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The Communitarian Influence on the Bible Literacy Project

Contact: Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D., 919-833-4979    


RALEIGH, NC, Feb. 6 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is released by Dennis L. Cuddy, PhD.:


Communitarians believe individuals' needs and rights should be de-emphasized or balanced against the interests of the community or society as a whole.   About half the original advisory board of the Bible Literacy Project (BLP) are self-proclaimed communitarians.


Since any effort to include a broad range of Biblical perspectives would not result in half of the perspectives being, for example, Presbyterian, it is only logical that half of the BLP's advisory board being communitarians isn't by accident either.   Moreover, communitarian advisory board members Jean Bethke Elshtain and Mary Ann Glendon along with communitarian board of directors member David Blankenhorn all signed "The Responsive Communitarian Platform," which states: "There is little sense in gun registration.   What we need to significantly enhance public safety is domestic disarmament.... We join with those who read the Second Amendment the way it was written, as a communitarian clause calling for community militias, not individual gun slingers."   In other words, these communitarians believe that you as an individual have no Second Amendment right to have a firearm!


Another communitarian on the BLP's advisory board is Marc Gellman.   And in his June 29, 2005, NEWSWEEK column about the upcoming July 4 celebration, he said "let us celebrate not the documents (e.g., Declaration of Independence) of our freedom," but rather "It is the communitarian decision of freedom I will celebrate this weekend."


Of course, Americans decided to want freedom before writing documents proclaiming it.   However, Gellman's reference to this decision as "communitarian" misrepresents the fact that Americans' decisions were made as independent "individuals."   A document such as the Declaration of Independence proclaims that "individuals" are given their rights by a Creator God.   And the U.S. Constitution proclaims our rights as "individuals" to have freedom of religion, speech, etc., and the rights of privacy, property, etc.    These freedoms and rights are not communitarian "group" rights typical of socialist or communist countries.


Now, you might say that just because these BLP board members are communitarians, that does not mean what the BLP and its textbook, THE BIBLE AND ITS INFLUENCE, teach contains any communitarian perspective.   But a closer look shows that on page 70 of the Teacher's Edition of the BLP textbook, Michael Walzer's EXODUS AND REVOLUTION is said to "provide a good summary" of a particular lesson.    Who is Walzer?   According to wikipedia, "Walzer is usually identified as one of the leading proponents of the 'Communitarian' position in political theory."   And in Bernard Avishai's book review (THE NATION, April 1985) of Walzer's EXODUS AND REVOLUTION, he noted that Walzer said the Biblical account of the flight from Egypt "inspired such defenders of Lenin as Lincoln Steffens."   Moreover, Steffens' 1926 defense of Leninism called "Moses in Red" is referenced on page 65 of the BLP's textbook!   Why does the BLP want to include anything connecting a defense of Leninism and Exodus in THE HOLY BIBLE?


Finally, I would suggest that the BLP read John  8:32, which proclaims: "The truth shall make you free."   In several previous articles, I have identified specific errors contained in the BLP's textbook, THE BIBLE AND ITS INFLUENCE.    However, if one looks at the BLP's website, one will see under "Correcting misconceptions" that the BLP still claims there are "no" errors in its textbook's first edition.   If the BLP does not start obeying the teachings of THE HOLY BIBLE and tell the "truth" about its errors, I would suggest all those school districts using the BLP's textbook "free" themselves from it!