Source: Associated Press, November 24, 2000
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, USA: A proposed comparative religion course for high school students has prompted debate in Memphis. The Shelby County School Board first tried to offer Bible history classes but was stopped by the state because the courses were found to focus too heavily on Protestants. It was then proposed that the board adopt a comparative religion course, but the school board said no. Board member Wyatt Bunker was the most vocal opponent of the comparative religion course, calling it "just altogether a bad idea to teach Hinduism, Buddhism and voodoo and whatever else in our schools.'' He said he took a comparative religion class in college and is convinced that such courses are not suitable for younger, impressionable children. "If they don't want God in our schools, then we're not going to have Gandhi in our schools,'' he said. Some citizens took exception to Bunker's comments. Cliff Heegel, a Buddhist minister who leads a small local congregation, said: "It seems to me the school board is trying to impose religious values on the curriculum, especially since they rejected the broad-based world religion course that is taught in almost every university.''