Education Law

Do Public Schools Promote Christianity?

Teaching but not preaching is the goal. But Christian religious instruction reportedly is the reality in many public schools that teach courses that purportedly seek to inform students about the Bible from a literary and historical perspective.

The issue is of growing importance, as an increasing number of public schools offer Bible courses, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Texas is the epicenter of the Bible battles,” the article says, noting that legislation enacted this year that sets standards for public-school Bible courses “could require every school in the state to offer them.” The most commonly used curriculum is under court challenge in Odessa.

Despite claims that such Bible courses are not religious, the vast majority “are explicitly devotional in nature and reflect an almost exclusively Christian perspective of the Bible,” says a 2006 study of Bible classes in Texas public high schools paid for by the Texas Freedom Network. “They assume that students are Christians, that Christian theological claims are true and that the Bible itself is divinely inspired—all of which are inappropriate in a public school classroom.”

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