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Education Reporter

The Bible as History and Literature (Curriculum), National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, King James Version/New International Version Parallel Bible, The Bible Reader, 2000, $70

The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS) has launched a program to bring a state certified elective Bible course into public schools nationwide. This curriculum focuses on education and its purpose is to convey the content of the Bible as a foundation document of society, which is both appropriate and constitutional in a comprehensive program of secular education.

The NCBCPS reminds parents that it is their constitutional right for their children to be permitted to study the Bible as literature and history in America's public schools. Even in its 1963 decision (School Dist. Of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203) which removed devotional study of the Bible from public schools, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that the Bible may still properly be taught. The court noted: "Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment."

"There is really no issue as to whether or not the Bible may constitutionally be taught in public schools," states the NCBCPS. "Our curriculum, which does not favor or disfavor a particular denomination or specific religious point of view, and which does not proselytize, meets all current constitutional requirements."

Many people do not realize that the Bible may be taught in public schools, and the NCBCPS is working to correct this common misperception. "Religion plays a significant role in history and society and its study is essential to understanding our nation and our world," NCBCPS materials state. "Study about religion is also important if students are to value religious liberty, the first freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights."

"The world is watching to see if we will be motivated to impact our culture, to deal with the moral crises in our society," writes Elizabeth Ridenour, president of NCBCPS. She urges parents to encourage their state school boards and local school districts to adopt the NCBCPS curriculum, which has been voted into school districts in 32 states. "It's coming back," she says, "and it's our constitutional right."

Contact NCBCPS at 336/272-3799 or write P.O. Box 9743, Greensboro, NC 27429.

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