Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools

A report by the People For the American Way Foundation.

    "We're just trying to expose the kids to the biblical Christian worldview..."

    — NCBCPS director Elizabeth Ridenour, Sept. 14, 1995 radio program "Truths That Transform"

The self-named National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools may say it wants to introduce Bible classes in public schools to improve students' understanding of literature and history, but the real intent of the organization is to promote a religious, primarily Christian doctrine. In addition, its manual refers to the separation of church and state as a "myth."

  • NCBCPS has boasted that anywhere from 45 to 300 school districts have adopted its curriculum, but no one really knows, and NCBCPS won't tell the public. NCBCPS has generally refused to make its curriculum available for evaluation by scholars and the media, selectively disclosing it only to friendly school board members and parents.
  • In 1998, after a federal court in Florida prohibited the Lee County public school district, on constitutional grounds, from teaching the NCBCPS "New Testament" curriculum, NCBCPS denied that it was their curriculum at all.
  • NCBCPS often says its curriculum is not controversial and that nearly every approached school board has adopted it. In fact, these school boards recently rejected NCBCPS's curriculum: North Kansas City, Missouri; Midland, Texas; and Peoria, Illinois.

Who is behind the NCBCPS?

  • NCBCPS board of directors and advisory board have included Religious Right leaders like televangelist D. James Kennedy, President of Coral Ridge Ministries, who has called public schools "Godless" and actively campaigned for the impeachment of a federal judge who ordered a proselytizing state judge in Alabama to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom. Kennedy also has a well-documented history of raising money by promoting the false and inflammatory stereotype that gays and lesbians are child molesters.
  • Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus and Rus Walton of the Plymouth Rock Foundation have also served on NCBCPS boards. Both Phillips and Walton are considered Christian Reconstructionists – advocates of theocracy with a government based on a literal reading of the Bible, including the harsh legal code of the "Old Testament." Under this model, as many as 18 "offenses," including blasphemy, adultery and persistent juvenile delinquency would merit the death penalty.
  • NCBCPS circulates material by David Barton, who produces historically inaccurate videotapes and books asserting that the constitutionally-required separation of church and state was invented by the Supreme Court.
  • NCBCPS often cites materials from the American Center For Law and Justice to defend the constitutionality of its curriculum. ACLJ was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.
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