinnati Public Schools lead to one of the groundbreaking decisions that has been the foundation of the constitutional jurisprudence on separation of church and state.

How many people knew it wasn't the athiests that got the Bible out of the public classroom, but because the school districts couldn't decide whether they should teach the Catholic or the King James Bible?

This remains me of a story about when I graduated from high school. Along with our hood and gown, all the graduating students at our high school got a slip of paper (this is 1993, btw), asking us whether we wanted a copy of the Old Testament or the New Testament as our graduation gift from the members of the school board (in a totally unofficial capacity, I'm sure.) So, I asked, why did we have to choose between the Testaments? I was told that they offered the Old Testament for any Jewish students we might have so not to offend anyone (although I don't think we had a single Jewish student in our school... ever.)

So, I wrote in my vote... the Koran. I was called to the principal's office the next day. The principal knew I was the President of the youth group at the local Methodist Church. I was told I'd be getting the New Testament, and I should cut out the pranks if I wanted to graduate at the end of the week.

Ahh memories...

Anyway, for more information on the "Cincinnati Bible Wars," including how to register to attend, click here. If I were in Columbus, I'd definately go. Sounds like it could be a really interesting presentation.


Nick D said...

Modern, what I find most funny about your high school graduation story is that I attended a parochial Catholic high school. Our theology instructors insisted on not referring to the Old Testament or the New Testament, but to the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures in order to be politically correct. At a Catholic high school in Cleveland! And yet at a public school in Cincinnait, it's still Old and New Testaments. Crazy...

ols said...

I love that story. I wish more people from Cincinnati knew it. Then we could stop listening to them whine about the 'godless liberals.'

PS - I miss you modern!!