March 24, 2007
"It's not just 'The Good Book'," said Georgia State Sen. Tommie Williams. "It's a good book." Williams was referring to the Bible in an interview about the state's decision to introduce Bible literary classes in the public schools. The movement to bring the world's best-selling book back into the classroom is gaining ground across the U.S., demonstrated, in large part, by a thoughtful Time magazine cover story on the subject. The article, "The Case for Teaching the Bible," argues that the social and cultural benefits of secular Bible classes outweigh any hypersensitivity about Church and State.
Drawing on polls that show over 60% of Americans favor teaching about Scripture in a secular setting like public schools, writer David van Beima discusses the consequences of our nation's Biblical illiteracy. Among them, he notes the lack of knowledge and understanding about Western civilization at large. Van Beima writes, "[In the end], what is required in teaching the Bible in our public schools is patriotism: a belief that we live in a nation that understands the wisdom of its Constitution clearly enough to allow the most important book in its history to remain vibrantly accessible for everyone."
What was lost in the sweeping 1963 Supreme Court case that removed prayer from public schools is the reality that the Constitution does not bar an objective treatment of the Bible and religion in schools. It encourages it. Yet the case triggered a mass exodus of any reference to Christianity in education. The time has come for our nation to experience a true revelation on the Bible's relevance--not only to our personal lives but to our identity as Americans.