Debate Not Over in Ector County over Bible Classes

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

The fight continues on whether ECISD should teach the Bible in public schools. On Wednesday night, school officials stood by the class. Critics say the Bible class taught at Permian High and Odessa High schools teach only from a conservative, protestant viewpoint.

"I think there's a kind of arrogance behind something like that. That there is a willful naiveté about the real diversity of people who live even in a community like Odessa," says David Newman, a Professor at Odessa College.

Newman agrees with the ACLU's current lawsuit against the school district. He says it's not the Bible that he has a problem with; it's just the way it's currently being taught in schools.

"The Bible has been enormously important in the development of our culture, and we actually get better minds, we get more thoughtful students, if they understand this is a diverse country and it has assimilated many faith traditions other than the one that is being endorsed by this particular curriculum" explains Newman.

But lawyers representing ECISD told Newswest 9 that's not the case. They explained that students are allowed to bring any version of the Bible they want to class, and to look at it objectively.

ECISD says they are sticking with the current course, but what do West Texans think about a Bible class in public schools?

"I disagree with it," says Ryan Foster. "I wouldn't have a problem with a religion class in general, but I do believe in a separation of church and state, so I think it would be wrong."

"It teaches them morals and just good living," says Karen Parker.

The debate does not end now, however, as the lawyers representing ECISD said they have not been contacted by the ACLU to resolve outside of court.

The next big date is July 2nd, and if the ACLU and ECISD have not reached an agreement, the court room battle will go on.