Bible still part of school

By Colin Willmott

While reading Brenda Kay Zylstra’s article “Reading, writing and Revelation” stressing the Bible in curriculum, I found her argument lacking in its defense of her assertion. The Bible is indeed the most widely sold book of all time for good reason. Three billion people (about half of the world’s population, including myself) revere the teachings and values in the Bible. A class devoted entirely to the Bible, however, shouldn’t be included in the curriculum in public American schools.

Zylstra rightly states that our founding fathers were influenced by their religion and our national motto is indeed “In God we Trust.” However, Thomas Jefferson used the term “wall of separation” between church and state to indicate how the First Amendment regarded religion in government. The Founding Fathers strongly felt that religion should not permeate places funded by the government. Although classes are not uniquely geared toward the Bible in public schools, it is no way ignored. English classes often discuss works that are heavily invested in Holy Scripture, such as Shakespeare’s. The accusation that public schools are ignoring essential parts of novels because they deal with the Bible is simply unfounded.

The claim that many Americans are not adequately informed about the Bible is not all that striking. Knowing all Ten Commandments and the difference between Joan or Arc and Noah’s Ark is for many certainly important. For others it is not, and to teach from the Bible as it were a textbook in a public school would be unconstitutional. The American public school system has far greater pressing needs. According to a National Geographic study, 85 percent of young Americans could not find Israel, Iraq or Afghanistan on a map. American public schools clearly do not need the extra burden of teaching religion.

Colin Willmott

Junior in LAS