Bible Literacy Project News
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Alabama brings the Bible back
Written by Alisa Harris
Starting this year, Alabama public-schooled students will study the
Bible with the State Board of Education's unanimous approval. Alabama is
the first state to approve the Bible Literacy Project’s textbook, The
Bible and its Influence, as part of its state curriculum.
October 18, 2007
Sheila Weber, Vice President of Communications for BLP, told WoW the BLP
created the textbook “to give school boards a greater level of
confidence, so they could see exactly how the subject matter was being
presented.” The Bible and its Influence takes a non-devotional,
academic approach to studying the Bible. It walks students through the
Old and New Testaments, with side explorations of topics like “Milton
and the Bible,” “Exodus and Emancipation,” and “Freedom and Faith in
Any Bible textbook must walk a shaky wall between church and state.
Forty scholars -- Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, mainline Protestant,
and Orthodox– reviewed the textbook before publication. The book has won
endorsements from evangelicals like Chuck Colson, Vonette Bright from
Campus Crusade for Christ and Janet Crouse from Concerned Women for
America. TIME Magazine has also praised it, and Charles Haynes, senior
scholar with the First Amendment Center, reviewed and endorsed it.
According to the
San Diego Union Tribune, Barry Lynn of Americans United for the
Separation of Church called the textbook one-sided: “To teach religion
objectively, you really have to teach the good, the bad and the ugly and
this book only teaches the good.” The book’s introduction tells
students, “You will not be pressed into accepting religion. You will
study about religion as presented in the Bible, but you will not be
engaged in the practice of religion.” Earlier critics pointed to factual
errors in the textbook, but a second printing has addressed concerns.
Only 8 percent of public schools offer an elective course on the Bible.
Now that 160 schools have implemented The Bible and its Influence
and 2,000 educators are reviewing it, that statistic may change.
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