Bloomberg News has an article about one of those elective “Bible as history and literature” courses, this one taught at a public school in Sonora, Texas. And the article makes clear that this is little more than a Sunday school class. It’s even taught by a pastor.
In a Sonora, Texas, public high-school classroom usually used to teach computer programming and physics, four students are getting Bible lessons from a teacher who doubles as a pastor.
“What change shall be made in our bodies at the resurrection?” teacher Clyde Dukes asked, reading from a textbook. “How does God keep our hearts and minds?”…
Dukes, 64, who for about 30 years has been a pastor at a Church of Christ near Sonora, disputes that his class promotes a religion…
In the classroom in Sonora, a town of about 3,000 an hour and a half drive from the Mexican border, Bible study is an optional course on the Old Testament in the first half of the year and the New Testament in the second. Those in the 8:45 a.m. class all said they’re Christian.
On an April day, four students sat in rows at desktop computers as Dukes guided students line by line through Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi. The apostle urged the Philippians to live humbly and focus on God, avoiding grumbling and arguing.
Student Mario Soto, 16, read Philippians 3:21 aloud. When Dukes posed his question from the textbook, called the Bible Study Course, students sat silent.“This is one of the interesting questions in the Bible: What is it going to be like after our lives end?” said Dukes, who paced the front of the classroom. “The Bible doesn’t answer that directly, but it says it’s going to be very good. It says our body won’t be the same. But it will be glorious. There will be no sickness or disease.”…
The Bible Study Course, a two-volume textbook, was produced in the 1920s and 1930s by ministers and teachers for Dallas public schools, according to a foreword by former city school Superintendent W.T. White. Schools and churches used the books for decades, with students earning high-school credit after completing a test, Chancey said. The texts haven’t been updated since 1946.
Dukes said he chose the Bible Study Course because it was cheaper than other books and asks direct questions on Bible teachings. He complies with state law by sharing his historical knowledge and not imposing personal views, he said.
It’s a Sunday school class. That’s all it is. He isn’t taking a scholarly approach to the subject, he’s telling them what the Bible says about how they should behave and what they should believe.