NEW BRAUNFELS — The New Braunfels School Board voted 6-1 Monday
to spend $58,000 next school year to offer an elective course on the
Bible at New Braunfels High School.
The class, which will be available to juniors and seniors, is based
on the textbook "The Bible and Its Influence," which examines
the Bible's impact on art, literature and popular culture. The
course is less controversial than another, "The Bible in History
and Literature," which has been criticized for pushing a
fundamentalist Christian view.
"The Bible and Its Influence" has won endorsements from some
Catholic leaders as well as the Anti-Defamation League and the
American Jewish Congress, which have condemned "The Bible in
History and Literature."
The course follows principles in a 1999 accord, The Bible and Public
Schools, brokered by the Bible Literacy Project, which developed the
book, and The First Amendment Center, a Vanderbilt University-based
program that works to preserve and protect the First Amendment.
"The goal of the course is to teach religion in a way that is purely
academic and not devotional," said Trustee Jorge Maldonado.