West Virginia Bible Class Controversy

October 6, 1998

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 6, 1998, The Boston Globe published an article dealing with a proposed Bible-as-literature course at James Monroe High School in Monroe County, West Virginia. The proposal, which now rests with the school board to devise a Constitutionally- allowable curriculum, has met strong local opposition from four clergy members from three mainstream denominations. Their major concern is that "teaching the Bible purely as a literary gem - severed, as constitutional practice demands, from its spiritual and religious context - could debase the meaning and power of its message." One of the opponents is Reverend Charles Miller, a United Methodist minister whose daughter attends the high school. He stated that "Scripture, in the wrong hands and read the wrong way, can be used to justify slavery, male bigotry, all kinds of oppressive acts." The opponents feel that a student Bible club would make more sense.