WILMINGTON, N.C. - Gary Harris isn't seeking converts.The ACLU is trying to silence the Bible as a book of history, geography, poetry, and philosphy even though it is more than just the Word of God. Students can learn from it's history. So why does even that much scare the ACLU?
Still, the Bible is his business as he spends his days leading classes on its history at Laney and Hoggard high schools. The more students learn, the more complete an experience the Bible becomes, Harris said.
He's teaching, not preaching, however. The classes are academic courses open to the students who choose them, he said. His 8:30 a.m. New Testament class at Laney has barely an empty seat.
But recent inquiries from the American Civil Liberties Union have raised questions about whether the classes and others like it at Ashley and New Hanover high schools violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Is a class as secular as courts require if it says, for example, that the Bible's fulfilled prophecies give testimony to the fact of God's existence? What if local churches pay the teachers' salaries? And what if only believers teach?
The civil rights group says only that it is gathering information. But its interest alone may bring significant changes as educators examine what the classes teach and, perhaps more importantly, who teaches them.
The classes will continue this semester, but beyond that will be a school board decision, said Rick Holliday, the district's executive director of instructional services.
Losing the classes would be worse than canceling calculus, said Don Vigus, the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Bible, the church-supported group that hires and pays the teachers.
The book is at the roots of this country, inspiring people from the creation of the Bill of Rights to the unfolding of the civil rights movement, he said. For most kids who don't go to church, the classes are their one chance to learn the Bible, he said.
The Executive Committee has been paying for classes in New Hanover County for more than 50 years. And left to a vote, it might easily do so for 50 more. Just a whiff of the ACLU's involvement brought out a long line of speakers to last month's school board meeting, all opposed to removing lessons about the "anvil on which our Constitution was formed."
Superintendent John Morris said he couldn't recall any complaints about the classes in his years atop the school system.
"You get to know the history of the Bible and the background of where it came from," said Ashley Hebert, a junior in one of Harris' classes. "He's not trying to cram Christianity down your throat or any religion."
The school board supports the classes as well. Even the area's senior rabbi finds them inoffensive. continue reading
Monday, February 27, 2006
ACLU: Saving Our Children From The Bible
Jay over at Stop the ACLU posted an important heads up about the ACLU's latest attack on The Bible. The ACLU are so threatened by this book. Here's the story...