[Vision2020] School Sues Over Bible Plan

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Sep 2 06:15:04 PDT 2009

Courtesy of today's (September 2, 2009) Spokesman Review.


School sues over Bible plan
Suit challenges decision by Idaho charter school panel
Jessie L. Bonner / Associated Press

BOISE – A public charter school sued Idaho officials in federal court
Tuesday, saying the state illegally barred use of the Bible as an
instructional text.

The Alliance Defense Fund – a Christian legal group based in Scottsdale,
Ariz. – filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise on behalf of
Nampa Classical Academy.

“I’ve never seen such a broad-reaching ban on using the Bible at all as an
educational resource in public schools,” said David Cortman, senior legal
counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.

Administrators at Nampa Classical Academy, which is slated to become the
third-largest public charter school in Idaho when it opens this fall with
more than 550 students, said in June they planned to use the Bible as a
primary source of teaching material, but not to teach religion.

The academy said the Bible would likely be introduced in the ninth grade,
when students delve into the history of Western civilization, and taught
for its literary and historic qualities and as part of a secular education

The plan prompted the Idaho Public Charter School Commission to review use
of religious texts in the classroom.

Commissioners decided last month the school could not use the Bible and
said the state constitution “expressly” limits use of religious texts.

This order was issued “despite the fact that public schools across the
state utilize the Bible and other religious texts routinely in their
curriculum,” the lawsuit says.

“Out of the hundreds of public schools throughout the state of Idaho,
defendants have thus far singled out only the academy for this

School districts in Idaho are not prohibited from using the Bible as part
of literature or history courses if it does not violate a separation of
church and state, according to the state Department of Education.

The lawsuit names the state Public Charter School, the state Board of
Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, state Attorney
General Lawrence Wasden and Gov. Butch Otter as defendants who “have
decided that the Bible is now a banned book in every public school
throughout the state of Idaho,” the lawsuit says.

The Alliance Defense Fund says the school has a statutory right to choose
its own curriculum.

The U.S. Supreme Court banned ceremonial school Bible readings in 1963,
but said “the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic
qualities” so long as material is “presented objectively as part of a
secular program of education.”

Public schools across the country have traditionally avoided Bible courses
and the potential controversy, but hundreds do offer voluntary classes to


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Unknown

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list