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Public-School Bible Classes Clear Hurdle in Texas
   Thursday, July 24, 2008   at   3:00 PM

The Texas State Board of Education has set guidelines for teaching the Bible in public schools, setting the stage for implementation of a law the state legislature passed last year.

The 2007 law permitted Bible classes to be taught as an elective in the state’s public high schools. The board of education’s 10-5 vote on the matter set policy for the courses, stating that the courses should follow applicable law and not favor or denigrate any religion. State Attorney General Greg Abbott has approved the board’s rules, saying they address any constitutional issues.

Enemies of the First Amendment disagree, of course. A spokesman for an organization euphemistically called the Texas Freedom Network said the vote is the result of “what happens when our elected officials put politics and personal agendas ahead of the interests of our school children and their families.” Our guess is that the spokesman wouldn’t object if the board had put his politics and personal agenda ahead of Texas families instead.

The result is that many Texas students in the years to come will be exposed to the historical and literary aspects of the Bible. Legally, all that remains is for the state attorney general to rule whether local school boards will be required to offer a Bible course. This is good news. The Texas board has long influenced other states where curriculum is concerned. Bible classes are already taught in hundreds of high schools in 37 states, and the likely addition of hundreds more is nothing other than a positive development.

It’s difficult to understand the opposition to any balanced, objective study of the Bible. We’re glad legislative and educational leaders in Texas have ignored the shrill arguments of the anti-faith fringe, and we hope other states follow suit.

CMC has endorsed the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, which has developed a curriculum that has withstood numerous legal challenges. For more information, click here.

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