Correspondence

Old Testament, Yes; New Testament, No

U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich here in Tampa ruled in January that it is all right to teach the Old Testament but not the New Testament in public high schools. Concerned that the state not sponsor religion, Judge Kovachevich permits "the history of the Bible" but not "the Bible as history."

So far so good—the wall between church and state stands unscathed if we read the history of the Bible, whatever that is—but how does that permit her to distinguish one Testament from the other? Well, she finds it difficult to conceive how accounts of miracles and resurrection could be taught as history. So she strains at the gnat and swallows the camel, for how are we to teach the Old Testament without such miracles as God telling an old man to leave home and go elsewhere, where, at 100, he will produce a son, whom he then is to kill; God splitting the sea for his people, then sewing it back up over their enemies; walls falling to trumpet noise; the sun standing still, and on and on—not to mention, after all, creation in seven days? Why no to resurrection, but yes to creation?

If you wonder why the New Testament cannot be taught because it is full of miracles but the Old Testament can because it is not (even though it is), well, then, try this: the New Testament is perceived as Christianity's part of the Scriptures, while the Old Testament is not, so the former is unclean and...

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