Bible in Schools: Let Freedom Ring

In almost 40 states and over 400 school districts in the U.S., including Texas, an elective bible course is being taught in public schools.  This seriously irritates local opinion writers and the ACLU, who want to ban your Texas kids from the freedom to choose an elective bible course in school.  That’s right, these courses are electives.  The only students taking a bible course will be those who choose to–no one else, period.   If you read the recent editorial, “Bible class a recipe…”, you owe it to yourself to keep reading.  It’s a shame that local and national intolerant groups, and other wolves in extreme leftwing clothing, want to restrict academic freedom and deprive schools of a huge opportunity to excel.  During the legislative session, one University of Texas professor testified that the taking of an elective course in the history and literature of the bible by a student is the “single greatest thing to do to increase college preparedness.”  Professors from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Rice, and Texas A & M, also believe knowledge of the bible equals a huge educational advantage.  Why, you ask?  The works of Shakespeare have more than 1300 biblical references, and more than 60% of the allusions recommended for study for the AP Literature and Composition exam are from the bible.  Additionally, people of various religious and nonreligious backgrounds have given their support for these types of courses.  The U.S. Supreme Court itself has said emphatically for the past 40+ years that “the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities.”  We hope you were not misled by the ‘legal opinions’ of an SMU biblical studies professor who is not an attorney (and other pundits with no legal training). The Professor’s survey of Texas Bible courses, although paraded as constitutional law, was in fact a subjective test funded by a liberal Austin group dedicated to religious censorship.  To see evidence of this settled area of law, look no further than the Ector County (Odessa, Texas) case, the only lawsuit in 70+ years regarding a bible course in Texas public schools.  The ACLU sued and wanted to prevent kids in a public school from choosing to read out of the Bible.  Remember this is the same out-of-touch group, the ACLU, which protects pornography online in public school libraries.  Let’s see, pornography in schools, yes, bible, no?  Bizarre.  It’s a shame they had to bring their New York lawyers to Texas, only to give up and settle the case, agreeing to let the school district have a bible class where the bible is the main textbook of the course.  How much did this case cost the Ector County School District?  Zero.  We defended the school district for free and we’ll do it again if necessary, in the name of academic and religious freedom.  We applaud the unified leadership of the State Board of Education, who voted 13-2 to approve such a course, and the bipartisan Texas Legislature in the House and Senate who voted 167-3 for elective bible courses.  Both votes are examples of representative government at its best.  It’s a shame that those with little or no training and experience in these important areas of law and policy want to take away your choice.  Our Texas children deserve better.

 Jonathan Saenz, Director of Legislative Affairs and Attorney, Free Market Foundation

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