High School Student Forced To Read The Bible

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

Let me begin by posting the news article:

A student at Newton South High School is upset when he is forced to read from the Bible.

Sophomore Jack Summers is an atheist and was unfomfortable reading text from the Bible in an english class. The boy's parents were concerned that his grades could be effected, so the school came up with a compromise. Jack would be exempt from taking two quizzes and writing a paper, but he still had to read from the Bible.
Jack's mother, Majorie Summers is now concerned about repurcussions, especially after an editorial in the Newton Tab that criticised her son saying that students "should not decide what they will and will not read for an english class."

She is worried about the list of issues that are brought up including; the separation of church and state, the right of individual belief, and the realities of a classroom. It sounds like, in many ways, young jack summers is getting quite an education.
What the hell is wrong with these people?

If you go to the news article, you will see some of the comments left by other parents in the school. Most of them don't see what the big deal is, and they think it's silly the boy was making such a big deal out of reading the bible as required reading in his English class. One of the comments even said that students shouldn't get to pick out what is required reading in school.

The argument that the teacher was just trying to teach literature makes me laugh. How many more books are there out there that would give the students a better example than the bible??

Why in the world should the bible be required reading in any public state-funded school?

Would these bible supporters feel the same way if the kids were told to read the Satanic bible? The Koran? The Torah? The *gasp* Book of Mormon? Of course not. They would be pitching a fit and we all know it.

The United States of America was founded with a separation of church and state. This line wasn't just crossed... it was jumped over, danced on and pointed at.

This kid was brave. He wasn't trying to get out of doing his homework, he wasn't trying to bring attention to himself. He was simply standing up for his rights as an American citizen to not have religion crammed down his throat in public school.

There is a theory that this school was trying to have kids read the bible in English class because they were told they couldn't teach intelligent design in science class. If this is true, the school policy makers should be held accountable for the poor decisions they made.

As Bill Maher once said, "Why is this country becoming UTAH????"



  1. Maelstrom Says:

    Babies with cancer = Intelligent Design FAIL

  1. Rachel Says:

    You know... I remember reading mythology in about 6th grade for one Trimester (yes, in Box Elder County we had these weird 3 month sessions, I think it's because the teachers hated us...). Some day, when I become a parent (and not at 18 like most girls in Utah either), I think if I teach my children Bible stories AT ALL I will teach them along side other ancient mythologies as well. I doubt that is what happened at this school, but, if it had been taught as MYTHOLOGY (which it is)... I see no problem with having the Bible be part of any reading curriculum. As long as they teach it along side other works of fiction, like the Koran, and even like the Satanic Bible. Why not? In my Sophmore year of HS I had a teacher, who had a Doctorate in Anthropology, he taught world cultures. In that class we talked about dominant religions over the world. It was in my HISTORY classes that I first learned to question god. In fact, I think we should have MORE discussion about religion in school, not less... as long as it is not laid out as ONE specific religion, and that religion is NOT being taught as fact.

    What do you think??

  1. Andee Says:


    You are right (as usual). We see eye to eye once again.

    There is no intelligent design, at least in the way that most Bible-believing people think it happened. Adam and Eve, the tree of knowledge, Jonah and the whale? Noah's Ark? Where is their common sense?? Why is it so effing hard to get these people to think clearly?

    Looking back at my childhood, I don't think I ever really believed it. I think I just went along with it. I don't recall ever sitting down and really THINKING about the stories I heard in church. It was just one long, boring, mind-melding session.

  1. Andee Says:


    I don't think that religious texts of ANY kind belong in public school. I am kind of a hard-ass on this because you can't control what the teachers are going to say when talking about these texts. There are other reasons, too... but this reply is going to be long. :)

    If we take this specific example of the bible being used in English class, we could have a few things happen... the teacher could be a devout Christian who believed it was his/her duty to witness to the classroom about their love for Christ. The teacher could be a Muslim and could mention that the Bible isn't the correct text one should study to reach heaven. It could even be an atheist teacher who hated religion as much as I do.

    In each of these examples, the kids in the class would walk away from the room with a different feeling about the Bible. For kids who belong to a religion, they would feel even better about asking their friends to go to church with them, or telling them that they don't belong to the correct church.

    I don't like religion in public school at ALL. I don't think it's good to bring up religion and religious texts because it opens up a whole can of worms. Someone is going to be upset. In this case, the family that was upset was an atheist family... but if the atheist teacher were to put in their two cents about the bible, the christian parents would be pitching a fit. It creates a perfect storm of controversy.

    I would love it if there was a very clearly defined line between church and state.

    If states/public schools allow the bible to be used in cases like this, then they should be willing to allow all religious texts. I agree with you completely in this area. If the bible is being read, so should the Koran, and every other type of faith book.

    The problem with having religious conversations in public school is that someone is going to feel like an outcast at the end of it. Some kid, or family is going to get so angry or hurt by the things other kids/teachers are saying about their faith (or lack thereof) that the entire point of talking about religion is pointless.

    Religion is a personal thing. People take it very personally, especially parents who find out that their children are learning things they don't want them to learn (like evolution).

    I know it's a stupid dream and it will never happen, but it would be so nice if people could just do their church thing on their own time instead of bringing it to every person they come into contact with. Ugh.

    I, too, took a mythology class during my senior year in high school. I remember mixing up all the names and not doing very well :) It was interesting, though.

  1. Rachel Says:

    Touche. ;)

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I was required to read parts of the bible throughout high school and college, but thankfully it was in more of a liberal arts education context. It wasn't just the Holy Bible we looked at, it was the Koran, as well as the Torah. The first time was for a history class, and whether we like it or not, all three have had quite an impact on history! The next time was for a women's history class, same story, even more dramatic. Third time was more recent, in a western history civilization class. This is the one that made me uncomfortable, because sometimes the bible quotes on the handouts had nothing to do with the class lesson. Actually, the teacher was really old fashioned, in that 1950's kind of way, so it didn't surprise me. I do think the Bible is an interesting piece of literature, and obviously some of the morals in it are wonderful, but some of that stuff in there is absolute crap and people need to keep that in mind. Like other books, it's fiction. Some parts are fact, but very little is, and it's the moral you should get out of the stories for the most part. As far as influential mythology, I say it's a piece of literature that should be continued to be studied.

  1. Annie Says:

    Just to show where I'm coming from, recent high school graduate, first year college student atheist here.

    I was asked to do readings in the Bible during both a few high school classes as well as my Humanities college class. My high school was a public school but admittedly my college is a private liberal arts school where all of maybe 2% of students are religious. Oddly enough it was in my mostly atheist college where we ended up studying the Biblical Jesus, right along with other philosophers and religious leaders. In high school we mostly stuck to basic ideas and stories.

    The Bible is one of the most commonly alluded to books in literature and especially for those who were raised without religion it is important that they are familiar with some of the most basic stories that are alluded to so that they can pick up on the allusions and understand what the author is trying to say. Personally, none of my teachers were teaching religion, they were teaching stories and culture.

    Once a kid hits high school he/she should in theory be able to think for themselves, at least a little. If a teacher says something the students should not take it for gospel truth (hehe) especially if they fundamentally disagree with it.

    If they put the Bible in the curriculum simply to make up for lack of ID that is ridiculous and someone should be held accountable but there is a lot more that is teachable from the Bible that honestly people in an American culture should be at least familiar with.

  1. james Says:

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