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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Is There Room for the Bible in the Classroom?

June 01, 2005

Re "Why the Bible Belongs in America's Public Schools," Commentary, May 27: David Gelernter knows full well that a "Bible as literature" class in a place like Odessa, Texas, would turn into a Bible study class as soon as the kids took their seats.

In my view, the Bible and theories (such as "intelligent design") derived from the Bible have no place in the public schools, no matter how many religious conservatives get voted onto the school board.

You can enjoy and understand United States history and Western literature without studying the Bible.

But, if you want to, you should by all means do it. It's a free country.

However, it shouldn't be taught in organized classes in public schools at taxpayers' expense.

Marty Schoen

Pasadena

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I agree wholeheartedly with Gelernter. Many of our public high schools and middle schools teach Greek, Roman and Nordic mythology.

There is no reason why these courses cannot be expanded to include Christian and Hebraic myths.

Safeguards would, of course, necessarily be put in place to assure that teachers used the material objectively without regard to their personal religious beliefs.

Patrick I. O'Donnell

Escondido

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Gelertner is kidding himself if he thinks the Bible can be taught as literature during this time of fervent evangelical revival.

We have committees in Kansas that don't want biology to be taught as science, roving gangs of Christian intimidators at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado and a Senate leader who shamelessly stokes the fires of intolerance to promote his judicial agenda.

To imagine that, as was possible when I was a kid, the public schools could teach Ecclesiastes as pure poetry, is, well, pretty imaginative.

It's a shame, but speaking today as a Catholic, I'll teach the Bible at home, thank you.

Tony Zito

Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

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