Leave Bible teaching to respective faiths
I attended the Cape Henlopen school board meeting May 9 and am very concerned about the effort to introduce a new elective on the Christian Bible - called “Bible Literacy” - into the curriculum. As school board member Dr. Roni Posner explained at the meeting, the Bible is a sacred text and should not be taught to children outside of a worship context. There is too great a risk that they will not understand the meaning of the text, and the teacher will not be allowed to provide religious guidance.
Personally, if I had children in the public schools, I would not want them taught about the Bible by someone outside my faith tradition. There are just too many interpretations out there, and as a parent I would want to control the way the text is taught to them. I am sure many parents would agree with me.
And ironically, although it is Christian conservatives who are advocating for this new course, I suspect many of them might not be happy having the Bible treated as if it is just another book or taught by someone who believes it is a historical document written over time (the scholarly view), rather than the literal Word of God.
In addition, teaching the Bible to teenagers outside of a religious context, especially given how few of today’s teens have a religious background, could encourage atheism because many of the stories in the Bible sound ludicrous to non-believers: Did Sarah really give birth at age 91? Did the Red Sea really part during the Exodus? Did Jesus really turn water into wine? Did He walk on water? Did He rise from the dead? And when a student asserts the stories are ridiculous or unbelievable, the teacher will not be able to defend the text on religious grounds. That is a problem.
Biblical literacy is an important subject, but let’s leave it to colleges and universities to teach, not our public schools.
Dr. Claire Snyder-Hall