Sunday, August 30, 2009

ACLU Against Bible As Curriculum

In Idaho, a charter school is planning to use the Bible as part of its curriculum. It won't be a worshipful study, and the curriculum would include the Holy Bible, the Koran, and the teachings of Confucius and Greek philosophers. The Nampa Classical Academy is putting the plan on hold until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU is settled.

The ACLU often invokes "separation of church and state" in its arguments. That phrase came from Thomas Jefferson (as part of a private letter). I wonder if the ACLU stops to think about the fact that, as president (small "p") of the Washington, D.C. public school system, Jefferson approved the use of two primary reading sources: the Holy Bible and the Watts Hymnal. I believe in that instance Jefferson thought this OK because the students were not worshiping via those book, but were "merely" studying them.

So how is this charter school different? If even Jefferson, arguably the founder most likely to object to government's involvement in a variety of areas including religion, would encourage the use of the same Bible in the classroom, why then do we assume that the Constitution Jefferson was sworn to uphold would prohibit a similar use of the Bible today?

Read more here.


LexAequitas said...

This link might be helpful

"But the Idaho Press-Tribune reported that the Idaho Public Charter School Commission released on Aug. 14 a statement saying the state constitution “expressly” limits use of religious texts."

The ACLU gives guidance itself on how to implement Bible courses in public schools.

History Matters said...


Thanks for the links and comment. As mentioned in the title and body of the post, my main point was about the ACLU's objections. Even based on the ACLU page you linked, the school's proposed use of the Bible seems to have fit their standards. However, I admit there may be some facts about the school's program that may not have been presented in the article. Perhaps there was a reason for the objection that is consistent with the ACLU's website statements. There record, it seems to me, has been a bit on the "reactive" side against Christianity or Judeo-Christian topics. (I'll say that it HAS been refreshing to see the ACLU go up against a charter school in Minnesota because they appear to be promoting the Muslim faith rather strongly.)

Thanks again for following, even if you don't agree in general with the thrust of the blog.

LexAequitas said...

Well, do keep in mind that the ACLU is a collection of individuals, so there may be some variation.

Additionally, since the country is 80% Christian, you would naturally see less need to defend their rights.

My point here was more that it is being presented as a state constitutional issue, not federal. The course could indeed be completely consistent with the Federal Constitution and the ACLU's national recommendations and still be inconsistent with the Idaho Constitution.