Mr. David Leibforth, unfortunately, in his March 5 guest editorial,, doesn’t perceive the value of teaching the Bible for credit in high schools.
The first benefit is a knowledge of the history of Israel over 2000 years, as well as neighboring nations and their cultural interactions.
The Judeo-Christian worldview formed the foundation of our values. The second benefit is an understanding of the influence of the Judaic scriptures on the first Greek democracy in the days of Pericles, the establishment of the Roman Senate, as well as the founding of the culture and Constitution of the United States.
Leibforth does astutely state our students’ worth and need for the “foundation of self-respect, respect for diversity in others, reading skills, the process of making good choices, self-discipline, the importance of lifetime learning, knowing right from wrong, and how to assert the freedom to become themselves.”
What better way to teach this than through the ancient texts of the 66 books of the Bible, which historically have provided the answers to the moral questions concerning what is right and what is wrong?
This was the intent of our previous governor, Jan Brewer, and the Arizona Legislature in passing the 2012 law (ARS #15-362 Sec. 4 15-717-01) authorizing an elective course teaching the Bible for credit in secondary schools.
This law specifically allows the teacher of a Bible class to choose whatever translation he desires. The law states that the course must be taught in a non-sectarian framework, which means no denominational interpretation may be taught.
The students are to read the text of the Bible so as to become familiar with its content.
From its roots, American education has been Biblical. The Pilgrims in 1620 arrived in Plymouth, MA., with two books: the Bible and Foxe’s Book Of Martyrs.
The latter book describes the murderous kings of England and their killing of Christian bishops starting with King Henry II and Bishop Thomas Becket on Dec. 29, 1171 A.D. This book was instrumental in laying the foundation for our constitutional government.
This is why Governor Bradford and all the other founding fathers wanted representative government with no king.
To deprive our students of an understanding of the Bible and its influence on the formation of our government, its laws and institutions, would be a disservice to them.
We need to have our schools re-introduce the Bible. Arizona is not pioneering in this endeavor; many other states are already successfully teaching the Bible for credit.
Anthony Isola, D.M.
Dr Isola has been involved in education since 1967. He held Arizona teaching certification for teaching English and Social Studies.
More like this story
- Should Bible studies be part of public school curriculum?
- Letter: Fears over Bible instruction unfounded
- Guest Editorial: Bible class a bad mix for public high school curriculum
- Commentary: Why not consider a comparative religions course?
- House committee green lights Bible as 'literature' in public high schools