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Betty Winston Bayé: Speaking as a Christian, Bible shouldn’t be taught in public schools

February 25, 2010

Editorial writer and columnist Betty Winston Bayé with the Louisville Courier-Journal has a good column today offering her perspective, as someone who is “unabashedly and unashamedly Christian”, that the Bible should not be taught in taxpayer-funded schools.

Her column comes as Senate Bill 142 sponsored by Sen. David Boswell makes its way through the Senate. The bill would allow school districts to create an elective course on the Bible, but limit its study to the cultural, literary and historical significance of the text.

As Bayé points out in her column, separating the religious from the secular in a text that is the foundation for a religion is difficult and could be a disservice –

Christians who support Bible-teaching in America’s public high schools should be worried that some are so eager to build momentum for such classes that they suggest all the faith can be sucked out of the Bible so that it can be taught merely as literature, social studies, geography or history, not really much different than any other textbook. Though the Bible certainly has all those elements, it is first, last and always a sacred book of faith — though some have said it would be OK to teach it in the public schools on the condition that it be treated only as mythology.

Our editorial board recently weighed in on the issue, saying that there seemed little reason for the law, and that promoting the Bible’s study in public schools without specific, detailed guidance about how that study should be conducted is fraught with potential controversy.

Bayé makes a similar point in her column –

Think about this. If grown folks argue, fuss and have started wars over scriptural interpretations, it’s unrealistic to expect some state-divined guidelines for Bible-teaching to keep conflict and tensions from arising in public schools. Young people are not only highly susceptible to being proselytized, but may lack the tools to react to a teacher who teaches the Bible from a perspective that hardly can be considered neutral.

It’s a good column, and well worth a read, and not only because it echoes some of the same points we made in our editorial.

Update:

Senate Bill 142 passed the full Senate today with only one “no” vote, and now heads to the House.

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