Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Should the Bible Be Taught in Public Schools?—Update

The World Magazine Blog has a post today by Kristin Chapman linking to a May 12 editorial from the Chicago Tribune that argues that schools are failing today's youth by not teaching the Bible as literature. (Chapman's post has attracted a fair number of comments from the blog's readers, as well.)

The Tribune editorial states: . . .

It's every person's decision whether to believe or practice what is taught in the Bible. But no one can deny its influence. Trying to understand American literature and history without some knowledge of the Bible is like trying to make sense of the ocean despite a complete ignorance of fish.

The editorial also echoes what Alexander Samuels wrote Saturday about the irrational fear teachers have in teaching the Bible as literature:
. . . many high schools don't offer courses or even units of courses about the Bible. Some teachers and administrators fear that any such instruction is constitutionally forbidden or that it would somehow be inappropriate. In fact, the Supreme Court has made it clear that public schools are free to teach about the Bible just as they would any other work of literature or history. The U.S. Education Department has issued guidelines stressing that religion is an appropriate subject for study.


At Wednesday, June 08, 2005 8:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But teaching the quran is perfectly acceptable....

This goes back to my discussion with Ed Cone about how the minority and extreme libralism is ruling the country. Perfect case in point.

To say that the roots of this country are not deeply intertwined with the Bible is pure foolishness and utterly vacuous of honesty and study.

What is so wrong with knowing what the pilgrims were reading on their way to Plymouth Rock or why they left in the first place? Would that not be as important as telling them that they came over here to kill indians?

But that's what the liberals want you to believe. And that's what they want to teach the next generation. They are being intellectually dishonest regardless of whether they believe the contents of the Book or not.

I don't want them to preach the gospel, but to dismiss it is the height of stupidity and contempt.

the Heckler

At Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:30:00 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

If your history teacher didn't tell you why the pilgrims left in the first place, you got a crappy education. That doesn't have anything to do with teaching the Bible as literature. Furthermore, I believe that you are referring to the assigned reading to incoming students at UNC which was ABOUT Islam and had portions of the Qu'ran in it. I am sure that if you take a book that discusses Christianity that there would have to be passages of scripture in it.

I don't think anyone is dismissing the role of Christianity in the formation of our country. You just have to look at a quarter to find that out. But, I bet those pilgrims would not want us cramming our religion down other people's throats. Isn't that why the (essentially) left in the first place?

At Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:36:00 AM, Blogger Toad734 said...


It's very bad literature with very bad grammar and it is not an easy read.

Should the Quran be taught in public schools? What about the Torah?

There's your answer. I did a post on a similar subject; why ID should not be taught in schools.

At Thursday, June 09, 2005 10:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure. A book about the Book is fine with me. Exposure to the gospel can't hurt anything and I'd rather them not have the entire Bible. Given the opportunity, I bet some teachers would focus only on Duetoronemy, for example, and put kids to sleep and squash any future interest in the book.

My points are directed at those "educators" that view any mention or any literature about Christianty as some sort of toxic chemical. It's silly.

the Heckler

At Thursday, June 09, 2005 8:36:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Heckler, I don't know if you read the comments to the original post about this...but I'm in favor of teaching the Bible as literature, and it's the Christian conservatives in the comments who make it clear that they probably couldn't handle it.

Again you generalize about some imaginary group of "liberals," and again the facts rebut you.

At Thursday, June 09, 2005 9:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Ed...

Perhaps I was not clear. But no, I did not read the original version and the case I was making was not pertaining to any new proposal.

My point was strictly aimed at those that got us to this point. The point where teachers are scared to death to utter Jesus' name (even in historical content)in the school. No, not exagerating- I know teachers who say that it is just not worth the risk.

It wasn't that way when I went to school- or you either. It went from non-issue to a very big deal over the last couple of decades. Find me one Republican responsible for this course of action!

That mythical group who shoved this change through the system, I dare say, voted for Carter, Mondale, Clinton, Gore and Kerry.

But you do keep going back to the point that these people do not exist (liberals). Would you care to ellaborate? Or should I just call these people the "misled's" from now on?

At Monday, June 13, 2005 2:54:00 PM, Blogger jimcaserta said...

How many commenters/readers were exposed to the Bible during their public school education? I was, in 1991, my sophmore year of HS - yeah, not recent history, but I don't feel old. We read Job (Howard Dean's favorite New Testament book) which highlights a fundamental issue in faith. If we have a just God, why do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. I don't recall anyone objecting to the assignments, and my town (Broward County, South Florida) would not be described by anyone as overly conservative. I think we are missing the point - should public school teachers try to convert students to any particular faith, should teachers have the freedom to teach what they feel is appropriate? I say no to #1 and yes to #2. On the other side, my Jr. year teacher had us read a photocopied article from playboy - we could tell the source from the cartoon. The reason she chose the source, and, stop laughing, is because of the qualities of the articles. Many high-level well-known authors choose to publish in playboy because of the freedom it gives them. So, I say freedom for teachers on both sides of the spectrum.


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