ACLU Challenges School Board-Approved Bible Class

21 05 2007

Filed under: ACLU, Ector County, Bible, Politics, Church and State, Humanism

The ACLU is challenging an elective Bible history class, which was approved by the Ector County School Board in December 2005, that it is “promoting religion.” Quick question: do science classes “promote science?” Just wondering. Another question: Are electives optional?

The course [called “The Bible in History and Literature“] is now taught in two high schools in Odessa, Texas — Permian High School and Odessa High School. Rather than teaching about the Bible objectively in a historical or literary context, the course promotes religion, as well as a particular religious viewpoint, that is not shared by Jews, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and many Protestants. The course uses the King James Version as its main textbook, which is not the Bible of choice for a wide range of Christian denominations, nor for members of the Jewish faith.

The KJV is about as neutral as you can get in a Bible history class. There is no way to please every person in every religion in every denomination. Hence the board’s choice to make the class an elective and to use a widely-read version.

“Parents, not public schools, should teach religious beliefs to children,” says Dr. T. Jeremy Gunn, Director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “Governments and public schools have no business deciding which religious beliefs are true and then using public schools to proselytize children.”

Exactly! I couldn’t agree more. Wonder where Dr. Gunn stands on evolution. Abstinence programs. Handing out condoms. Bet I know. And he wants to accuse the Bible elective class of proselytizing. Thanks for the laugh, Doc. If this is what a “highly qualified education” in one of our fine liberal, humanist universities does for you, no thanks.

“It’s important to remember that the Bible could be taught constitutionally in schools,” says Gunn. “Bible education per se is not unconstitutional if the course is designed to be objective.”

The lawsuit asks that the Ector County School Board be ordered to refrain from teaching the Bible course or any course like it that would unconstitutionally promote religion or particular religious beliefs.

First, the course is designed to be objective. Unless the teachers are circumventing the course design, which from reading the plaintiff’s statements is not the case, the ACLU has no argument here.

Second, the ACLU is cashing in on their liberal allies in the court who believe the Constitution is not relevant for today’s cases. We must make it a “living, breathing document” to adapt to modern times. Nevermind the Constitutional process of amending it to keep up, should the need arise. No, liberals just strategically install “breathingist” judges in the court to cut that step out for them.

If government is not intended to promote religion, why would Gouverneur Morris, a Constitutional penman, say this: “Education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God.”

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