More and more, public school districts are considering classes that use the Bible as the main textbook. Most recently, a Texas state legislator has introduced a bill that would require all Texas public school to offer an elective course about the Bible and its impact on our society. According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, the class would use the Bible as a textbook and not a “worship document.” Says Chisum:
“We’re not going to preach the Bible, we’re going to teach the Bible and how it affects all of our writings, documents and the formation of our government,” said Chisum. “We’re taking it as a document that has historical value. It’s the most widely distributed book in the world.”
Sounds logical. But is it legal? Sometimes what is logical and what is legal are very different things.
More locally, a Cambria County school has decided to offer a similar type of course. Richland High School now will include a Bible as Literature course, with curriculum from the Bible Literacy Project.
As the concept gains more and more momentum, you can be sure of one thing. This will be challenged. Whether it is Texas, Pennsylvania, some other state (or all of the above) you can bet that there will be legal challenges. I suspect that those challenges will be determined on very case-specific facts, since I think that the concept is probably constitutional but also is hard for many districts and teachers to carry out on the fine legal tightrope that they likely will need to follow.
Only time will tell. In the meantime, let me know what you think by commenting below.