The Bible’s sweeping influence on western culture makes it a necessary fixture in Literature and Composition, social studies classes

Have you ever heard the phrase “a drop in a bucket” or seen something vanish in “the blink of an eye”? And please tell me you have at least heard of the movies “Les Miserables,” “Star Wars,” “Matrix” and “Lord of the Rings.” Despite the familiarity of these American culture components, most will be surprised to find they all share common roots in the Bible.

The value of the Bible in the classroom cannot be understated; it has influenced or impacted almost every literary piece taught. “The Scarlet Letter” contains many biblical allusions and is based upon a majority Christian society. “Lord of the Flies” is considered by many a biblical allegory with one of the main characters symbolizing Jesus. Most notably, Shakespeare would certainly not be Shakespeare without biblical allusions – he references the bible more than 1,200 times in his works.

Social studies classes could equally benefit from a biblical lesson. The Bible states that God is our judge, lawgiver and king. It does not take a scholar to connect the dots between judge, lawgiver and king to executive, judicial and legislative branch. Consider the impeachment clause of the constitution, the ability to remove government officials from office for high crimes – not a far cry from the Bible’s recommendation to rebuke civil government officials who disobey higher law.

Unfortunately, at the thought of teaching the Bible in classrooms many go on a separation of church and state rampage and Google their Constitutional rights to freedom of religion. The Supreme Court has already answered these complaints back in 1963 in Abington School District v. Schempp: “The Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as a part of a secular (public school) program of education, may not be affected consistently with the First Amendment.”

While some say that students should be expected to get their biblical education from a religious institution, they fail to realize that my purposed teaching of the Bible covers it as educational material, while the church covers it as religious material. A priest should not be expected to teach students the religious allegory in “Lord of the Flies” and the biblical similarities between our constitution and Jesus’ teachings.

If students are expected to learn subject matter that relies heavily on the Bible, then why is the Bible excluded from curriculum? Greek mythology was taught in my freshman literature class to help us better understand “Mythology.” The basics of Buddhism are taught alongside “Siddartha” so we could better understand the culture and religion the book was based upon.

It is almost laughable that what is considered a well-rounded education excludes an explanation of biblical teachings. I know my experience in high school would have been improved if I were given the tools necessary to catch biblical allusions.

Can I get an amen?