I teach the Bible as Literature at a public college in Massachusetts. I have for the last 13 years. You can practically teach yourself my course online by going to my other website, where I post the course outline and the resources for the class (although this summer I put a lot of the material on Power Point and I haven’t uploaded those slide shows yet). I have a big statement in my course outline about the fact that the course is course in literature and history and although it will require the study of the religious beliefs and practices of certain people at certain times in history to understand situation of an author and an original audience it is not a course in Judaism or Christianity. There will surely be a variety of religious views present in the classroom, no proselytizing any kind is allowed.
Texas public schools allow the teaching of the Bible in the classroom. All in all I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’d also like to students learn the Koran and the Vedas, the Dhammapada and Tao Te Ching. The problem is that they don’t learn the literature and history and about others who created these writings. What they are sometimes learning in Texas is the religion of the Teacher. It’s preaching, not teaching.
According to the Texas Attorney General the Bible Classes cannot be called constitutional. You can read the press release from the Texas Freedom Network here. There was also an excellent editorial in the Houston Chronicle last Sunday, available here.
If you’re in Texas, find your State Board of Education member here and contact them to let know how you feel about the Bible in the classroom. No more vague standards!