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 The Bible in public schools 
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I found Tuesday's discussion to be informative, revealing, and disturbing. The class seemed to mostly be in favor of allowing most every banned book discussed, yet when it was mentioned that a Kindergarten teacher was using the Bible to read stories to her class, an immediate disapproval was voiced from several members. This to me seemed to be ironic and, dare I say, hypocritical.
The discussion about "And Tango Makes Three" centered partially on teaching acceptance. In some of my previous posts, I have already mentioned that we as teachers can teach acceptance by exhibiting it ourselves, so why not accept stories from the Bible? Do not many stories from the Bible teach very important lessons of selfless love for other people? One may argue that with the Bible, we begin to move into the ideas of Heaven and Hell along with sin and how to live a life to be forgiven of sin and escape death. It is when these topics are discussed that people say that we must not force our ideas upon other people and therefore should not read the Bible in the class. Yet when these very same topics and ideas are discussed in books such as Harry Potter, we say that they are nothing but fantasy even though they may be ideas that have been pulled from other religions placed within the stories. One of the Harry Potter Books even mentions how to master death, a topic widely debated among theologians. If we as teachers are to be unbiased, why then do we mark the Bible as religious and books who touch on topics similar as pure fantasy? The root of the problem I believe here is not a matter of reading the Harry Potter books or viewing of the movies (of which I have done) to mark them as only fantasy. Instead, it is a matter of researching and understanding the ideas and topics placed into the novels because being ignorant other religions and ideas does not automatically classify them as being fantasy.

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Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:53 pm
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I think you make a great argument Joshua! There are so many books published today that can be considered just as controversial as the Bible, yet people choose to ban the Bible in schools because it is religious. I also think it is hypocritical not to even have the Bible in school libraries when in history classes, teachers and students are constantly referring to time periods as B.C. and A.D., direct references to Christ himself! If you can use these in classes, why not have a Bible in the library?! I also stated in another post that the Bible is one of the most historical books ever written, which would be great for anyone interested in knowing what happened during the times before and after Jesus.


Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:55 pm
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I agree with you Josh. It seems that people teach and preach acceptance, tolerance, and diverrsity EXCEPT when it comes to Christians. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and this should include Christians too.

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Shannon Wilson


Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:12 pm
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You make a great point Joshua! I think you said it just right!!!!!

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Jessica Layne Caldwell


Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:47 pm
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Unfortunately I have to disagree. There is a huge difference between having the Bible availiable to students and forcing students to pray at lunch. The Bible should be there for whoever wants to read it but there are so many other religions out there, and to in a sense "force" your students to say a blessing and read Christian stories is offensive to those other religions. Correct me if I'm wrong but this teacher doesn't seem to be giving her students the option to participate or not and for some family that is Jewish, that goes against what they believe and what they want to teach their child. We as teachers need to be respectful of all religions and give equal coverage of each of them, instead of forcing our religion onto those children.

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Kathleen Dahl


Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:05 pm
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I feel that the bible should be available in libraries because libraries are there to educate students. But, if the bible is available to the students then so should all books of other religions. The bible is referred to alot in history classes, so why wouldnt they have access to it!

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Jennifer MacNeill


Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:17 pm
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i completely agree jennifer! I couldnt have said it better myself :)

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Molly K Maness


Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:11 pm
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I think Joshua makes a great point and I have thought about it before. I have come to the conclusion after much thought that yes it would be nice if we could teach the Bible from a historical point of view and the stories within it. But more often than not, parents who want to make a big deal about it will not see it this way, even if you are teaching other religious stories and beliefs at the same time. The Bible has a definite stigma about it because it is so closely related in the United States with deep Christian beliefs. I think another great point was made that when you teach stories from the Bible you walk a very thin line and you have to be so cautious. The teacher that was talked about in class should be reprimanded and made to stop whether the parents care or not, because it is a public school.

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Kayla Danielle Keidel


Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:40 pm
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My high school had a Bible History class. The class was history based and looked at where the Bible came from. Honestly the class was used by many as a crap class that they could easily pass with an A. I agree with a lot of you that yes, the school needs to have a copy of the Bible in the library, along with other religious text. I have learned more about the history of that part of the world from the Bible then I have any other work (I have not read much of other religious texts). It is an important piece of writing that many want to look at and understand. Teaching the stories in the Bible has a very fine line that could easily be crossed. Some of the stories do carry good messages that are not religious in nature but show how we as humans should act. I would be careful if I were to try and teach something from the Bible, or any other text for that matter, simple because of the issues that are brought up every time it is mentioned.

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Tony Warren


Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:18 pm
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great point joshua! in my opinion...the upset that the Bible causes just goes to show what a powerful book it is.

