Mich. School District Rejects Fundamentalist Bible Course

A Michigan school board has snubbed a Bible course created by a Religious Right organization.

In January, the Howell Public Schools Board of Education was asked by a parent to implement a Bible elective from the North Carolina-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. On Jan. 8, Wendy Day, a board member, proposed the curriculum, but her motion failed to garner a second from any of the other members.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which has long opposed the National Council’s curriculum, sent a letter urging rejection of the course.

“We are particularly concerned about the fact that the curriculum that the Board is considering adopting was designed by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools – a private religious organization created to spread the Christian faith,” wrote AU Litigation Counsel Aram Schvey in the Jan. 5 letter. “Attempting to proselytize, as the Council does, is permitted to a private group but not to the public schools.”

The National Council is aligned with Religious Right groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Family Association. The group’s Web site promotes the Religious Right canard of America as a Christian nation.

The Council asserts, “The Bible was the foundation and blueprint for our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, our educational system, and our entire history until the last 20 or 30 years.” (In fact, neither the Declaration nor the Constitu­tion refers to the Bible.)

At the public meeting, the Howell board heard from supporters and opponents of the curriculum. Hal Downs, president of the Americans United Michigan chapter, reminded the Board that religion is properly taught in homes and houses of worship. Bringing religion into schools, Downs said, would harm religion.