Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Elective ‘Bible in the Schools’ Program as Course Discontinued

BLUEFIELD, W.V. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President George H.W. Bush has dismissed a lawsuit against a more than 75-year-old elective Bible course offered in a school district in West Virginia after the district voted to discontinue the program.

U.S. District Judge David Faber said that because the Mercer County Board of Education voted in May to suspend its Bible in the Schools (BITS) course, there is currently no case. While the Board voted to halt the program at least for one year to allow a “thorough review of and modification to the [BITS] curriculum,” attorneys for the board, according to Faber, told the court that “the BITS curriculum of which plaintiffs are complaining does not exist and will not come back.”

However, Faber also noted that some statements in the media seemed to contrarily indicate that the board would like to revive the program at some point.

“Nevertheless, statements of defendants in the newspapers indicate defendants’ desire to resurrect the BITS program after a thorough review,” he wrote. “The defendant, Deborah Akers reportedly emphasized ‘Mercer County Schools is continuing its efforts to keep the Bible in the Schools program,’ although a timetable for a new BITS program has not been established.”

While it remains unclear as to whether or not the program will return, Faber concluded that he would accept “defendants’ representations as a binding commitment that the past BITS program no longer exists and that BITS has been altogether suspended for at least one year.”

Therefore, “[t]his court finds ‘it too speculative whether the problem [the Does] present will ever need solving; we find the legal issues [the Does] raise not fit for our consideration, and the hardship to [the Does] of biding [their] time insubstantial,” Faber stated.

Should the program return and present constitutional issues, the court would be willing to rehear the case, he said.

  • Connect with Christian News

As previously reported, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed suit on behalf of an atheist parent in January whose daughter Jamie attends an elementary school in Mercer County, and is in kindergarten.

She expressed concern that because most students choose to attend the elective Bible classes, her daughter could be ostracized by others if she decided not to join the program. She stated that her only choices were to expose her daughter to Christianity against her will or risk having her daughter looked down upon by others.

“Jamie will either be forced to attend Bible indoctrination classes against the wishes and conscience of Jane Doe, or Jamie will be the only or one of only a few children who do not participate. Jamie will therefore be made conspicuous by absence, and essentially be identified as a non-Christian or nonbeliever, subjecting Jamie to the risk of ostracism from peers and even school staff,” the suit claimed.

FFRF later amended its complaint, additional additional plaintiffs, including a woman who moved her daughter out of the school system because other students were allegedly taunting her about the matter.

The group says it plans to appeal the ruling.

As previously reported, until the program was halted in May, the Mercer County school system’s “Bible in the Schools” had been available on a weekly basis in over a dozen elementary schools and three middle schools. The elective course was paid for by a non-profit organization, and the district required schools to offer an alternative for students who preferred another option.


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, because of your generous support, we have received enough funds to send many audio Bibles to Iraqi and Syrian refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East. Many have been distributed and received with gladness. While we provide for the physical needs of the people, we seek to provide the eternal hope only found in Jesus Christ through the word of God. Would you join us by making a donation today to this important work? Please click here to send an audio Bible to a refugee family >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Robin Egg

    Home school your children and you will not have this government interference.

    • Honesty Counts

      Not all families can afford to have one parent stay home so they can home school their children.
      Being a supposedly free country, all sides of an issue should be discussed, even the religuous ones. Having a choice is what makes us a free country, but atheists don’t want to give religuous people a choice, they just to take away your choice if they don’t agree with you.

      • Lark.62

        The government cannot pick one religious view and present that one view as accurate.

        Parents have total freedom to teach their children religion at home, take them to church and Sunday school, use the curriculum to teach kids in a non school setting, etc.

        Christians have hundreds of choices for providing religious instruction to their own children. But they do not get to use government authority to amplify the message not do they get to use government authority to spread religious beliefs instruction to other people’s children.

        • Joe Grace

          But the government picked evolution and presents that “one view as accurate”. So in conclusion, the “government” can amplify any message they deem as truth with impunity.

