Trump Endorses Teaching Religion in the Public Schools. What Can He Be Thinking?

“Students in a public school classroom could, of course, study the Bible as the product of the societies where the stories emerged from an oral tradition into written text and examine changes in the world since those times, along with considering the implications of various translations over the generations, and, of course, their style, including the poetry which Gophik loves. At the end of our long and emotional meeting, members of the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy agreed that any study of religious literature in public schools ought to include the study of the history and texts of the world’s religions, a sort of comparative religions course. But we suspected the creators of the text we had been asked to review did not have that kind of curriculum in mind.”


In the Washington Post, John Wagner reports that legislators in six states—North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, and Florida—have introduced bills to permit public schools to teach the Bible as literature.  President Donald Trump endorsed this effort last week in a tweet: “Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible.  Starting to make a turn back?  Great!”

The President advocates teaching about the Bible to “make a turn back”—to Make America Great Again.  He wants to appeal to his base.

I suspect the promoters of teaching “about the Bible” also have something else in mind.  Their purpose is obscured by some vague language that very likely tries to hide a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Some promoters of the “teach about the Bible” movement describe wanting their schools to teach Biblical literacy, and some say they are interested…

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