Possibly as early as next Monday, the Georgia legislature will take a final vote on revisions on a bill to establish elective courses in the public schools in both the Old Testament and New Testament. The bill has already passed both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly. If the revision passes, it will make Georgia the first state in modern times to establish the Bible as part of its public school curriculum. The state's Department of Education will have a year to create these elective courses.
The Bible is already being used as a course study in as many as 1,000 American high schools, and has been allowed by the US Supreme Court, as long as it is presented objectively and not taught as fact. The option to use the Bible has been open to local school boards, but Georgia is the first state to implement Bible courses throughout the entire state, although individual school districts may opt out if they wish. Apparently Alabama and Missouri are also considering statewide Bible courses.
Sponsors of Georgia's bill say that students need an understanding of the Bible to better understand the foundations of Western culture. Much of Western literature and art, from Michelangelo, to Shakespeare, to contemporary writings draw from Biblical sources.
In the late 1700's Congress actually printed 40,000 copies of the Bible, and it was the most quoted source for the writngs of our Founding Fathers. Early textbooks relied on Scripture text to teach both reading and comprehension, as well as moral lessons.
As more states consider adding the Bible as literature and history courses to their curriculum, there will be a much wider debate about its scope and the intent of its Author.
What do you think about it? Should the Bible be taught in this fashion in public schools? Why or why not?