Updated: Thursday, 09 Oct 2008, 1:24 PM CDT
Published : Saturday, 27 Sep 2008, 8:23 PM CDT
AUSTIN (AP) -- Four State Board of Education members are promoting a Bible curriculum for Texas public schools that has been criticized as favoring certain Christian views and has already landed some districts in court.
An e-mail to school districts encouraged local control in deciding which Bible courses to adopt, but it went on to recommend a curriculum that some officials are predicting will lead to more lawsuits.
The e-mail was sent by board members Terri Leo of Spring, Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, Cynthia Dunbar of Richmond and Gail Lowe of Lampasas.
The e-mail threw its support behind the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools. Supporters say it has been successful in several school districts and meets state curriculum guidelines.
But Mark Chancey in the Southern Methodist University religion department says the curriculum favors Protestant perspectives of the Bible at the expense of others. He calls the e-mail "jawdropping."
Lowe says the e-mail was an effort to inform and reaffirm that the curriculum has been around for a number of years and has always satisfied the state's requirements for electives. Leo, Cargill and Dunbar did not respond to requests for comment.
Last March, Odessa's Ector County Independent School District ended a lawsuit with a settlement requiring the school system to drop the national council's course.
Chancey says a Florida judge ruled against the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools 10 years ago.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)