The other day, I saw one of those “someecard” things on Facebook that said, “Bibles aren’t allowed in schools anymore, but encouraged in prisons.” I could not help but think to myself, “That’s not exactly true.” Bibles are allowed in schools, and so is prayer.
It has often been said that as long as there are tests in schools, there will always be prayer in schools. While it is meant to be funny, there is also has a lot of truth that statement. There are even prayer groups and prayer rallies in schools around the world, like “See You at the Pole,” which happens every September. Teachers cannot force a child to go, but they cannot stop it from happening.
Similarly, they cannot stop a student from bringing their Bible to class. However, it is important to remember the Bible should not be a distraction from school itself. It is just the same as another book. As long as students are not distracted themselves or distracting other students from what needs to be done, there is nothing unlawful about bringing or reading a Bible. So, if a student wants to read during lunch or something, a school has no right to prevent that.
Speaking of evangelism in schools, Brad Dacus talks about the “Big Lie” of the separation of church and state. The concept actually comes from Thomas Jefferson, who said he believed government should not step in and make decisions within the church – not the other way around. Dacus says very bluntly, “The next time a school administrator, teacher, or government official attempts to silence you with the big lie, just ask him or her to show you where it is in the Constitution” (Reclaim Your School, pg. 21). He goes on to state, “The greatest curtailment of evangelism in public schools is not the absence of legal opportunities, but the ignorance of legal opportunities” (pg. 22).
The law and school rules might prevent teachers from leading their students in prayer or teaching from the Bible as truth, and thus promoting Christianity, but that does not keep students from bringing their own copy of the Scriptures with them, praying on their own, or telling others about their faith in Jesus. In fact, if a student is told they cannot bring a Bible or pray in school, parents and students should know that is against the law. It is important to remember, as stated earlier, that the Bible should not be a distraction to a school’s curriculum. Therefore, children should not avoid paying attention in class, because they are reading their Bible. Instead, they should be respectful, and read between class or during lunch.
If you want to know more on this topic, I highly recommend reading “Reclaim Your School” by Brad & Suzanne Dacus. They explain the actual law, and they also suggest ways for students to legally share the Gospel in their schools.