Richard Levy: Examining Bible curriculum

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I too appreciate a healthy discussion regarding controversial topics. Introducing the Bible into our public schools certainly falls into this category.

There have been numerous letters and articles printed. Many had misleading statements which I would like to address.

Much has been said about the history and distribution of the Bible. I agree that the Bible has been around for a very long time. But endless re-writing, interpretations and translations of a work does not indicate that its contents contain more fact than fiction.

A misleading statement is "90 percent of the world has the Bible in its own language." I am sure that India and China have had bibles printed for them but, Christians are severe minorities there.

According to the World Almanac, there are a lot of people claiming faiths that follow the Bible -- about 2 billion. But that pales with the 4 billion who claim no connection with this text. This number includes 1.2 billion Muslims, 800 million Hindus and the 700 million people who claim to be nonreligious.

On the matter of the Bible's role in the founding of our country, the basic tenets of various faiths may have been strong among our founding fathers. But our country and those documents that specifically founded our republic were very careful in avoiding organized religion. If you read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, keeping our government out of religion (and religion out of our government) was a founding principle. Government and religion was a practice in England that our founding fathers were escaping.

Using Thomas Jefferson as a religious proponent is the biggest offense. According to E.M. Halliday in "Understanding Jefferson," Jefferson had a belief in God, but "was fiercely antagonistic to organized religion." Jefferson is the author of the "Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom" which is considered to be the origin for the First Amendment to the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson's constant writings against church and state associations were so prevalent that he was labeled an atheist and had his morals questioned during his campaign for president.

About the curriculum. I went to the Web site, www.bibleinschools.net. What I found was very interesting.

The curriculum is promoted by the "National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public School." They have an advisory board. It includes elected politicians, officials from Christian institutions and Chuck Norris, among others.

The Web site states the curriculum is in use in 292 school districts. There are more than 14,000 school districts in the United States. So 97 percent of the school districts have elected not to use this program.

The Web site states that this curriculum "is altogether appropriate in a comprehensive program of secular education." Since this is not part of a comparative (or comprehensive) religion course, I'd say it is not appropriate as a stand-alone elective.

Unfortunately, I could not view the curriculum, only the table of contents. What I did find in the lesson plans:

Unit 1: Bible Book Letter Box Puzzle

Unit 2: Abraham Seek-n-Find Puzzle

Unit 5: Passover Feast and Recipes

Unit 6: Acts of General Assembly of Commonwealth of Kentucky Plan for the Tabernacle

Unit 14: Nicodemus Crossword Puzzle

This is the material we want presented to students at the Steamboat Springs High School?

If parents think children "deserve a more complete education" let them spend a little more time with their offspring and teach whatever they want at home.

When I first heard about offering this course in our public schools I was totally against it. Now that I've had the opportunity to investigate further, I am livid. If this issue continues, I will see to it that the public learns more about the truths into this constitutional and educational disaster.

Richard Levy

Steamboat Springs

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