Texas Bible study
The Texas Board of Education voted 10-5 to allow high schools to carry an elective Bible study course. The board chose to leave it up to individual school districts to design their curriculum, giving little guidance on how to keep within academic boundaries and avoid First Amendment lawsuits:
"A school district has the right to choose their own Bible curriculum because they know their students best," said board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands.
Mark Chancey, professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, has some concerns:
"The good book deserves better than it got today, and so does the state of Texas," Dr. Chancey said. "These courses can be a wonderfully enriching educational experience, but they must be taught in a way that is academically, legally and ethically appropriate. Teachers need and want resources to help them do just that.
"Instead, the board of education is sending them into a minefield without a map."
Ideally, the board would have drawn as clear a line as possible between academic study and religious indoctrination. The board's decision seems designed to blur the line, and to force anyone who wants to stand in the way to mount a legal challenge in the Texas courts.