Bishop favors Bible classes in public schools

Bishop favors Bible classes in public schools

By CBCP News

October 11, 2019

Manila, Philippines

While the proposed Bible studies in public schools is a ‘good idea’, a top churchman has urged prudence, in such a manner that it does not trample the religious freedom of others.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, one of the country’s leading Bible scholars, said that religious freedom should be respected and protected at all times.

“There is nothing wrong about religious instruction being allowed in public schools if it is done in a manner that is respectful of the students’ religious affiliations,” he said.

David said he would understand Bible reading in schools run by Christian denominations “but it will not be right” to make it mandatory for students who belong to other religions apart from Christianity.

According to him, they are glad that public education has not yet assumed the ideology of Western secularism which totally forbids religion in public spaces and institutions.

Proof to that, he added is the fact that Catholic students are allowed to receive catechism in public schools, just as Muslim students are allowed to receive instruction in the Islam faith through the “madrasah”.

“We are a country that respects religious freedom,” David said.

The prelate also suggested to include an “elective” subject on the Bible in the Junior High School.

“It would be a great idea if only to get students to appreciate how most, if not all our good human values are drawn from this sacred book,” said David.

A Bible literacy bill was filed at the House of Representatives to allow students in public elementary and secondary schools to study the Scripture.

For Muslim students, such subjects will include the reading and discussion of the Quran.

Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Youth, described the measure as “great and relevant”.

“It will help support the churches in its task to help the faithful to be rooted in the Word of God,” he said.