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The Problem with West Virginia Forced to Teach Bible Classes in All Public High Schools by James A. Haught

Problems with Bible classes

Here in Appalachia’s Bible Belt, conservatives in the Legislature want to force all West Virginia public high schools to teach Bible classes, as occurs in several other Republican-controlled states.

I wonder how such classes handle Bible topics like these:

First, the Bible decrees that gay males must be killed. Leviticus 20:13 says:
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Imagine classroom disputes that could erupt between Bible-believing students and others.  Could classes turn violent?  (Oddly, lesbians aren’t mentioned.)  Now that America allows same-sex marriage, would classes conclude that America violates the Bible?

Next, the Bible decrees that those who work on Sunday must be killed.  Exodus 31:15 decrees:
“Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 35:2 is almost identical.

Would teachers apply this mandate to police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, hospital aides, paramedics, snowplow drivers, power repair crews, bus drivers, airline crews, radio and television staffs, store clerks and others who must work on Sundays? What about cooks and waitresses serving Sunday food? Come to think of it, ministers and church organists work on the Sabbath, don’t they?

The 22nd chapter of Deuteronomy commands that brides who aren’t virgins must be taken to their fathers’ doorsteps and stoned to death. (But non-virgin grooms aren’t mentioned.)  With millions of unwed American couples living together, will students debate whether the execution decree applies to females among them?

The Bible endorses slavery. Leviticus 25:44 says:
“Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.”  Exodus 21:7 gives rules when “a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant.”

Would high school students discuss buying slaves from neighbor nations, and selling daughters into servitude?

In 1 Samuel 15, God commands Hebrew soldiers to attack a neighbor tribe “and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”
Numbers 31 does likewise, with this exception: “But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

Would classes apply these decrees to U.S. soldiers today?

Many other Bible sections contain controversial commands that could provoke classroom disputes.  Before the Bible-in-schools plan reaches final passage, I hope sponsors offer a way to prevent turmoil.

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

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  • Obviously, you have no clue about the bible. Just the words on the pages…

  • All scriptures are taken from the Old Testament and reflect God’s disdain with the immortality of the time. In today’s world, if we look at someone the wrong way, they’re ready to retaliate in a way that’s been promoted by Bible naysayers. Certainly, we don’t our children taught hate, murder and violence to people who behave and believe differently, but our children have the God given right to be taught right from wrong in the classroom. With interest and participation by teachers and legislators, an acceptable Bible curriculum can be put in place.

  • As always the Gayzette presents only the left side of anything. Including the Good Book itself. All I can say is that children are people too. They have minds of their own. Minds to make their own minds up. Which says a whole lot more for the legislature realizing this than any two bit writer at the Charleston Gayzette.

  • It would be taught as a history class. There are other subjects taught with strange ideas. I really don’t see a problem. I personally don’t know of Protestants who abide by such teaching as to stone a non-virgin….that’s murder. Actually there are many errors in the translations. Possibly this will acknowledge this and some one , if possible, could have a better translation. Christianity shouldn’t be “tabooed”. It is history.

  • Would you also include the worriers of the past. The Israelites and Egyptians fought wars that today still continue. Do you bring historical information from the Bible concerning the wars through the years? If it were a history lesson about Mohammad would you pull information from the Koran? You also pulled your examples out of context. Please if you are going to use examples from the Bible use the whole conversation not just part.

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