CBN.com – WASHINGTON - The Bible is making a comeback in the
Several public schools are going to the Good Book to help students
learn the basics of art, history, and literature.
It is part of an educational movement that is turning a lot of
It is the world's best-selling book, and soon could be in a
classroom near you. For decades, the Bible had been shelved from
public schools, the result of court rulings on the separation of
church and state.
But now, the “good book” is being resurrected by some who say the
Bible and the basics go hand in hand.
“When an author places something as an allusion in a story, when
they are assuming you are bringing resonant pieces of what a symbol
or a reference means, if a student doesn't have that, they don't
have what the author intended at all,” said Barbara Murray of
Westland High School, 1995 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
Last fall, the non-partisan interfaith Bible Literacy Project
unveiled a book called The Bible and its Influence.
Its backers, which include educators, lawyers, and religious
scholars, consider it the answer to teacher complaints that today's
youth aren't making commonly-known cultural connections to the
Those involved with the project believe the text is the first of its
kind, balancing First Amendment concerns with respect for people of
different religious faiths.
“It's not just a work of literature, it's sacred Scripture to
millions and millions of people. So, I think the textbook has to
expose kids to how people of faith see it. Not just one group, one
Christian group or one Jewish group, but how a number of them see
it,” said Charles Haynes, a contributor to the Bible Literacy
But not everyone is sold. Some see the curriculum as a back channel
to endorse religion.
“They do see this as a way not to just talk objectively about the
Bible, which would be constitutionally acceptable, but as a way to
influence children in the direction of support of the Bible,” said
Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
And others oppose it for entirely different reasons. In the same
state that sparked a battle over this monument, and in neighboring
Georgia, the curriculum has become the center of a heated dispute as
local legislators argue whether to adopt the program statewide.
And some evangelical Christians support another curriculum currently
used in 37 states. It uses only the Bible as its text. Opponents of
this book worry that it waters down biblical truths that could
confuse Christian students.
One reviewer wrote that it “…undermines the traditional biblical
instruction many parents give their children at home, and that which
they receive at church...The Bible and Its Influence includes just
plain false information."
But not all evangelicals are on the same page.
Janice Crouse with Concerned Women for America supports the project,
calling it "fabulous," long overdue, but she does caution that the
Bible must be treated fairly in the classroom.
“What we have to fear is that it will be taught in…a way that is
disparaging, patronizing or condescending toward the Bible. Will we
find enough teachers who are willing to treat the Scriptures with
respect and to teach it very well?” Crouse wondered.
While some continue to debate whether teaching the Bible crosses the
line, for the schools that decide it is okay, the new dilemma is
which curriculum will pass the test.