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Although the ACLU has declared the practice unconstitutional, the Bible is being used as a textbook in classes taught in 300 school districts nationwide, according to a curriculum provider.
About 1,000 high schools in 35 states are using material produced by the North Carolina-based National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools in classes during regular school hours.
The organization says that while the ACLU is “up in arms” about it, there have been no complaints from administrators, teachers, students or parents.
NCBCPS says 93 percent of all the school boards it has approached to implement the curriculum have accepted it.
“This paradigm shift is not only taking place in the Bible Belt but in school districts in Alaska, California, across the board to Pennsylvania and down to Florida,” the organization says.
Elizabeth Ridenour, the NCBCPS’s president, explained to WND that people have been duped into believing that when the Bible was “removed” from public schools in 1963, that meant it couldn’t be used in any form.
But the U.S. Supreme Court consistently has upheld the teaching of the Bible as literature, as long as it is not employed for devotional purposes or indoctrination.
Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund told WND that, nevertheless, the ACLU is trying to intervene when any district considers the curriculum.
“They routinely will send a letter to the board and try to imply that what [the schools] are considering is unconstitutional,” Johnson said. “Of course, they know that is untrue.”
Johnson said the ACLU, and its ally People for the American Way, have cited a 1998 court ruling on a Bible curriculum used in Lee County, Florida.
But Johnson points out that curriculum was a modified version of NCBCPS’s that added elements making it unconstitutional, according to the court.
The organization’s elective class, “The Bible in History and Literature,” examines many aspects you wouldn’t expect to find in a Sunday School class, Ridenour said, such as how the Bible influenced America’s founding fathers, art, music and literature, including Shakespeare.
“There has been a gap in education,” she said. “Unless you have a working knowledge of the Bible, it’s difficult to understand our nation’s history.”
Ridenour notes, for example, that a secular research institute found that 94 percent of the documents that shaped the founding of the United States were based on the Bible. Among those documents, 34 percent of the contents were direct biblical quotations.
The NCBCPS, which has been working with school districts since 1994, says it’s “amazed at the snowball effect that is taking place across America” as more districts adopt the material.
The organization points to statistics indicating many Americans agree their children’s education is deficient.
The evangelical Christian researcher Barna Group said, according to a study this year, 50 percent of Americans agree that children are not well prepared for life intellectually, and 75 percent of adults say children are not prepared morally.
The NCBCPS sees an indication of the Bible’s impact in oft-cited statistics showing dramatic increases in unwed pregnancies, cases of sexually transmitted diseases, violent behavior and other social factors since the Bible largely was removed from classrooms in 1963.
The group says its updated 300-page curriculum and a new CD-Rom — produced by a development studio that works with Dreamworks — already is being requested by school districts.
Celebrities such as Chuck Norris and his wife Gena, Dean Jones and Tony Dorsett have participated in commercials to promote the project.
NCBCPS also has been invited to promote its materials for the next two years with The Dead Sea Scrolls To America Exhibit touring the country.
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