In March, a bill passed Georgia’s House on a 151-7 vote allowing high schools to form elective courses on the history and literature of the Bible. The Old and New Testaments would be the primary texts of these classes which would focus on the law, morals, values and culture of the eras. Similar legislation has been introduced in Alabama and is under consideration in Missouri.
Advocates for these courses in public schools, including both Republicans and Democrats, contend that the Bible permeates our culture similar to Greek and Roman mythology. The writing of Milton, Faulkner, and Dickens, the artwork of Michelangelo and da Vinci, and the music of Handel and U2 are all infused with the biblical symbolism and references. They argue that the biblical literacy is important to a well-rounded education.
Opponents are concerned that indoctrination is the underlying motivation for introducing the Bible in our nation’s high schools. They fear this will allow groups to gain wider access to impressionable youth. Others support the idea but are concerned over who will be teaching the courses and whether they will be able to negotiate the separation of church and state in their classrooms.
Some religious groups would welcome this as a small but important step in legitimizing the study of religious thought, but does this amount to a government endorsement of religion? Does it make a difference if it is an elective verses a required course? Should schools offering these classes be required to add classes on other religious texts?
Join us at Café Society this week to tell us your thoughts on the Bible literacy movement.
This Week’s Articles:
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.