Law Urges SD Schools to Expand Bible Instruction

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, May 31, 2012

South Dakota lawmakers who earlier this year urged public schools to provide academic instruction on the Bible may need the patience of Job as they wait for schools to embrace the idea.

With only a few lawmakers questioning whether it could blur the line between government and religion, the Legislature in January passed a non-binding resolution encouraging schools to teach — not preach — about the Bible so students gain an understanding of its influence on Western civilization's art, history and culture.

The members of the Yankton Ministerial Association later voted unanimously to endorse the idea. Associate Pastor Bob Mason of the Kingsway Christian Church said he hopes people in the southeast South Dakota community will ask the Yankton School District to include a Bible course in its curriculum.

But Yankton Superintendent Joseph Gertsema said the district has no plans to add an elective course on the Bible. Teachers already refer to the Bible when it's key to understanding history, art and literature, he said.

Frankly, with the budget situation we have here in Yankton, we're trying to hang onto the courses and the staff that we have, let alone starting new ones," Gertsema said.

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