Did anyone happen to notice Time’s cover story for April 2? It seems there is a small movement to teach the Bible in public high schools as literature. Why, you ask would someone attempt toÃ‚Â do something so silly? Isn’t this unconstitutional?
” “One can hardly respect the system of education that would leave the student wholly ignorant of the currents of religious thought that move the world society for … which he is being prepared,” Jackson wrote, and warned that putting all references to God off limits would leave public education “in shreds.” ” – Justice Robert Jackson,Ã‚Â McCollum v. Board of Education, 1948
” “Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment…” ” – Justice Tom C. Clark, Abington Township School District v. Schempp, 1963
So it seems that, based onÃ‚Â US Supreme Court precident, teaching the words of Holy Writ with a secular intent is completely kosher. Indeed, as the article goes on to suggest, one is at a significant disadvantage in understanding much of classic literature without first having at least a passing familiarity with the Bible. This sets it apart from other holy books such as the Koran as being foundational to Western Culture.
“The Bible so pervades Western culture… that it’s hard to call anyone educated who hasn’t at least given thought to its key passages.”
So why is all this of importance to Intelligent Design? Isn’t ID supposedly about following the data wherever it leads, even if it leads away from Darwin, naturalism and positivism? Absolutely. However, if it is indeed constitutional to teach the Bible for secular, cultural purposes in public high schools, it seems more than acceptable for academic researchers to pursue Intelligent Design research programs to similar secular purposes. Moreover, they should be able to pursue these research programsÃ‚Â in goodÃ‚Â faith, without fear of reprisal.Ã‚Â At least, that’s what Richard Sternberg thought.