First Liberty Institute sent a letter today to the Sensitive Materials Review Committee of the Davis School District informing members that it is both reasonable and legal to keep the Bible in its school libraries. Recently, a parent in the district requested that the Bible be considered for removal, claiming the Bible is “sensitive” under Utah’s Sensitive Materials in Schools statue for being “harmful to minors,” “pornographic,” or having “no serious value to minors.”
You can read the letter here.
“The serious educational value of the Bible to secondary students is unquestionable,” said Keisha Russell, Counsel for First Liberty. “Far from being inappropriate, as many studies have shown, knowledge of the Bible is actually critical to a student’s education. Importantly, it is also illegal for the school district to display hostility toward any particular religion or religious text. The school district must adhere to the law.”
The Bible Literacy Project survey revealed that 98% of high school-level English teachers agreed that students who do not know the Bible are at a disadvantage when reading and studying English literature. The survey also showed that 38 out of 39 university-level English professors, representing Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, among others, agreed that an educated person must have awareness of the Bible. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, stating, the Bible is “worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities,” and “that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion . . . .”
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits a school district from acting in a hostile manner toward a specific religious belief. The Constitution “affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any,” according to Lynch v. Donnelly.