          What choice does a christian child have when evolution is presented as factual yet contradicts his beliefs?

          And don’t be fooled, evolution is a religion!

          • wandakate

            Precisely…and they are teaching them COMMON CORE, and how about that they (the students) can be whatever they want to be. If they want to be a girl but they at currently a boy, it can happen or a girl can become a boy IF she wants to do so.
            Letting them use the same restroom regardless of their biological sex. Giving them dozens of labels that they can call themselves like homosexual, bi-sexual, queer, transgender, neutral, “it” or non-conforming and on and on and on…
            There is “MUCH” in the Public Schools that you child or grandchild will learn simply b/c it’s on the agenda to teach them these issues and some of it is taught against your wishes or you just will NEVER be informed about it. A lecture, a class, a guess speaker, a transvestite that the school has actually “hired” to come into the school or library to read a “story time” book to our little one about WHY JANE HAS TWO DADDIES, AND WHY JOHNNY HAS TWO MOMMIES, and books (like a colorful cartoon) on…
            HOW I CAN BE WHATEVER GENDER I WANT TO BE.

            IS indoctrination there, is programming there, is brainwashing there, YOU can believe that satan is alive and well In our world and of course he’s after your children b/c he needs to have his agenda implanted into the MIND of your precious little innocent ones…

            GOD WILL DESTROY HIM FOR GOOD IN THE END, his time is now getting shorted by the day and him and those awful demons are after every “SOUL” person that they can find.

          • getstryker

            Excellent discernment & comment!

          • Jack Inder

            Just a question, and not to be rude, but why doesn’t God stop the people pushing this “liberal agenda”?

          • wandakate

            This isn’t even considered rude. Actually it’s an important questions that we should have a sensible answer to.
            You see, GOD banished satan and many angels rebelled and followed him down to the earth, out of heaven. Satan and been an angel in heaven but he rebelled against GOD. His demons (that were formally angels) are ALL spiritual beings roaming the earth. We can’t see them but nonetheless they are here. They whisper in our eat for us to do evil things and have evil thoughts. ALL actions good or bad start in the heart. The “heart” is the wellspring of life…
            Now satan is at this time the god of this evil world that you and I are living in as human souls (people).
            Since it’s satan that is now being allowed to run the show, that is why there is so MUCH crime, discontent and chaos in this world.
            Therefore, we have a right to make our own decisions. We have a right to decide if we want to follow satan and do evil. With that comes the right to follow a “liberal agenda” or if we want to follow JESUS (the Son of GOD) and have peace, tranquility and a different focus on earth while we are here.
            With that being said, ALL people have equal rights under the current laws, consequently we can be whatever we choose religiously, politically or otherwise. Satan will NOT always be in charge, b/c JESUS CHRIST is going to return to planet earth and banish satan and the demons back to hell for eternity. GOD has his own time, (not like our time), and when the proper time comes according to His wishes and timing, HE will send JESUS to the earth in the clouds with a host/multitude of heavenly angels by his side and he will at that time STOP all evil on the earth. Until then we are STUCK with satan, and our world will continue to grow darker and darker and more and more slaughter and blood will be shed before it’s ALL over, but in the very end of it all, rest assured that satan and ALL of the demons, blatant sinners (the unsaved), coming antichrist as well as the coming false prophet will ALL spend their eternity in the coming lake of fire. THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE!!! GOD is on the throne and HE is ultimately watching us day and night supernaturally. He knows what we do and to who and he keeps track of good and evil (that has been the assignment of his multitude of Angels that are also spiritual created being. THEY serve GOD and do his work. JESUS is there for us to call on IF we will simply b/c HE is our mediator between mortal man and GOD the FATHER, and HE (JESUS) is our advocate. HE is the “ONLY” way to reach the FATHER GOD. Our prayers are directly to JESUS, and HE presents our prayers to the FATHER on our behalf…I hope this has answered you questions. EVIL will continue until the appearing in the clouds of JESUS…

          • Lark.62

            Do you suggest that schools stop teaching about the Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System? The bible says the heavens are a dome with the earth in the middle.

