I posted yesterday a clip from Jon Merritt’s forthright stand against the teaching of the Bible in public schools. I disagree for a few reasons:
I see the Bible in a public conversation to be a good thing since it will enhance the reading of the Bible;
students are mostly sharp enough not simply to believe whatever a teacher in a public school might teach;
this will generate more conversations between parents and their children about the Bible;
this will encourage pastors and churches to be more aware of alternative views and it will necessarily sharpen their own readings;
one needs to be exposed to alternative views about the Bible;
Paul was happy someone was talking about the gospel even if he didn’t like all they were saying;
if pastors are going to hide the documents of the Pentateuch from the church then let the public schools do it…
We use too many scare tactics about the character and intent of those who will be teaching the Bible in public schools. I’d like to see some stats on the faith orientation and perspectives of those who do teach Bible in public schools. Our public high school had such a class, our daughter loved the class, and we were happy for her to take it.
And then I read this comment, from “Abby,” and it makes me aware that many Christian communities do not teach discourse or how to have a good conversation.
As a ninth grade english teacher in a public school I can tell you this. The Bible is already taught in public schools. How do you teach Lord of the Flies or any Shakesperean text without talking about the Biblical references. How do you teach what a hero journey is without talking about Job, and Jesus. You know why it is hard to teach the Bible in my classroom? The evangelical kids. (I say this as an evangelical.) They have been taught they have to DEFEND the Bible and make sure everyone knows it is THE TRUTH. So, I have to constantly battle them if I want to teach it in a literary context. I too believe it is the truth, and I trust that the truth stands and defends itself. My friend teaches history and dreads the world religion unit because the evangelical kids are so obnoxious about representing Jesus beyond a historical context.