FFRF blasts Hobby Lobby bible curriculum

FFRF is strongly criticizing Hobby Lobby’s public school bible course approved April 14 by Mustang Public Schools in Mustang, Okla. 

FFRF has been eyeing the bible course since November, when Hobby Lobby’s billionaire owner Steve Green personally pitched it to the school board. The board voted 4-0 with one absention to approve the curriculum entitled “The Book, the Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact of the World’s Best-selling Book” as an elective course.

Board member Jeff Landrith abstained, saying “I think the public should be able to look at this before we vote on it.”

“I am amazed that any school district would think this is appropriate for public schools,” said FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, who got a sneak preview of the proposed text in April. “This just confirms the suspicions we had about the class. Hobby Lobby and the Greens are trying to convert children to their particular brand of Christianity. There is nothing scholarly, fair or balanced about the curriculum.”

In its April 24 letter to the school district, FFRF noted that the “the draft materials MPS intends to use unequivocally fail to meet the legal standards required by our Constitution. The materials show a clear Christian bias, treat the bible as historically accurate and true in all respects and make theological claims.”

Alarming entries include asking and answering such questions as, “What is God like?” The Hobby Lobby text lists only positive attributes (“Faithful and good,” “gracious and compassionate,” “orderly and disciplined,” “full of love”) or theologically Christian attributions, such as “ever-present help in times of trouble” and “righteous judge.” 

The biblical deity’s negative aspects go unmentioned, such as the injunction in Exodus 20:5, “I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” 

Ironically, the textbook criticizes the “historical half-truths” of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a work of fiction, yet fails to apply that same critical lens to the bible. The text states: “[W]e can conclude that the Bible, especially when viewed alongside other historical information, is a reliable historical source.” The text makes the absurd, long-reputed claim that the writer of Genesis is “thought to be Moses.”

Hobby Lobby, a national chain store, is challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, with a Supreme Court decision imminent. Green opposes the idea of his women employees using the IUD and birth control pill, and says his corporation’s “religious freedom” is offended if workers have access to the contraception of their choice.

FFRF has combated Hobby Lobby’s annual July 4 advertising blitz, in which the chain runs hundreds of full-page “In God We Trust” newspaper ads promoting religion in government.

Freedom From Religion Foundation