Stop Evangelizing of Students in Public School Classrooms

bible to math and science

Target: Texas State Board of Education

Goal: To ensure the constitutionality and quality of classes on the historical impact of the Bible in Texas public schools.

A recent report by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows that many Texas public school classes on the historical impact of the Bible are taught from a fundamentalist Christian perspective, use a literal interpretation of the Bible, and even promote racism. In 2007, the Texas State Legislature passed a law that allowed public schools to teach about the influence of the Bible in history and literature into school curriculum, which means that schools can either incorporate the lessons into existing classes or create new classes focused on the topic. In order to protect the separation of church and state and ensure an academic focus, the law included guidelines on how to maintain the constitutionality of the classes. The report discovered, however, that many teachers have not been trained on these important issues and lack of funding for training is a major culprit.

Many of the classes are taught from a conservative Protestant perspective with a literal interpretation of the Bible, for example asserting that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and the Bible is literally the word of God. The classes make other false claims about history as well, including the claim that the United States is a Christian nation founded on Protestant Christian principles. One class even incorporated a documentary on “Ancient Aliens” by comparing extraterrestrials to angelic beings. The classes are also often used for evangelistic purposes and make no attempt at hiding this fact. Many students are forced to memorize Bible verses instead of analyzing them, and a book used in one district directly states, “May this study be of value to you. May you fully come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. And may you have life in His name.” In addition to the overt evangelizing and incorrect historical teachings, the classes also ridiculously claim that all races descend from Noah’s three sons. This teaching has historically been used to defend slavery and justify racism because Noah cursed his son that was the supposed ancestor of all African races.

The quality and subject matter of these classes deserve no place in an American classroom. They undermine the constitutionality of the separation of church and state and do a vast disservice to young people through indoctrination and historically inaccurate teaching. Tell the Texas State Board of Education that the quality and constitutionality of these classes need to be investigated and better regulated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Commissioner Michael L. Williams and Texas State Board of Education,

In 2007, the Texas state legislature passed a law that allowed public schools to teach about the influence of the Bible in history and literature into school curriculum, which means that schools can either incorporate the lessons into existing classes or create new classes focused on the topic. In order to protect the separation of church and state and ensure an academic focus, the law included guidelines on how to maintain the constitutionality of the classes. In practice, however, these guidelines have been largely disregarded. A recent report by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows that many teachers have not been trained on these important issues and lack of funding for training and implicating the guidelines is a major culprit.

The report discovered that many of the classes are taught from a conservative Protestant perspective with a literal interpretation of the Bible, for example asserting that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. The classes make other false historical statements, including the claim that the United States is a Christian nation founded on Protestant Christian principles. The classes are often used for evangelistic purposes as well. Many students are forced to memorize Bible verses instead of analyzing them, and a book used in one district states, “May this study be of value to you. May you fully come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. And may you have life in His name.”

In addition to the overt evangelizing and completely incorrect historical teachings, the classes also claim that all races descend from Noah’s three sons. This teaching has historically been used to defend slavery and justify racism because Noah cursed his son that was the supposed ancestor of all African races.

The quality and subject matter of these classes deserve no place in an American classroom. They undermine the constitutionality of the separation of church and state and do a vast disservice to young people through indoctrination and historically inaccurate teaching. We request that you investigate and better regulate the quality and constitutionality of these classes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mat_the_W via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. KIDS NEED JESUS!!!!!!!!! THIS PETITION IS HORRIBLE!!! The world today is so terrible and horrific and instead of adults teaching kids about Jesus, who can save them from their sins, make them kind, loving, selfless kids, they are choosing to try to take Jesus out of school. No wonder the world is like it is today

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