RSS
Texas and the Bible in school
Is a Texas law mandating a Bible elective in all public schools a violation of church-state separation?

“Unbelievable,” said Charles Johnson in Little Green Footballs. As of this school year, all Texas public schools will be required to offer a course on the Bible. “Apparently, there are quite a few politicians and school board members in Texas who are either 1) unaware of the existence of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or 2) actively trying to subvert it.” (watch KLTV News report)

Nonsense, said William Mattox Jr. in USA Today. “You can’t effectively explore American history,” or even pop culture, without knowing “the stories, themes, and words of the Bible.” Kudos to the Texas Board of Education for not skirting this “contentious fight.” As long as the teachers avoid “engaging in religious indoctrination,” these classes should benefit everyone.

That’s one of the problems with the law, said Jeremy Burchard in The University of Texas Daily Texan. Teachers haven’t been trained to teach “such an explosive topic,” and Texas didn’t provide funding to instruct them. That means biblical literacy classes will “devolve” into legally questionable, polarizing free-for-alls—and “dozens of inevitable lawsuits” will follow.

I share “a vague sense of unease at the state's forcing local districts to provide such courses,” said Marc Moore in PoliGazette. But the Christian church “has done more to shape Western culture” than any other institution, and its history is in many respects “the history of Europe and America.” Regardless of creed or beliefs, children should understand the Bible.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week