            Do you suggest that schools stop teaching the Germ Theory of Disease and stick to teaching that disease is caused by sin?

            Do you suggest that biology classes teach that the poppy seed is the smallest seed and bats are birds, just like the bible says, despite the fact that we have discovered smaller seeds and we know bats are mammals?

            Scientific Theories are the best explanations of the data. As more data accumulates, scientific theories can change. But any revised theory must account for both the entire body of existing data plus the new data.

            The Theory of Evolution is supported by facts and data in the areas of Genetics and DNA, paleontology, geo-diversity, vestigial traits and anavatisms, embryology and several other disciplines. The Theory of Evolution provides a clear and consistent explanation of all the data.

            If you have a better explanation of ALL of the data, bring it on. You will likely win a Nobel Prize.

            Until then, pretending the data does not exist is not a viable alternative. Read Wikipedia’s Introduction to Evolution or the book Why Evolution is True by Coyne, and let’s discuss the data.

            Schools teach science. Schools will teach evolution until such time as a better explanation of all the data is put forth.

          • Joe Grace

            “Approximately 15 billion years ago, life began…”

            “No, it was more like 7 billion years ago…”

            “Uh, well, the earth probably began about…”

            “The strata may show…”

            “Well, we evolutionists don’t exactly agree about when, why or how the world began, but…Evolution is a fact and you are unscientific if you don’t believe it!”

            It is extremely interesting to me how educated fools have tricked the masses into believing in evolution.

            Evolution is not:
            repeatable, testable; or, observable.

            In other words, it doesn’t even qualify as real science. And I’m unscientific for believing what God has clearly told me about creation? Mmmm… You’ll never get me to believe a monkey is my uncle, a rat is my cousin, and that lice are my near kinsmen.

            “Through faith we understand that
            the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were
            not made of things which do appear.” —Hebrews 11:3
            D. Stewart

          • Lark.62

            Show me where any scientist published a paper that says life began about 600 million years before the universe began.

            You are making things up.

            Scientific knowledge moves forward. New data is added to existing data.

            When Pluto was discovered, it was considered a planet even though it was very small. Now we know that there are dozens or hundreds of Pluto sized objects in the solar system. Science moved forward and created a category for dwarf planets.

            Science did not go back to the idea that Apollo pulls the sun across the sky with his chariot.

          • Jack Inder

            Scientific concepts are religions. Gravity’s a religion, I guess. The Church of the Magnetic Fields reign supreme, apparently.

      • wandakate

        Christians are a group of people who believe in GOD, JESUS, believe in the HOLY SPIRIT being able to live within them, and they love (for the most part) their country and want the best for it. However, OUR rights are gradually being stripped, and the ONLY way to stand up for that is to do as that old song told us…
        STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS
        YE SHOULDERS OF THE CROSS
        LIFT HIGH YOUR ROYAL BANNER,
        IT MUST NOT SUFFER LOSS…

        FROM VICTORY UNTO VICTORY, HIS ARMY SHALL HE LEAD, TILL EVER SOUL IS VANQUISHED,
        AND CHRIST IS LORD INDEED…

        There stands our answer, STAND UP CHRISTIANS, b/c IF you refuse to do so, your WILL as the Bible tells us, FALL BY THE WAYSIDE.

        FFCH OR FFRP is FREEDOM FROM CHRISTIAN HATE or
        FREEDOM FROM RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION…

        IF SOMEONE COULD START THAT, WE COULD “FIGHT” AGAIN FRFF…AND BE STRONGER…

        Why? Simply b/c WE are stronger than they are. “IF” we put on the whole armor of GOD, you can be against us. Our battle is against the spiritual darkness in this evil world of which satan is the master and leader of it and controls MANY churches and organizations etc.
        Christians on the other had MUST show their FAITH, LOVE, STRENGTH, OBEDIENCE AND COMMITTMENT/LOYALTY TO ONLY GOD and JESUS.
        STAND UP WARRIORS, B/C IF WE DON’T, satan the master deceiver will destroy you (in a heartbeat), b/c his purpose here to kill, steal and destroy “souls” (people), and don’t think he’s going to pass you by, b/c he won’t…his eye is on you b/c you love the LORD and he wants you destroyed for eternity. IF he can ruin you, he’ll have reached his goal…pray and persevere. ONLY the OVERCOMERS will be in the Kingdom of GOD.

