Report: Over 350 Public Schools Teaching the Bible

More than 350 schools in 43 states have implemented courses on the Bible for the 2009-2010 academic year, a new report reveals.

Leading the pack is Texas where more than 50 schools are teaching the course this fall, according to data from the Bible Literacy Project, which publishes* The Bible and Its Influence*, a student textbook designed for public school courses on the Bible.

Right behind Texas, schools in Georgia, California and Indiana are widely teaching lessons on the Bible using the Bible Literacy textbook. More than 10 percent of Georgia public high schools and more than 5 percent of public high schools in Alabama, Indiana and South Carolina are utilizing the program, said Chuck Stetson, chairman of the Bible Literacy Project board.

The Bible and Its Influence – reviewed by 40 religious and legal scholars representing evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish communities – is reportedly the first student textbook that fulfills the legal standards of The Bible & Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide.

It was released in September 2005 and the primary goal of the course is biblical literacy. While providing an academic study of biblical narratives and their influence on literature and culture, the course does not promote or discourage religious belief, the Bible Literacy Project insists.

Their approach is academic and not devotional, and academic study of the Bible in public schools is legal in all 50 states, the organization says.

Increasing knowledge about the Bible is part of a good education; but teaching what to believe belongs in the home," the non-profit states. “We advocate providing a well-rounded, thorough education that includes the basic information students need to fully understand literature, as well as art, music, history and culture.”

A 2004 Gallup poll found just 8 percent of public school teens said their schools offered an elective Bible course. But public-school courses on the Bible have been rising in popularity over the past several years.

In 2007, the Texas legislature passed a law requiring public high schools to teach Bible literacy beginning in the 2009-2010 school year. The state law, however, did not provide any specific guidelines or teacher training and left many educators confused.

Some Texas high schools are offering an elective course on the Bible this year while others have chosen to incorporate the lessons into current classes. Still others maintain that religious literature is already taught in their current courses.

The Bible Literacy Project, meanwhile, has made online teacher training available. In partnership with Concordia University’s College of Education in Portland, Ore., the organization is sponsoring graduate-level courses on how to teach a legal, rigorous and academic public high school class on the Bible.

The organization is currently seeking to reach educators in the remaining seven states – Delaware, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming – that have yet to utilize The Bible and Its Influence.

“We welcome the opportunity to show these remaining states the strength of our program,” said Stetson.

*This is wonderful to hear!!!
GOD is GOOD!!!
Teaching the truth!!!
Thanks for this thread!!!
God Bless,
Angel Face

I wonder how folks would feel about courses on the Koran or on Buddhism.

I don’t like the sound of this. . . .

If kids want to learn religion go to private school- or have courses in world religion.

We had a “Bible as Literature” course when I was in public high school; it was so generic as to be harmless. The teachers gave no more credence to what was in Holy Scripture than they did to Greek mythology. It didn’t lessen my Christian faith one whit.

I also, on my own, read the Koran, as well as the Dhammapada (Buddhist), the Granth Sahib (Sikh), all of the Vedas and the Upanishads (Hindu), the Tao Che Ching (Taoism), Mein Kampf, the Communist Manifesto, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, and none of them lessened my Christian faith, either.

I agree. I was a religious studies major at our state university, and not a single class (even those taught by priests and ministers) endorsed or derided a religious view. That is the appropriate way to do this, and to the extent that any state school endorses a religion, not only is this unconstitutional but harmful to our goal. Without even getting into any highbrow discussion of the proper roles of government and the Church, just remember to your youth–what was the fastest way to get kids to deride and dislike something? Preach it in the schools.

I also agree that it is necessary to teach about all religions in school. I knew several people who, knowing nothing about Mormonism, were deceived into its fold. Had everyone received basic instruction on each significant religion, they would lose their mystique.

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