Idaho Charter School Defends Bible as Textbook

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The Charter School Commission of Idaho is reviewing whether the use of the Bible and other religious texts should have state approval before being used in the classroom.

The review comes after the founders of the Nampa Classical Academy spoke publicly about their intention to use the Bible in the school curriculum.

The school defended its decision in a June press release saying that Idaho law allows charter schools to use any historical religious texts in the classroom.

"Nampa Classical Academy is dedicated to using direct source materials whenever and wherever possible," school officials said in June. "Instead of relying on the opinions of historians, Nampa Classical Academy will study the writings and documents most closely associated with that historical event."

Academy Chairman Kyle Borger welcomed attention to the issue, saying it has raised important questions about whether the school is crossing the line between church and state when using the Bible.

"The intention of the press release was just to clarify that what we're doing is within state and Federal law and that we're not teaching religion," he said in late June.

According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, the school also cited the U.S. Supreme Court precedent that public schools can use religious texts to teach about religion, including the Bible, as long as such teaching is objective and part of a secular educational program and does not amount to religious instruction.

Borger stated that the Bible will be used as an educational tool.

"Rather than shy away from religion or religious documents, our academy will incorporate it into our courses of study as appropriate to give a complete and overall perspective of that event or culture," he said.

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