Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Bible in Public Schools - A follow up

A follow up on a previous post.

Two follow up articles. This very interesting read on the national phenomenon from the Dallas Morning News...

Roughly 80 percent of the schools using the national council's Bible course are small or rural districts, according to Ms. Ridenour, the group's president.

"It's not just gone into the Bible Belt states. It's gone into Alaska, Pennsylvania, California," Ms. Ridenour said. "We've already had over 170,000 students take the course nationwide. It's never been legally challenged."

Ms. Ridenour stressed that the curriculum is designed to help students understand the Bible in the context of its influence on culture and the arts. She emphasized it is not a course in Bible devotion.

"You wouldn't learn this in Sunday school class," she said. "How in the world could you understand what's going on in the Middle East today without introducing the Bible and understanding the background? How can they understand Michelangelo's Moses or Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper without knowing about the figures that inspired those works of art?"

Also, this from beliefnet.com:
"Americans have a long and bitter history of fighting over the role of the Bible in the classroom," said Charles C. Haynes, a scholar at The Freedom Forumn's First Amendment Center, a foundation with offices in Nashville and Arlington, Va. He added that public schools "should not inculcate or inhibit religion."

Haynes said it is a common misconception that the Supreme Court prohibited religious study from public institutions in a 1962 decision. Instead, it banned state-sponsored religious practices, he said.

According to Haynes, who has worked in partnership with the Bible Literacy Project, teaching academic Bible courses is not in violation of the First Amendment as long they are taught "objectively as part of a secular program of education."

Haynes said he hopes the latest report and anticipated textbook will dispel misconceptions.

"After fighting about this for over 150 years I think it's about time for public schools to move past the controversy and include study of the Bible," Haynes said.

"If we care about education we must."
This will certainly be an interesting issue to see develop. And as Burleez says, a valuable opportunity to see if progressives have had their ears to the ground...


2 Comments:

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Sarah Jenislawski said...

Thank you for posting about the Bible Literacy Project's work, and our recent Bible Literacy Report. Our organization is committed to objective, academic study of the Bible that respects the belief, or non-belief, of all students, as described in The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide, which we co-published with the First Amendment Center. In addition, we are creating a curriculum on the Bible as literature and in literature designed for public high school English classes. We do not teach the Bible as history, as doing so requires that all students accept supernatural events as fact. Please feel free to contact me or review our website for more information about our work.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Infission said...

Your welcome...and, welcome to SGT!

See

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/opinion/02herbert.html?ex=1115697600&en=423a149142c43a87&ei=5065&partner=MYWAY

re: the need for comprehensive religious education.

 

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