Bible classes and public schools

Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Florida all have proposed laws which would either compel or encourage schools to offer elective classes on the Bible.

No book has influenced America and western civilization as much as the Bible. It is foundational to our laws, ethics, and worldview. It’s references and allusions in film, literature and art are innumerable. The Bible influences our language. Many of our most beloved stories play on Biblical themes.

To be a well-rounded and well read person, it is important to know the Bible.

Naturally, there are people who oppose these measures. Opponents of Bible classes in public schools argue that the lines could be blurred in teaching the Bible as literature and making attempts to evangelize students.

The Bible is worth studying. Yes, teachers should be respectful that students would be coming to the Bible from different places. But many opponents of Bible classes in schools are the same people who have no problem with a secular and progressive agenda being pushed in public schools. Secularism also has its own value system and can makes attempts to proselytize. There can be political agendas in the sciences, history, and literature. Teachers are people who have opinions and their own biases and opinions within these areas of study.

If the classes are optional and students are choosing to learn about the Bible, they should have that right. There are people who support a kid having the right to choose what gender they want to be. But we must protect them from learning about the Bible? In an optional class!

Some people argue, “why don’t these schools teach the Koran or other religious texts too?” Those aren’t as foundational to our society as the Bible is. It also takes a certain level of expertise to be able to teach any of these books with any level of competence and more people are familiar with the Bible.

Last year, similar laws were on the books in West Virginia, Alabama, and Iowa, but none of them passed. Kentucky passed a law for Bible classes in 2017

President Trump commented on these laws on Twitter this week, when he said: “Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”

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Josh Benner  has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.

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