Bible Class Cover-Up: Group Cuts Image of Naked Adam and Eve
In an effort to address objections raised by fundamentalist Christians, the Bible Literacy Project (BLP) has removed from its textbook a Renaissance-era painting of Adam and Eve that showed the couple naked.
Last year, the BLP published a glossy textbook titled The Bible and Its Influence, for use in public school Bible classes. The Front Royal, Va.-based group says America is rife with biblical illiteracy and insists that public schools must do a better job of teaching about the Bible.
The BLP maintains that its approach is balanced, but critics have challenged that claim. Some fundamentalists have assailed the book for not going far enough in promoting their version of Christianity. Meanwhile, scholars and civil liberties activists have charged that the volume contains errors, lacks serious academic content and is tilted toward an evangelical perspective.
The BLP now appears to be caving in to the fundamentalists. In a press release, the group proudly noted that the new edition of the book replaces Masaccio's "Expulsion from Garden of Eden" with "a more modest image." (The new painting of Adam and Eve is Haitian folk art that shows the couple fully clothed.)
Scrubbing away nudity is not the only concession. A BLP press release also heralds the fact that The Bible and Its Influence no longer includes other material that fundamentalists questioned.
These moves, Americans United says, only underscore concerns that the effort to get The Bible and Its Influence in public schools is largely fueled by the Religious Right.
The Bible Literacy Project is run by a wealthy right-wing activist named Charles Stetson. Although his name appears on The Bible and Its Influence as co-editor, Stetson is not a professional educator or a religion scholar.
Stetson works hand in glove with Charles Colson, the Watergate-figure-turned-Religious-Right-activist whose views have become increasingly strident and theocratic over the years. The BLP notes that Colson has endorsed The Bible and Its Influence. This move undoubtedly pleases fundamentalists, but for church-state separationists, it is only cause for more concern. …