Time to Open Your Bible Textbooks, Kids
"The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion."
Georgia may go down in history as the first state in the nation to treat the Bible as a textbook:
Though students in many states enroll in classes related to the Bible, Georgia would become the first to require its Department of Education to put in place a curriculum to teach the history and literature of the Bible. Schools would use the book itself as the classroom textbook. Specifically the bill would establish electives on both the New and Old Testaments.I guess this means Bart Ehrman, author of Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, won't be invited to speak at Georgia schools anytime soon.
It has overwhelmingly passed both chambers, but needs a final vote on a minor House change. If it passes, the state's Department of Education has a year to establish Bible elective courses in the curriculum.
In the late 1700s, Congress thought enough of the Bible as a textbook that it printed 40,000 copies. But the bold effort here in Georgia to use the Bible in today's secular curricula may be about presenting it as a moral code rather than a foundation to better understand the biblical allusions in literature, critics say.
"Behind this is the tension around the country about how to go about doing a Bible elective, and a lot is at stake," says Charles Haynes, director of the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.