Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AU) is a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. Americans United represents over 70,000 individual members and 5,000 churches and other houses of worship nationwide.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Americans United Urges Okla. School Board To Drop Bible Curriculum
Planned Elective Violates U.S. Constitution, Church-State Watchdog Says
Apr 28, 2014
A Bible curriculum designed by Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, is taught from a sectarian perspective and should not be implemented by the Mustang, Okla., school board, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
In a letter to the board sent last week, Americans United warned Mustang education officials that the curriculum is problematic.
“A course devoted solely to Bible study presents significant risks of unconstitutional religious instruction and could expose the school district to costly, time-consuming lawsuits,” the letter notes. “Indeed, Green himself has explained that the curriculum is designed to demonstrate ‘the reliability of [the Bible],’ because he believes that ‘the evidence is overwhelming.’”
The letter adds that Green has publicly stated that the class will teach the doctrine of Bible inerrancy, which undermines his claim that it will be taught from an objective standpoint. The class is also designed to complement his planned Museum of the Bible, and contains a chapter titled, “How Do We Know That The Bible’s Historical Narratives Are Reliable?”
Given these facts and Green’s record of high-profile Christian evangelism, Americans United argues that the school board should remove the class or offer an alternative course on comparative religions.
“The courts have been clear: there is to be no proselytization in public schools,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Schools are welcome to teach religion objectively, but they’re not welcome to teach any one religion as literal truth. That’s exactly what the Mustang public schools are about to do.”
The letter was prepared by AU Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan, Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper and Madison Fellow Caitlin E. O’Connell. It requests a response from the Mustang school board within 30 days.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.