Leave religion where it belongs - not in schools

July 19, 2013

This letter was sent to the Cape Henlopen School District Board of Education with a coy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

We are Cape Henlopen School District residents and parents. We vote often and early, in every election and have done so in all the years we have lived here.

We are adamantly opposed to the proposed Bible Literature course, and let me tell you why.

1. Focusing on a religious book that only three major religions use, Christian, Jewish (old Testament only) and Islam, shuts out other religions. Solution: a course that looks at world religions, past and present

2. The Bible is extensively covered in courses via other mediums - art, literature, music, history, etc. that the current curriculum includes.

3. I have been reading with interest all the "out of district" special interest groups that have infiltrated our school board meetings. This is unwarranted and unfortunate. And while their opinions are "interesting," they don't vote here and don't live here and don't pay school tax here, and as such their "opinions" should take a back seat to ours, those of us who live and pay taxes in the district and have children in the district.

4. For the record, I was educated in Europe, in a private religious school. I studied religion extensively. I then came to the States and went to university, where I majored in English literature. One of those classes was the Bible as Literature, were we read and analyized the Song of Solomon and other literary pieces from the Bible. In college, as an elective or as part of ones major, is the place for a class such as this. Not in high school.

5. In my honors English literature course, in my equivalent of high school, I very quickly discovered that our copy of Hamlet had been edited to leave out one line that the school must have felt was too "risque" for teen girls. That line being "rank in the sweat of an enseamed bed, honeying and making love." And while I cannot quote Hamlet's entire soliloquy, I will always remember that line.

What will be the school's approach to Onanism? Sodomy - the story of Sodom and Gomorrah - a father offering one daughter to the crowd (in place of the visitors) to do with as they please? Child sacrifice - Issac's sacrifice etc? Moses' tenure in Egypt and lust? The lust of Sampson for Delilah? The lust of Solomon for Bathsheba - the murder of his general because a king lusted for a woman?

Or are certain voices asking us to cherry pick and edit the Bible in much the same manner as they like to cherry pick and edit the Constitution and to only highlight that which is in line with their particular political agenda?

These are stories best left to the parents to handle and teach - these are lessons of morality for parents to handle, not the schools. Those who scream the loudest against the "nanny state" are the very ones who also would like to legislate morality and choices best make privately and personally. If you want your child educated on religion in school, make the sacrifice, pay the tuition and send them to a religion-based school.

And while literature is the story of humanity in every culture and deals with moralities and societal norms, the context is not religious!

Leave religion where it belongs, in the churches, mosques and synagogues and in the home; and leave education where it belongs, in the schools.

Robert and Margaret Reyes

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