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Candace Powell


Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:42 pm
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I never really thought about that joshua. It is interesting how many books we read in school promote or at least adress the issues that the Bible adresses that seem so "taboo" in schools. I like the idea of using some of the moral parables that encourage a good and loving life in school. of course it by no means has to become some kind of "textbook" for the class. My point is, sometimes especially in America we make everything so taboo. Why not look at things like the Bible, or Harry Potter and see if it will help our students as people and learners and evaluate from there. If the teachers heart is to protect and be gentle with the minds they are shaping, good decisions will be made. Also, that's why teachers have eachother to bounce things off of. If you are unsure, check with another teacher, see what they think.

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Jessie Stafford


Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:57 am
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oh and another thing I thought of,

why not poll the students?

before reading certain books, whether it be the Bible, Harry Potter or Tengo makes three, you could just take a poll and see how the students feel about it.

after all it is THEIR education. Why not let them have a say? Maybe this would encourage them to do some research themselves. We always talk about how people get upset or take stands against things they dont understand, so why not let the students develop a stance? maybe this would help promote a spirit of inquiry among students which helps make students who like the material. I know if a teacher had asked me if I wanted to read a book and develop a sound stance on why or why not, I definitely would have gotten more into the books.

also this would help pick out if people really would be offended or not. Good teachers understand were their students are at and what better way to do this then ask!

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Jessie Stafford


Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:04 am
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oh and another thing I thought of,

why not poll the students?

before reading certain books, whether it be the Bible, Harry Potter or Tengo makes three, you could just take a poll and see how the students feel about it.

after all it is THEIR education. Why not let them have a say? Maybe this would encourage them to do some research themselves. We always talk about how people get upset or take stands against things they dont understand, so why not let the students develop a stance? maybe this would help promote a spirit of inquiry among students which helps make students who like the material. I know if a teacher had asked me if I wanted to read a book and develop a sound stance on why or why not, I definitely would have gotten more into the books.

also this would help pick out if people really would be offended or not. Good teachers understand were their students are at and what better way to do this then ask!

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Jessie Stafford


Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:07 am
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I agree that it should be included in the library as a resource. However I agree with keeping school and church separate. I attend church regularly and would consider myself to be a Christian. People know if your a Christian or not by the way you act...not by reading the Bible in class. Your actions are going to go a lot further than forcing something on someone. I also wouldn't want to make a student uncomfortable by reading the Bible aloud in class. I know I would be uncomfortable if someone was conducting a different religion than I in a classroom. Also, I think it is the parents job to teach religion...not a teachers.

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Rebecca Mccollum


Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:55 pm
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I don't see anything wrong with this teacher incorporating the bible and Christian practices into her classroom as long as the parents don't have a problem with it, which they obviously don't since no one is taking any action to stop her. It's kind of like the "Christmas" or "holiday" concert. You just need to feel out the area that you are teaching in and decide from there what is and isn't acceptable. Unless someone objects, then blessing your food and reading bible stories can't hurt as far as I'm concerned!

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Colleen Ryan


Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:33 pm
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I agree with Jenn we should allow access to the students for all religions and for all books whether it be harry potter or the bible. Its just that when a teacher presents it in class such as the teacher described as making christian religion a daily practice in her class i think it becomes viewed by others as a personal belief of the teacher rather than just mere curriculum.

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Brandon Knox


Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:09 pm
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I think the only reason that people shun the idea of teaching from a religious book in public schools is that most are afraid that it may speak of something that goes against their own religion (or lack thereof) and they don't want their kids subjected to that. It is funny to sit in history class and learn about the crusades or the dividing of the catholic church and the wars that it caused or the killing of Jews during the holocaust... without really understanding the motives behind those religious moves in history because it will expose students to religion. Religion is a huge part of history, that has helped shape society today. If we are accepting of that fact why cant we use religious text for other things? Most religions speak of the same basic principle, to do good, respect life and treat others the way you would be treated. It is certainly possible to use religious texts and cover many religions with one idea. Now... being a music educator, I will never really experience this but it is something to consider.

Another issue would be the separation of church and state, and if we should abide by that to keep religious subjects out of public school... but that is for another discussion.

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Drew O'Keefe


Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:23 pm
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I can't justify not allowing a student to read the bible in school if they wish, that being said I also can't justify not allowing a student to read the Koran. We as teachers shouldn't limit students in what they want to learn. We should help them see their religion vs. another and help them understand the similarities and differences between the two. The separation of church and state was intended to keep one religion from becoming a power house with the help of the government, not to take religion completely out of schools. As long as we as teachers remain personally out of the "argument" then I don't see a problem with teaching any and all religions fairly.

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Patrick Watkins


Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:29 am
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