Theological education in public schools must be broad

February 21, 2019 | Daily Trojan

In the past few years, several states have pushed to either encourage or require public schools to offer Bible literacy classes to their students. Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump called the idea “great” in a tweet. Having taxpayer-funded Bible literacy classes in schools is not only the opposite of “great” — it’s unconstitutional. If public schools adopt religious education curricula, they must implement a program similar to USC’s curriculum, which is diverse in schools of thought beyond those that use the Bible for teaching.

USC is located in an area that is nearly 40 percent Catholic, according to the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC — the next most popular religious affiliation is non-denominational Christian at approximately 4 percent. In other words, University Park is heavily populated by those who believe in biblical teachings. They’re in the overwhelming majority nationally as well, with more than 70 percent of Americans identifying as some sort of Christian, according to Pew Research Center.

While the majority of Americans are Christian, public schools still should not teach the Bible, as it would result in an illustration of tyranny of the majority, an inherent weakness of democratic systems. Majority rule allows for those in the majority to pursue their own interests, no matter the cost to the minority. This is why the Constitution and its Bill of Rights were established: to bound lawmakers to certain principles that even a majority can’t affect.

Read more