        • getstryker

          You state: ‘IF SOMEONE COULD START an organization like that for ONLY CHRISTIANS’ – I am working on a plan – you can be of great help – please stay in touch – your comments are cogent, intelligent and show great understanding of the problems faced.

          • wandakate

            Hey, thank you so very much. What a nice comment. I am just tired of and annoyed with ALL these liberals and the adamant demanding FRRF people. They act like they’re a god or something. Writing letters to everybody with their own rules about how “they” should be doing things differently.
            Persecution is something that JESUS CHRIST warns us about and to be aware of. He told us in Matthew 24 that they persecuted the prophets that were before us, and they will indeed persecute us as well. I have lived long enough to be your own mother and I will tell you this is happening in the world today and is becoming MORE and MORE prevalent in our society here in the USA. They don’t want people to make a change, to speak the TRUTH or to have a voice especially CHRISTIANS. Why do you suppose the POTUS has seen such hatred coming from them? simply b/c he wants a change fro the better and they keep trying to take him out…ONLY the overcomers and those who persevere until the end, will NOT fall by the wayside.
            What state do you live in. I am in West Virginia .,

          • getstryker

            I live in California. The plan I am working on, in conjunction with several others, is a month or two away from being at the stage it will need review & input. If you read thru my profile page, you will see comments to others about what I’d like to do. You can do that by clicking on my avatar. This is a nation-wide mission requiring adult leadership aimed at Christian youth. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Please stay in touch and I will contact you when I’m ready to send a copy of the plan for your input. Thank you and May God Bless.

        • Dave

          The Holy Spirit doesn’t live within anyone today except by the words of Jesus in our hearts.

          • wandakate

            The HOLY SPIRIT was to be OUR comforter, and it was to come to us (inside us) and lead us into all TRUTH. There was therefore…
            GOD THE FATHER
            JESUS CHRIST THE SON (name was YESHUA)
            and the
            HOLY SPIRIT
            Separate, yet equal and exactly on the same page with their thinking and knowledge, wisdom and love.
            GOD is LOVE
            JESUS loves us
            The HOLY SPIRIT cares for us and gives us peace!!!

        • Jack Inder

          Why is not being able to act like a bigoted maniac “persecution?

      • Robin Egg

        I understand. Sometimes, it will take a sacrifice. I have a coworker who works in the evening while her husband works during the day so she can home-school their daughter. It takes both sacrifice and commitment.

        • wandakate

          Sounds like great “TEAMWORK” to me. And KUDOS to the coworker for homeschooling her child, wonderful. That shows me how smart they are b/c that is 110% better than ANY public school anywhere bar none.

      • james blue

        So do you think the class about creation should include the big bang theory and the theory of evolution?

        • wandakate

          GOD created the heavens and the earth PERIOD. And He was also responsible for creating the first 2 humans (souls) who were fleshly creatures. Everyone in that era before the flood was destroyed except for 8 people Noah and his 3 sons and their 3 wives. After the flood our ancestors could only have been ADAM and EVE in then Noah’s family took it over from there…Had absolutely NOTHING to do with apes and rats or monkeys either. HOGWASH…These liberal souls are brainwashed, they are programmed to being a HUGE LIE and are deceived beyond measure. period, end of conversation.
          I would not debate the undebatable.

          • james blue

            Obviously you didn’t read the comment that replied to.

            “Honesty Counts” said “Being a supposedly free country, all sides of an issue should be discussed”..

