Georgia is considering making the Bible a part of the state educational curriculum. Oddly enough, we fully endorse this idea. Now, as secular atheists (redundant?) we are always troubled by American Taliban attempts to foist their peculiar version of Christianity on the rest of us. However, nothing would contribute to the de-religionizing of America better than actually forcing young people to read the Bible in a neutral setting.
Our ultimate goal of freeing people from primordial values finds Bible study to be a a win in every direction.
First, most Christians, and especially the lunatic variety, wield the bible as a weapon largely because they remain ignorant of its message as well as its origin. To study the Bible as history and literature should require study of its entomology, which is not a pretty story. How many fundamentalists can cling to words that have been carelessly transcribed, mutated, and mistranslated over eons. Who could think that this is the way a supreme being communicates with his creations?
Secondly, for any student who isn't troubled by the messy process which eventually resulted in a product called the Bible, the actual text should disturb their modern sensibilities. Few students would be able to walk from their social studies classes, where they have just learned of the outrageous immorality of human slavery, and then unquestioningly accept the immoral sentiments of 'god's message'. With our growing civilized rejection of human transgressions like slavery, racism, and genocide, it will be difficult for any moral soul to confront many of the Bible's stories, and the works of god, as anything other than crimes against humanity.
Finally, when the Bible becomes homework it will be loathed and shunned by school children in a way that only required reading can be. And it isn't even as easy to read as The House on Mango Street.
The local Bible-belted ministers will not appreciate teachers referring to their holy book as a random compilation of dubious transcriptions and creative translations, modified and massaged by clerics and politicians over centuries. But alas, it is as Machiavelli suggested: eventually politics is only effective in its irony.