A rural Michigan school decided not to allow an elective class in bible study after a one year debate. The course would have been offered by a school bible group.
The Frankenmuth, Michigan school board defeated the proposed class with only one dissenting vote after school Superintendent Michael Murphy recommended voting against the proposed class which would have been called 'Bible As Literature and History.' Materials for the class would have been provided by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools of Greensboro, North Carolina.
'It goes beyond talking about religion and becomes faith-based,' Murphy said.
Gary Pickelman provided the lone dissenting vote and was upset by the decision. 'Why is it that students can't read the Bible in school when prisoners can in prison? Why do I have to swear on a Bible in court, when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed on federal grounds? Our society is messed up,' Pickelman said.
The course was designed by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools specifically to meet the requirements spelled out in the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which bars public schools from indoctrinating children in religion but permits teachers to teach about religion.
Groups that advocate the strict separation of church and state such as People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union say it does not. If the measure would have passed, there would have been an immediate court challenge.