ADL Says Bible Teaching Guide for Public Schools "Unacceptable"
New York, NY, November 7, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled "unacceptable" a newly revised curriculum for teaching the Bible in public schools, saying that it continues to raise serious constitutional problems. "The Bible in History and Literature," which is being offered by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, "advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."
"This wholly inappropriate curriculum blatantly crosses the line by teaching fundamental Protestant doctrine," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The text relies solely upon the King James Version of the Bible and hews to a fundamentalist reading, especially of New Testament passages. This is the primary flaw in the curriculum – that it advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."
According to ADL, the King James Version is the least faithful one to the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.
There are acceptable resources available for teaching the Bible in public schools. For example, the newly published textbook, "The Bible and Its Influence" from the Bible Literacy Project is designed to meet the standards for teaching the Bible in public schools with one semester on the Hebrew Scriptures and one on the New Testament.
The U.S. Supreme Court has said that although public schools may not teach religion, they may teach about religion in a secular context. The Bible may be taught in a public school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document. If a school district chooses to teach the Bible in this context, the adopted curriculum must be balanced and pluralistic in nature and the curriculum should not advocate one particular religion, interpretation or translation over another.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.