Classes are NOT held on school property. They are voluntary. It doesn't look to me like they are part of the curriculum. There is nothing to indicate to me that it's state-sponsored religion at all.
Is it the government's role to impede people's religious freedom? Sounds like that's what they are asking for.
TAUNTON, Va. ? When Heather and Logan Ward's son entered public kindergarten this fall, they were shocked to discover that pupils were taken from class to a nearby church for weekly Bible lessons.
The Wards moved to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley (search) from New York four years ago, and were unaware of the tradition that has remained in Staunton and other rural schools for more than 60 years.
"My reaction is exactly like the reaction of those who come here from a different place ? shock and disbelief that we have Bible (search) classes in public schools," Heather Ward said.
Now the Wards and other parents are asking the school board to eliminate or modify the program, which shuttles first-, second- and third-graders to churches during class time for voluntary half-hour Christian lessons and activities.
Amazing. After SCOTUS decided in Engel v. Vitale that any kind of prayer, composed by public school districts, even nondenominational prayer, is unconstitutional government sponsorship of religion, Virginia has bible classes as part of the public school curriculum. Then again, maybe it's not such a surprise since Virginia filed an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief Friday claiming in its view, the Establishment Clause does not wholly apply to the states. It's looking more and more like Virginia wants State sponsored religion regardless of the 1st or 14th Amendments. What will they think of next?