Understanding the Bible necessary for success
Cape Henlopen students may be denied the opportunity to take an elective class that could well make a big difference in their scholastic and business lives. Information on the class on the Bible and Its influence has been presented to the board and is under discussion.
This class came about to address concerns of non-Christian parents who saw their children being disadvantaged by a lack of an overall knowledge of the Bible. It is not a religion class, nor does it attempt to prescribe a particular morality. Everyday Biblical Literacy (Lang, 2007), and others catalogue the literally hundreds of Bible phrases, characters, place names, and symbols that have become the common currency of Western culture.
While no final ruling has been made on whether or not to introduce it to Cape Henlopen School District curriculum, there is vigorous and vocal opposition to it. The opposing concerns voiced at the last school board meeting all seemed appropriate to a religion class but not to curriculum dealing with history and literature. That decision has been tested over the years to the conclusion that any course that teaches the Bible academically, that provides an awareness of the religious content of the Bible while not promoting religion, and that does not require conformity to beliefs encountered in the study of the Bible is legally acceptable in public education.
All opposition expressed at the school board meeting falls into the general (unfounded) concern of separation of church and state while failing to acknowledge the broad consensus of the impact and value of Biblical knowledge. People who are generally quite critical of the religion expressed in the Bible still acknowledge its value as literal and a cultural reference. Here are just two examples.
H.L Menken called it “a mine of lordly and incomparable poetry.” Richard Dawkins asks “ how on earth can anyone who cares about language be so ignorant and insensitive as not to appreciate the magnificent tones of the King James Bible?"
The issue under discussion is not about believing in God or the Ten Commandments. It is an opportunity for understanding how much of our knowledge, literature, law and science all arose and is based on an understanding of the Bible.
I would urge the Cape Gazette to support making this course available to the young people in our district.