October 4, 2008

Texans Debate Bible Curriculum

By Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Four State Board of Education members are promoting a public school Bible curriculum that has been criticized as favoring conservative Protestant views and has already landed some districts in court. An e-mail to Texas school districts encouraged local control in deciding which Bible courses to adopt, but went on to recommend a curriculum that some officials are predicting will lead to more lawsuits. The e-mail was sent by board members Terri Leo of Spring, Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, Cynthia Dunbar of Richmond and Gail Lowe of Lampasas.

Mark Chancey, chairman of Southern Methodist University's department of religious studies, said the national council's curriculum "reflects a bias toward conservative Protestant perspectives of the Bible at the expense of other perspectives."

Lowe said the e-mail was an effort to "inform and reaffirm that this curriculum has been around for a number of years and has always satisfied" the state's requirements for electives.

Last year, Texas lawmakers approved legislation making it easier for public school districts to teach a Bible course as an elective starting next year.

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