Ban on Religious Texts?

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Idaho Public Charter School Commission’s ban on religious texts even when used for historical reference

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

BOISE, Idaho — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are considering all available options for appeal of a federal judge’s decision Tuesday to dismiss Nampa Classical Academy’s lawsuit challenging the Idaho Public Charter School Commission’s ban on the use of religious texts in its curriculum. ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of the academy last November after the state’s charter commission threatened to revoke the academy’s charter if it used the Bible or other religious texts on its classroom resource list.

“Censoring books, including religious books, is not the proper way to educate children,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “Children deserve a complete education, which is what Nampa Classical Academy provides. Moreover, the court’s opinion requiring the removal of religious books to comply with the so-called ‘separation of church and state’ conflicts with established U.S. Supreme Court precedent stating that ‘the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.’”

Cortman explained that, contrary to the ruling from the court, the local school district is the entity allowed by law to make the ultimate determination on how to implement the state’s curriculum standards.

“And the curriculum it chose, in this case, is fully within what the U.S. Supreme Court has stated is acceptable and constitutional,” Cortman said. “If we proceed with appeal, we trust the decision will be reversed.”

Last year, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission told Nampa Classical Academy, which planned to open its public charter school with more than 500 students, that it would not be able to include the Bible as any part of its curriculum–or its charter would be revoked.

The academy has been in the development process for more than six years. It received approval from the State Board of Education in 2008 and received positive responses from the commission at each stage of its development, but the commission then endeavored to completely exclude the Bible from any use in the charter school, as well as all other public schools within the state. Eventually, the commission voted to prohibit the academy from using any “religious documents and text” in its curriculum or in its classroom, even if it is used objectively as a curriculum resource.

“Nampa Classical Academy is endeavoring to exercise its right to provide the best possible education for its students and has decided to include the Bible, along with dozens of other religious and secular writings, as resources in its curriculum to enrich instruction of literature, history, and culture, among other topics,” Cortman explained. “Schools have been doing this throughout American history.”

Attorney Bruce Skaug of Nampa is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit, Nampa Classical Academy v. Goesling, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.



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2 Responses to Ban on Religious Texts?

  1. chris reuter says:

    When will more and more people start standing up to this garbag? Every freedom loving American must start reading original material from the Founding era! Then, after we are educated enough, we can throw “case law study” out, and the courts can get back to original intent! For example, our nation’s Declaration of Independence author, Thomas Jefferson, drafted the famous Northwest Ordiance, which says in Article 3, that;

    “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

    Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the
    “Father of Public Schools”, Benjamin Rush said;

    “Let the children…be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [removing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”

    In 1788, Noah Webster’s essay, “On the Education of Youth in America” was printed in the Webster’s American Magazine:

    “Select passages of [Scripture]…may be read in schools, to great advantage. In some countries the common people are not permitted to read the Bible at all. In ours, it is as common as a newspaper and in schools is read with nearly the same degree of respect….My wish is not to see the Bible excluded from schools but to see it used as a system of religion and morality.”

    We could spend hours sifting through original material from many more of the Founding Fathers, and we must, and when we do, we will find the same message being communicated; “Religion and morality, and the Bible in the schools shall forever be encouraged.”

  2. Lynn says:

    Matthew 19:14
    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Psalm 127:1,3
    “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
    Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
    Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb is a reward.
    Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children…”

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