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Tenn. approves guidelines for Bible class

Jan. 30, 2010 at 12:15 AM

NASHVILLE, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Tennessee high schools will be getting guidelines from the state next fall on teaching the Bible as part of a secular curriculum.

The state Board of Education approved the guidelines Thursday, implementing a 2008 state law calling for "non-sectarian, non-religious academic study of the Bible," The (Nashville) Tennessean reported. The guidelines include a requirement that literature from other religions be available for students. Bible courses cannot be compulsory.

Brenda Ables, a social studies specialist with the state, said schools are not required to offer a Bible class. Schools that have been offering courses in the Bible do not have to change their curriculum unless they have a court challenge.

Hedy Weinberg, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said few details had been released. She said the board appeared to have been sensitive to constitutional issues.

"Whether these classes are constitutional depends on who teaches them and how they are taught," she said. "The devil is in the details."

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