I have a question. Here's the thing; my brother is a sophmore in high school, and this year his litterature class is studying parts of  the Bible. He goes to a public high school, and I wonder if that's a vilolation of the seperation of church and state?

 

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Depends, what do you mean by teaching parts of the bible. Do you mean he's being taught that the bible is the literal word of god or being taught from a social point of view. English and literature classes can teach about religious literature ( especially sense it is literature) as long as they don't advocate it in a religious way. An example would be to say that the bible is the word of god rather than saying the bible is viewed as the word of god.
I agree with Vulpes, it definitely depends on how it's being used. For example, I just finished a humanities class which included dissecting the three Judaic religions and their holy books. It was purely from the perspective of understanding the effects they had on the culture both then and now. The result of the class was definitely not to pressure anyone into subscribing to any of the faiths but rather the opposite.

I'd be inclined to believe your brother's teacher is using the bible just for studying written material, not as an attempt at converting students. However, if you're concerned, you could always ask just to be sure.
The Bible is a very important part of English Literature I would think. So if the Bible is the subject of study in a literature class it is not about the promotion of religion and therefor perfectly acceptable. Teaching about religion or subjects that are related to religious texts are fine as long as they do not actively promote the religion.

Hi Emma,

 

I agree with the responders; it's all in a matter of context. (Oh, how I hate that word!)

 

Personally, I became an atheist after I read the Bible. Don't forget it was Isaac Asimov, the great science fiction writer (and much more) who said: "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."

 

Be well.

 

As long as it's treated as literature, it should not be a problem.  I would watch it closely and ask him what is said.

 

My son is a junior and was required to read Job.  I saw it as a perfect chance to dissect the bible, pointing out that a petty and human-like god is portrayed playing very horrible games with an innocent human.

 

So, I would help your brother study and ask him lots of pointed questions.  The more people know about the bible, the less they believe.

 

What parts have been assigned as reading?

I taught the "Bible as Literature" for 30 years in a public school.  Everyone knew I was an atheist, so I sometimes had theist parents ask to sit in.  I allowed it.  I simply treated the bible as I did hamlet.  "God" is a character in the bible, as the ghost is a character in "Hamlet."

 

The book of Esther, by the way, is the plot of most of the Dudley Do-right cartoons, and the story of Samson is "The Honeymooners," The Flintstones," or even "The Cosby Show,' with a tragic twist at the end.

The story of King Saul is a tragedy much like greek tragedies--Oedipus Rex, for example.
I just found out my sophomore son has Bible as Lit on his curriculum.  My head has exploded.
I remembered this thread so searched and found it.  Reading through the responses I feel better now.  Brian your words as a teacher whose done it are comforting.  My son probably won't be the only atheist in the class after this unit. 
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