In 1963, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Abington School District could no longer have Bible reading in their school as it was deemed by the court to be a violation of the First Amendment.
Since that time, Bible readings in public school as well as prayer have been consistently removed from the curriculum across the country. Many argue this ruling, along with a few others within a three-year time frame, was the first step away from God and towards a more hedonistic culture, which has had many negative consequences. Thankfully, it seems the tide might be turning back towards welcoming the Word of God in public schools.
There are currently seven states that offer Bible classes as an option in their public schools, and six more are expected to follow. This movement encouraged by believers who want to see the Bible back in schools is gaining ground. Believers who support the push say their goal is to “Teach the book that has shaped our civilization like no other.”
Randy Forbes, a former Congressman of Virginia, rightly points out that — more than a spiritual guide — the Bible is one of the foundational pieces of literature for our civilization.
“Who in the world would want to ban or censor one of the top five most impactful books in all of history?” he said.
Forbes, who is a leader in the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, is helping lead the charge for such classes. He is effectively spearheading the fight along with other lawmakers and activists to restore this important piece of our culture to prominence.
“Doesn’t it just make sense that we should have that book that has been so impactful at least be studied and examined by people who want to study and examine in the place where we go to explore ideas and look at what we are going to do for tomorrow?” Forbes asked.
Former Congressman Forbes isn’t the only politician to support the movement, though, as even President Donald Trump took the time to issue a Tweet on the matter.
“Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!” the president said.
As might be expected, not everyone is thrilled about the prospect of Bible classes being reintroduced into public schools. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are afraid Christians might use the Bible classes as a way to evangelize. Jonathan Merritt, former Virginal lawmaker and current writer for The Atlantic, explained the way critics view the movement.
“The problem, critics say, with these bills is that they’re really a covert attempt not just to teach the Bible as history or literature, but to teach the Bible through an interpretive lens essentially to promote Christian values in public schools,” Merritt said.
Congressman Forbes says that is not the case.
“We are not trying to get someone or tell someone they have to believe a certain thing,” he retorts. “We are just saying, ‘Look at the history of this book. Look at the importance of the ideas in this book. Look at how it plays a role in even the policies of the United States of America, and you make your own decision.'”
Merritt points out another potential issue that could come along with a public school teaching the Bible as a class option.
“It seems to me to kind of a strange ask that you would say, ‘Yeah, I want a government employee in the public school teaching my kid about Holy Spirit Scripture’ because when it comes to a lot of the scholarly consensus on Holy Scripture these things diverge from majority opinion among evangelicals,” he added.
It is understandable to expect push back from organizations and individuals who do not want the Bible to once again be part of public-school curriculum. However, for believers, the movement to once again introduce the Bible in the public sector at all, even just as a historic book, should be seen as positive.
~ 1776 Christian