Teaching the Bible or about the Bible?

The Texas State Board of Education is getting national attention over its irresponsible approach to teaching about the Bible in the state’s public schools. Writer David Walters at Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog notes his own concerns.

The board says the purpose of the course is to “teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy.” The course “shall not endorse, favor, or promote, or disfavor or show hostility toward, any particular religion or nonreligious faith or religious perspective.”

Have these people read the Bible? The one that sometimes endorses, favors, promotes, disfavors or shows hostility toward particular religions or nonreligious or religious perspectives? Even the most learned, rational and open-minded people can disagree about such simple issues as the Bible’s place in American history and public policy.

You cannot understand America or its institutions without understanding the Bible and its influence. But how do you teach about the Bible without teaching a Bible class?