Tennessee parents protest the end of Bible study for elementary students

by Will Hall |

ALTAMONT, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) – Parents and other supporters are gathering signatures to petition the Grundy County School Board to renew a voluntary Bible study program which taught their children Bible basics at elementary schools in this district which is located between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Grundy County School Board ended the program in March but not on its own initiative. The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based anti-Christian group that claims 21,500 members nationwide, complained that the program of instruction was "pernicious."

FFRF complained that a "missionary was allowed to prey on a captive audience" that was "young and vulnerable."

Many parents, however, announced they were only too happy for "Bible Man" Horace Turner to "pray" for their children and pass along some Bible basics that support what is being taught in the home.

According to the Grundy County Herald, the school board consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Christian Law Association.

Board Chairman Tim Spicer said both groups were "surprised and thankful" the program existed this long without objection, and suggested to him simple adjustments could be made that would allow it to continue.

"The simplest way would be to make it an after school program just like any other club or activity," Spicer said. "The second option is to have what is called 'release time'. With this, parents would sign permission slips allowing their children to participate in Mr. Turner's program during school hours.

"The catch is that the program must be conducted off school grounds," Spicer added, "and someone other than the school system would have to provide transportation."