Teaching the Bible in Public Schools

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Teaching the Bible in Public Schools There are many debates about teaching the Bible in public schools and whether or not teaching the Bible in the classroom is constitutional. The courts have ruled against the devotional instruction of the Bible, however it should not be overlooked that the Bible can be recognized for its contribution to the Western culture. In the article, "The Case for Teaching the Bible", David Van Biema clearly demonstrates how the Bible is “the bedrock of Western Culture" (40). General Counsel for the American Jewish Congress, Marc Stern referenced the 1948 case McCollum v. Board of Education and the 1963 Schempp decision when he wrote, ‘It is possible to teach a course about the bible that is constitutional’ (qtd. in Biema 42). There is no law against using the Bible in schools; teaching the Bible in public schools should be acceptable as long as the course is neutral in its approach. Students with an understanding of the Bible may have an advantage in academia due to its many references in history and literature. Many people argue that teaching the Bible in the public school is unconstitutional and say that it violates one’s first amendment right. Stephen Prothero, chair of the Boston University religion department, argues that he has “never seen a Bible-literacy course change anyone’s faith one way or another” (qtd. in Biema 44). Instead, Prothero believes that the course takes the biblical claim and uses it for academic discussion. In 1963, a Supreme Court decision in the case of Abington Township School v. Schempp removed prayer from schools. A post-Schempp coalition disputed that “teaching the Bible in schools as an object of study, not God’s received word is eminently constitutional” (42). In response to the 1963 Schempp decision, Justice Tom C. Clark wrote, ‘Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or

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