The Bible and Its Influence
The Bible and Its Influence is a textbook first published in 2005 to facilitate teaching about the Bible in American public high schools. Its publishers, the Bible Literacy Project, say the textbook allows schools to study the Bible academically while fully respecting the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It is designed for teaching either a semester course or a full-year course on the literary and historical influence of the Bible.
Use in public schools
As of September 2010, the Bible Literacy Project reports that the textbook has been adopted by 470 schools in 43 states, with more than 100 schools in Texas teaching Bible literacy courses. On October 11, 2007, The Bible and Its Influence was designated by the Alabama State Board of Education as an approved textbook statewide. This designation allows schools throughout the state to purchase the curriculum with state funds.
The Bible and Its Influence has received extensive press coverage. The cover story of TIME on April 2, 2007, described the rising trend in Bible courses in public schools nationwide. TIME senior religion editor David Van Biema stated, "[Public school Bible electives] should have a strong accompanying textbook on the model of The Bible and Its Influence, but one that is willing to deal a bit more bluntly with the historical warts."
In May 2007, The Bible and Its Influence was also featured in Education Week and on NBC's Today show. The New York State School Boards Association's On Board magazine also had favorable coverage of The Bible and Its Influence, calling it "a remarkable textbook" in a July 31, 2006, review.
Co-author Charles Stetson is a Christian Evangelical educational political activist. Stetson serves as chairman of the "Bible Literacy Project", an organization which strives to introduce Christian beliefs into the American public school system. Stetson was also one of the founding members of the National Organization for Marriage, a right-wing activist group dedicated to blocking the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. Stetson has also long been affiliated with Charles Colson, a controversial figure in the Watergate scandal in 1982 and who has made a career since then of pushing conservative Christianity into public institutions.
- Bible Literacy Project press release announcing 470 schools using the course
- Bible Literacy Project press release announcing Alabama's adoption of the text
- "The case for teaching the Bible," TIME, April 2, 2007.
- Full text of review as provided by Bible Literacy Project
- Joseph L. Conn, January 6, 2006, The Bible Literacy Project - Chuck Stetson's Trojan Horse?