Should the Bible Be Taught in Public Schools?
By Alexander Samuels
Should the Bible be taught in public schools? More specifically: Should the Bible be taught in public schools as literature?
We live in a time when more and more children are growing up . . . Biblically illiterate. In an excellent article titled "Bible Illiteracy in America," which was published in the May 23 issue of The Weekly Standard, David Gelernter, a senior fellow in Jewish Thought at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem, and a contributing editor to the magazine, explains why the Bible should be taught in school. He states, "Scripture begins with God creating the world, but there is something these verses don't tell you: The Bible has itself created worlds. Wherever you stand on the spectrum from devout to atheist, you must acknowledge that the Bible has been a creative force without parallel in history."
I will not attempt to summarize the article here, but I strongly suggest you click the link above and read it for yourself. However, if you find the 11-page article too long for your interests, then at least read Chuck Colson's June 1 and 2 BreakPoint Commentaries on Gelernter's work: "Eroding Foundations" and "The Next Great Awakening."
Both Gelernter and Colson are advocates of the Bible Literacy Project. This organization promotes the concept that Bible-as-literature electives should be offered in every high school. The Bible Literacy Project is developing resources to provide teachers with the information they will need to make this goal a reality.
The question, however, remains: Should the Bible be taught as literature in the public schools? The ACLU and liberal media have blanketed the public with so much propaganda and disinformation on this topic that most teachers are afraid they will lose their jobs if they even mention the Bible in historical context to their classes. This is, of course, just what the ACLU wants educators to believe—even though it is a lie.
Again, legal issues aside: Should the Bible be taught as literature in the public schools? Can the Scriptures be presented in a dispassionate, objective manner that will do the Bible justice in the arena of public education? I'm certain that the Bible cannot really be taught without passion. Somehow, to do so seems to lower it to the level of some lesser human author. Will public-school teachers of the Bible as literature teach with a passion that only the Holy Spirit can inspire? I worry about these classes being in the hands of bureaucrats who will make decisions about who teaches the Bible as literature. I also worry about who will decide if a teacher is being too passionate and may be influencing some young people to become Christians. Don't forget that a bureaucracy that has, philosophically, moved further and further away from Christian moral values during the last 100 years oversees our public schools.
What do you think? Should the Bible be taught as literature in our public schools? Does this do harm to the sacredness of God's Holy Word, or will even a dry presentation make a valuable contribution to the lives of many (this has happened before in history)? Do you think that Christians should get behind the Bible Literacy Project? We here at Carolina Christian Conservative would really like to know what you think. Please take a moment to let us and our readers know how you feel.