Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bible Study in Texas Public Schools

In Odessa, Texas, kids are going to study the Bible in the public school.
Students in a West Texas town will have the opportunity to take a class not offered in most public high schools — Bible studies.

Tuesday night was not a usual Odessa school board meeting. There was full house, as more than 300 people rallied to voice their support for the proposed Bible class. Outside, the scene was more like a church service than a public meeting as supporters sang and prayed.

All but a few people who showed up at the meeting supported the measure, and in the end the Ector County School Board put its stamp of approval on the idea with a unanimous vote. The decision was met with a standing ovation and cheers. Texas public school bringing Bible to classroom: School board votes for elective high school class
Well, that's a nice compromise. Teach religion in the schools, and call it ... religion. Teach the Bible, and call it "Bible study."

They hoo-hah outside the building, and give a standing ovation, because the school's going to teach a Bible study course. Can't they see, this is the way it makes sense?

You might remember earlier this month, when I quoted the editor of Science saying, "Some of us who worry about the separation of church and state will accept tablets that display the Ten Commandments on state premises, because they fail to cross a threshold of urgency."

I think that some people fail to see what the problem is. There wouldn't be any big deal if the public school taught ancient Greek literature. There would be a problem if they went into an Earth Sciences class and started teaching kids that the earth is flat and rests on the back of an elephant who stands on a tortoise. Or is it a tortoise on the back of an elephant?

I don't think most people care if there is an elective class on the Bible. Actually, it sounds interesting, the Bible has a lot of fascinating stuff in it, it is one of the central documents of our culture, it's great literature on a grand scale.
That hasn't been an issue in another West Texas town. In Big Spring, Texas, about 50 miles from Odessa, the public high school has offered elective Bible studies classes for more than six decades.

"In the 19 years of my employment with Big Spring Independent School District, I don’t remember any resistance or controversy at all with Bible curriculum being taught to our high school students," said Big Spring High School Principal Mike Ritchey. "I hope Humanities will be offered for another 65 years," he said referring to the Bible class.
If people have a rich Christian culture and want that culture brought into the classroom, even a public school classroom, then it should be brought in undisguised, not as "science" but as religion, which is what it is. There is still a Constitutional issue to haggle out, whether it's appropriate to commit taxpayer's funds to such a thing, but that can be managed. It says here that in Big Spring the class is funded by churches and businesses, so the tax thing is not even an issue.

I say, if it's religion, call it religion. The Constitution talks about "separation" of church and state, it doesn't talk about elimination of either one of them.


Blogger jered said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 09, 2005 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please show me where the constitution mentions "separation" as you state in this blog entry.

May 09, 2005 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Separation of church and state can be found in the Constitution right alongside the "right to a fair trial," the "separation of powers," and the "right to privacy."

July 03, 2005 11:31 AM  

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