If You’re Not Forced to Read the Bible in Your Public School…

… then you ought to be celebrating.

Today is the 46th anniversary of Abington School District v. Schempp, the Supreme Court case that declared school-sponsored Bible reading unconstitutional. (It was consolidated with another case, Murray v. Curlett.)

Ellery Schempp, a plaintiff in the case, was in 11th grade at the time. You can read his remarkable story here.

  • http://www.atheistabomination.blogspot.com/ Ethos

    Unfortunately I was still forced to pledge allegiance to one nation under God in school.

    But then I was a believer of said God back then.

  • littlejohn

    I’m old enough to remember praying, pledging and ducking under my wooden desk, which would, of course, protect me for a nuclear blast.
    I think every child should be forced to read the Bible, but only the naughty bits.

  • Les

    Sadly, my school goes so far as to say that NOBODY is allowed to read Bibles.
    Yes, I’m serious.

    Even though I don’t read the Bible as I’m not Christian, I think their rule is taking this decision too far.

  • Matto the Hun

    About a year ago found out that my mom is one of those sad sad people who thinks this is a bad thing.

    She forwarded some idiotic email forward that had something to do with some crap Ben Stein said (and some other stuff he didn’t say but was attributed to him). Long story short, she thinks the Columbine tragedy wouldn’t have happened if there were bibles in schools. (maybe it deflects bullets?)

    After I pointed out that there are plenty of places around the world that get along fine and in fact have lower levels of violence with out Bibles, indeed w/o Christianity; all she did was reassert her nonsensical statement w/o offering any rebuttal.

    I had never seen that side of my mom before, and it makes me very sad.

  • John Larberg

    Ah, when mandatory Christianity ended…at least by schools.

  • Matto the Hun

    Ah, when mandatory Christianity ended…at least by schools.

    Thanks John I almost forgot that fine little point.

    Somehow not having the freedom to shove Christianity down other people’s throats tramples Christians’ “freedom of religion”… or so my mom seemed to claim.

  • Erp

    Actually Columbine almost certainly did have Bibles unless their library was woefully understocked (and children’s backpacks, etc).

    Forbidding Bibles including reading by students in their own time or teachers back in the teachers’ lounges is also absurd and probably unconstitutional.

  • http://blondeshikseh.blogspot.com/ marfita

    I was one of those who was forced to read Bible (New Testament) passages aloud in school. I tried to weasel out of it, but at 13 or 14 I didn’t have the courage to refuse outright. Oddly enough, I was a nominal believer and church-goer, but was concerned about the legality of it and ashamed I was about to subject my Jewish friends to this outright proselytizing. I’m still kicking myself about this 40-some years later. Shoving religion down the throat of a captive audience was not how I was raised and was just one of many things that pushed me over the edge away from Xianity.
    I applaud the courage exhibited by Ellery Schempp – the courage I lacked.

  • thiolsulfate

    I was assigned to read the Bible cover to cover as literary piece.

    It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I sincerely doubt that I would be an atheist today if I hadn’t first read the bible. Of all the things that helped to catalyze my faithlessness, reading the bible was of the greatest influence.

  • Spurs Fan

    I was assigned to read the Bible cover to cover as literary piece.

    It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I sincerely doubt that I would be an atheist today if I hadn’t first read the bible. Of all the things that helped to catalyze my faithlessness, reading the bible was of the greatest influence.

    Amen!

  • keddaw

    Critical Biblical studies should be compulsory in all US schools!

    Critical being the key word.

  • qeenzryche

    Bible school begot Atheism

  • Emily

    I am indeed celebrating.

    I was so excited when my Biology teacher taught evolution last trimester.
    and I LOVED how much the girl sitting next to me hated it. :P

  • Heidi

    Definitely something to celebrate. I remember back in the Reagan years when they enforced the moment of silence/prayer thing. I found it uncomfortable. They said you could excuse yourself, but the one day I did, I was “spoken to.” A kid in the hall asked me why I’d excused myself. Silly me, I told the truth. “Because it’s stupid.” Yeah, I got pulled aside by my horrified 5th grade teacher after the kid told on me. I was not to say prayer was stupid.

    She had a big thing about how I made other kids feel stupid though. Like the day in social studies class when she asked about land at the poles. A kid started talking about the North Pole, and she was going right along with him. So I finally said, “I thought there was only land at Antarctica, at the South Pole.” No lie, she actually said “Heidi, he’s talking about where SANTA CLAUS lives.”

    No wonder she didn’t think prayer was stupid.

  • Alison

    I went to Abington, and now they’re all proud about this case. They’re all full of themselves because of the history. I think they forgot they originally wanted to keep prayer..

    Though that might just be Abington, people here tend to brag about what they have/what they’ve done.


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