Does a Bible Class in Public School Violate the Law? Professor Nelson Tebbe Weighs in on CBS News


Professor Nelson Tebbe was interviewed for a CBS News story that aired Feb. 8 about a case involving parents in West Virginia who are suing to end a bible class in public schools.

Mercer County Schools host a program called “Bible in the Schools,” which is paid for through private donations and administered by the school district. The Wisconsin-based lobby firm Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit with the mother of a kindergartener arguing that the program violates the separation of church and state. The school district contends that the Bible is worthy of study for its “literary and historic qualities.” The question for the courts is whether it is actually being taught in that manner.

“The public school would just have to ensure that it really did have a secular purpose,” Tebbe said. “But because this program and programs like it are structured just around the Bible, courts will be skeptical as to whether they really have that kind of neutral impact.”

Professor Tebbe teaches courses on constitutional law, religious freedom, legal theory and professional responsibility. His scholarship focuses on the relationship between religious traditions and constitutional law, both in the United States and abroad. His articles have appeared in Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Cornell Law Review, among other scholarly journals. More on the story here.