In a surprising turn of events, students in over 300 public schools across the United States will now have the opportunity to learn the Bible during regular school hours. Here’s the full story.
Joel Penton, the CEO and founder of LifeWise, a Christian nonprofit ministry, envisions a future where Christian parents can regain hope in providing biblical education to the next generation, all within the bounds of the law.
A Difficult Journey
The journey of Bible education in public schools has been a difficult one, shaped by landmark Supreme Court decisions.
In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court banned state-endorsed prayer in public schools, sparking a cultural divide over the role of faith-based content in education.
However, a lesser-known 1952 Supreme Court case, Zorach v. Clauson laid the groundwork for released time for religious instruction.
This ruling allowed public schools to release students during school hours, with parental consent, to attend religious classes.
A Replicable Model
LifeWise Academy has taken this legal framework and transformed it into a replicable model that parents and educators can use to introduce biblical education in their communities.
The process begins with the establishment of a local Steering Committee tasked with coordinating program details with school officials.
Support and Resources Are Provided
A program director and board are appointed to lead the released time initiative, with support and resources provided by the LifeWise Support Center.
The Schools Have to Approve
Once the school approves the program, LifeWise leaders recruit qualified and vetted teachers and volunteers to chaperone students to and from Bible classes.
The Program Has Expanded
Starting in 2019 with just two programs, the ministry has expanded its reach to 325 public schools across 12 states in just four years.
Don’t Lose Hope
“Our message to the American people is that if you have lost hope in the ability to pass the word of God, the Bible, on to the next generation.
If you thought that everything was just going in the direction of the Bible being out of the public school day, you don’t need to lose hope,” Penton said.
It’s Entirely Voluntary
Participation in LifeWise programs is entirely voluntary, requiring parental consent.
The Three-Fold Focus
Joel Penton describes the curriculum as having a three-fold focus: head, heart, and hands.
Exploring the Teachings of the Bible
The “head” aspect delves into the informational content of the Bible, exploring the stories and teachings.
The “heart” aspect connects these lessons to the larger Gospel message and the significance of each story in pointing to Jesus.
The “hands” aspect focuses on character transformation, emphasizing how biblical understanding can shape students’ moral character.
There Were Criticisms
While LifeWise has encountered some opposition, it has been less intense than anticipated.
Families Recognized the Importance
The overwhelming majority of parents were supportive with stories abound of how the program has transformed families’ relationships with faith and their local communities.
Enrollment in LifeWise Bible programs has surged to over 35,000 students for the 2023-2024 school year.
They Should Also Read From the Torah and Quran
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “If that’s the case, they should also read from the Torah and Quran. It should be religious studies teaching, not indoctrination.”
A Nation of All Religions
Another User wrote, “Reading the bible is a good idea, although the constitution says “you can practice any religion or not practice one “. Wait, republicans have not read the Constitution. Sorry friends.”
A third user added, “Religion should not be in public schools. We are a nation of ALL religions, not just Christian!!”
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The post “Religion Should Not Be in Public Schools” – Controversial Expansion of Bible Education in Public Schools Sparks Indoctrination Debate first appeared on Wealthy Living.
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Source: Fox News