Before we get into a conversation about religion in public schools, I always feel it's important to remind people of what our beautiful Constitution says about the topic...
The First Amendment of the Constitution clearly states we have a right to "freedom of religion" with, in this case, an emphasis on the word "of".
It does not say you have freedom "from religion". The difference is notable. Our Founding Fathers created our country based off Judeo-Christian values and they never had a problem with people displaying religious images in public places.
Even still, a Louisiana public high school plans to bring back a course next year called, "Bible as Literature" and some people are furious.
The class was previously part of the curriculum in Livingston Parish and it was a popular course, but they got rid of it because, as Mark Chancey, a professor at Southern Methodist University said, these types of classes can be a, "lightning rod for controversy."
A top school system official said the course is being offered in Denham Springs High School as an elective, at the request of students.
It's possible to offer again next year, because the school is switching to a block-type schedule in order to accommodate students taking courses at a new STEM center. The schedule will in turn create more space in student and teacher schedules for elective classes, said Jody Purvis, supervisor of high school instruction.
The course was taught for several years but was put on hiatus due to scheduling issues about a decade ago, Purvis said. He could not recall any issues arising when it was taught previously.
Denham Springs High School would be the only school in the parish offering the course, Purvis said. It is not offered in neighboring East Baton Rouge or Ascension Parish schools, spokespeople for those districts said.
Purvis said he did not have a curriculum for the class, and a teacher hasn't been selected for it. It will be offered only if there is sufficient interest, he said.
Generally, the "Bible as Literature" class will look at the Old Testament and New Testament as a literary and historical document, he said.
So it's an elective and you don't have to take it? Then calm down, people. What are you so upset about? It's just a book.