Yes, bibles are allowed in public school. No, bibles are not banned from public schools. Anyone who tries to tell you bibles are banned is selling you something: that is a flaming bag of malodorous fakery.
Bibles ARE allowed in schools. Just because a kid might feel embarrassed to bring a bible to school is not proof of any claim that the kid is prohibited from doing so. Peer pressure and prohibition are not the same things. Kids can have bibles in school. Kids can talk about religion in school as it may relate to history or literature. If such a discussion goes off on a tangent, I can see how a teacher would want to bring the discussion back onto topic. I can see how a teacher or other students might feel uncomfortable about talking about it. But that doesn’t make it against the rules.
Additionally, I hold that attributing the increased incarceration rate to lack of bible reading is not wholly truthful. Consider the role institutionalized racism has played in increasing the incarceration rate in this country. I believe that racism is the most influential factor in our increased prison population. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics‘ report “Prisoners in 2010,” Black men are imprisoned at 7 times the rate of white, non-Hispanic men. Black women are imprisoned at 3 times the rate for white, non-Hispanic women. Racism stymied education. Racism motivated the War on Drugs, which is singularly responsible for the imprisonment of nearly 20 percent of today’s prison population. Racism drives people to the streets and to crime to earn a living.
Racism is built into our social and government institutions. Urban centers with majority Black populations tend to have poorer schools, higher teacher-to-student ratios, higher teen pregnancy rates, and higher dropout rates. If one cannot get a job because because he or she lacks the necessary education, what does one do? Many people take the easy way out: sell drugs, become a prostitute, go on welfare, join a gang (all of which are arguable harder than taking the high road in the end). Sure, some people can and do turn to a church. But the church doesn’t have jobs for everyone. And joining a church won’t magically earn one a diploma.
Injecting religion into schools serves only to violate the rights of those – like me – who choose not to observe any religion as well as those who observe a different religion. The solution to every problem may seem simple when ones solution to everything is more religion. But religion doesn’t make racism go away. (Heck, religion even motivates bigotry in some cases.) And the fact that a simple claim of religious piety does not elicit the blind respect of yesteryear does not prove that our society needs to dump the First Amendment.
Personally, I’ve got no problem discussing the role religion played in shaping our society. But I draw the line at using lies to support giving religion a higher priority in public schools.