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Marengo Co. schools may offer Bible course

Schools superintendent Luke Hallmark told Marengo County School Board members he would like for the school district to offer a study on the Bible as part of their curriculum.

The state board of education voted unanimously last fall to approve “The Bible in History and Literature,” which was developed by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public School.

This means schools can use state funds to buy the book for their elective course about the Bible’s influence on history and literature.

Hallmark said he wants Marengo County schools to be some of the first in the state to offer the new course.

“This is something that will really be a valuable item for our school district,” Hallmark told the county school board members.

He said that his plan would be to find one person who can teach the course at all four high school campuses, using the learning labs at each school.

“If we can find someone neutral that is very knowledgeable to strictly teach the Bible, I think it would be wonderful for our students and for our school system.”

Thanks to proration and a proposed freeze on purchases of new textbooks, Hallmark said getting the textbooks may be a problem, but not a major hurdle.

“As smart as some of these people are and with their knowledge of the Bible, I think we can do very well with the program,” Hallmark said.

In 2007, Alabama became the first state to approve the use of “The Bible and Its Influence,” published by the Bible Literacy Project, but it received criticism in the legislature.

The new book uses the King James version as the reference point because it is the most commonly available.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton said the school board approved “The Bible and Its Influence” in 2007 because it was the only Bible textbook submitted to the state’s textbook selection committee then. When the committee sought more submissions last year, “The Bible in History and Literature” was the only new one submitted.

“The Bible in History and Literature” has widespread support across the United States and is currently used in 472 school districts (1,900 high schools) in 38 states. The overwhelming majority, 94 percent, of the school districts nationwide that have officially considered the curriculum have adopted the course for use in their local systems. To date, over 210,000 students have taken the course.