          • wandakate

            I did NOT see it, and people are FREE to discuss anything they want to discuss but I for one am NOT interested in anything about evolution, but ALL of the prehistoric animals were wiped OUT in the GREAT flood. SO they wouldn’t ever be my ancestors . You can write it, discuss it all you wish but I don’t be joining that conversation. Have a good day.

          • james blue

            Perhaps in future you should read ALL of a conversation instead of just reacting to a snippet for which you have no idea of context.

      • Eldrida Urika

        I agree all sides must be included to make things work better for the people, and not just some people.
        The reason they are against the Christian religion is because in the past it was forced on the public and when they started standing up for their non belief it was with the intent to stop religions from forcing non believers to live the way they say. I don’t like being forced to “accept” others, and it makes it harder to accept them if someone is trying to force anything.
        Jesus never told us to force nonbelievers to live the way we do, he told us to show ourselves as good people who they will want to know and follow because of our lives being good and pure.
        God never once told us to behave badly to anyone for any reason.
        Those Christians that created the situation a long time ago went against God’s Word by using their position to force others to bend to their will.
        If God wanted to use his power to force us to follow him, he would have used it to make everyone follow him, but he did not. He gave us all the free will to choose.
        I think there should be a way to be able to allow everyone to have their own beliefs without stomping on each others at all, if we actually try to come to an understanding that shows everyone’s needs addressed.

    • wandakate

      TRUE, or enroll them into a Private school ran by Christians, OR a school that is held in a CHURCH, many churches actually have their OWN schools many from pre-k to 12th grade. OR you may be able to fine a tutor if you are on a fixed income through the county programs that they provide, however, IF you can afford better you can hire a tutor for school subjects b/c many are licenses or prepared to teach various classes so you have several viable options and all seem doable.

    • Eldrida Urika

      Actually it does have government interference. The government will give you the course to follow for each thing and it includes testing for any child who is not in the regular school system. They control what is learned, just not who teaches it, and how it is taught, but the things they want to have learned for each level is written in stone so no child will not have the “best” education even outside of the public school system.
      Plus the problem of losing an income can affect how well the family is able to exist without it.
      I think the best way to cope with this kind of thing for Christians, is to teach our children the way we view the same things and helping them understand that it is the way our God believes, and the other is what Man believes. We are forced to go with some of Man’s rules all the time, and if we can do the teaching God’s way, with knowledge of the way of Man and what is wrong with that way, we can have a victory against the other world.
      Not everyone has the ability to teach in a way to help others learn, and it could depend on how old the child is and how capable they are to teach all the way up the grade levels.
      I think they should make it voluntary after school and it would take the school out of the equation altogether. Pick up the children from school and bus them to the church. Either pick them up from there or the school after they are done.

  • Antonio Doctor

    So many issues here, and the Bible class being discontinued because of complains by satanists (Matt 12:30) is only one of them. First off, the class is administered by a Deborah Akers, a woman. The Bible prohibits women from teaching or being in an administrative positions where they are above men. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Tim 2:12. No wonder Jesus allowed for this “Bible class” to be closed!

    Then there is an issue of whether the school was teaching the Christian Bible — AV1611 — or if it was a false Bible corrupted by Catholics. If the latter was the case, that may have been a good thing.

    • Trilemma

      In 1 Tim 2:12, Paul was speaking for himself and not for God. That’s why he said, “But I suffer not.” He wanted Christians to fit in with the culture of his day.

      • Tony Demarcus, Ph.D., D.D.

        All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
        doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Tim 3:16

        • Trilemma

          Unfortunately, Paul doesn’t say what writings were given by inspiration of God. Much of the New Testament hadn’t even been written when he said that. When Paul says, “But I suffer not,” he’s letting us know he is not writing scripture at that point.

          • Tony Demarcus, Ph.D., D.D.

            Trilemma,

            What part of “All scripture” do you not understand??? Remember, this is a Christian you are talking too! Your milquetoast excuses for rejecting the Bible are not going to fly here just because you feel like picking and choosing what you want to follow, as if the Scripture was an all you can eat buffet!