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Religious Instruction, Public Education, and The Dallas High Schools Bible Study Course (1923–1985)

  • Mark A. Chancey

Abstract

Despite the voluminous literature on the Supreme Court's famous mid-century decisions on religion and public education, detailed investigations of how McCollum (1948), Schempp (1963), and related rulings affected particular Bible courses and the communities that offered them are largely absent. This article offers an in-depth retrospective analysis of one such class, the Dallas High Schools Bible Study Course. One of the longest-running Bible programs in the country, it lasted over six decades, likely attracted over 40,000 students, and provided a model for other communities near and far. Indeed, its textbooks remain in occasional use today. This study contextualizes the course within local religious and civic life, the evolving legal landscape, competing notions of church-state relations, differing sensibilities about religious and ethnic diversity, and larger national trends. Despite the program's Protestant nature, until its final days advocates characterized it as a nonsectarian class that separated church and state. That they did so for so long illustrates the deep-rootedness of their commitments to religious education, how contested the implications of the Supreme Court cases were, and how crucial recognition of geographical variation is for exploring the places of religion in American public education.

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1 “Paul Gene Marco Wins Bible Poster Contest,” Dallas Morning News (hereafter cited as DMN), May 8, 1948, sec. 2, p. 4. Dallas Morning News articles through 1984 were accessed through America's Historical Newspapers, NewsBank.

2 Paul G. Marco, letter to the editor, DMN, November 8, 1970, A30; “Studying the Bible,” DMN, October 31, 1970, D2; H. B. Hunter, letter to the editor, DMN, November 8, 1970, A30.

3 My estimate of 40,000 reflects an assumption that at least 5,000 took the course after the 34,986 reported in “High School Bible Program in Dallas Notes 50th Year,” Dallas Times Herald, September 10, 1970, C22.

4 For general overviews of early and mid-century religious education programs, see Dierenfield, Bruce J., The Battle Over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007), 5263 ; Zimmerman, Jonathan, Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 135159 ; Michaelsen, Robert, Piety in the Public School (London: Macmillan, 1970), 170185 ; Fraser, James W., Between Church and State: Religion & Public Education in a Multicultural America (New York: St. Martin's, 1999), 137140 . On early post-Schempp developments, see Sizer, Theodore R., ed., Religion and Public Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967); Bracher, Peter S. and Barr, David L., “The Bible is Worthy of Secular Study: The Bible in Public Education Today,” in The Bible in American Education: From Source Book to Textbook, ed. Barr, David L. and Piediscalzi, Nicholas (Atlanta: SBL, 1982), 165197 ; Michaelsen, Piety in the Public School, 245–253. For specific post-Schempp Bible controversies, see DelFattore, Joan, The Fourth R: Conflicts over Religion in American Public Schools (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004). For a state-level overview, see Chancey, Mark A., “Public School Bible Courses in Historical Perspective: North Carolina as a Case Study,” Religion & Education 40, no. 3 (September-December 2013): 253269 , reprinted in The Bible in the Public Square: Its Enduring Influence in American Life, ed. Mark A. Chancey, Carol Meyers, and Eric M. Meyers (Atlanta: SBL, 2014), 193–214.

5 The indispensable starting point for research on the Dallas course is William August Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas” (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1955); Flachmeier Family Papers, boxes 2K182 and 2K184, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. See also Earl R. Humble, “Religious Instruction and Activities in the Public Schools of Texas: A Contemporary Survey” (Th.D. diss, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1960) and Esther R. Taggart, “Weekday Religious Education in Virginia and Texas” (M.A. thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1947).

6 Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas passed laws supporting Bible courses. Louisiana and South Dakota approved resolutions encouraging them, and South Carolina and Ohio passed laws authorizing credit for released-time courses taken off campus. Legislators introduced unsuccessful Bible bills in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Details are available on the websites for each state legislature. On the Republican Party platform, see The Republican Platform 2016 (Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention), 33, https://www.gop.com/platform/.

7 This thumbnail historiographical sketch combines elements of works such as Prothero, Stephen, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn't (New York: HarperOne, 2007); McClellan, B. Edward, Moral Education in America: Schools and the Shaping of Character From Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Teachers College Press, 1999); Moore, R. Laurence, “Bible Reading and Nonsectarian Schooling: The Failure of Religious Instruction in Nineteenth-Century Public Education,” Journal of American History 86, no. 4 (March 2000): 15811599 ; John H. Westerhoff, “The Struggle for a Common Culture: Biblical Images in Nineteenth-Century Schoolbooks,” in Barr and Piediscalzi, Bible and American Education, 25–40; Fraser, Between Church and State, 128–134; and Schultz, Kevin M., Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to its Protestant Promise (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

8 McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948); Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952); Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225 (1963).

9 Green, Steven K., The Second Disestablishment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 324 . See also Green, Steven K., The Bible, The School, and the Constitution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 328343 ; Fessenden, Tracy, “The Nineteenth-Century Bible Wars and the Separation of Church and State,” Church History 74, no. 4 (2005): 784811 .

10 Wood, Clarence Ashton, School and College Credit for Outside Bible Study: A Survey of a Nonsectarian Movement to Encourage Bible Study (Yonkers-on-Hudson, N.Y.: World Book, 1917); quotes from Squires, Vernon P., “The North Dakota Plan of Bible Study,” Biblical World 41, no. 6 (June 1913): 392394 .

11 Brown, Arlo A., “The Week-Day Church Schools of Gary, Indiana,” Religious Education 11, no. 1 (February 1916): 519 ; Davis, Mary Dabney, Week-Day Religious Instruction: Classes for Public-School Pupils Conducted on Released School Time (Washington, D.C.: Federal Security Agency and U.S. Office of Education, 1933); Davis, Mary Dabney, Weekday Classes in Religious Education (Washington, D.C.: Federal Security Agency and U.S. Office of Education, 1941); Zimmerman, Whose America?, 135–159.

12 McCallie, J. P., The Bible in the Public Schools: The Plan in Use in Chattanooga, Tenn. since 1922 (Chattanooga: Permanent Committee on Men's Work, Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1924), 1213 ; Derthick, L. G., “The Bible in the Public Schools,” National Historical Magazine, October 1945, 534537 .

13 “Seek to Improve Religious Education,” DMN, March 26, 1914, p. 9; “Give Credit for Bible Study,” DMN, August 7, 1914, p. 13; High School Sunday School Bible Study,” in Organized Sunday School Work in America 1911–1914: Official Report of the Fourteenth International Sunday School Convention, ed. Youker, J. Clayton (Chicago: Executive Committee of the International Sunday School Association, 1914): 188190 ; and Walter A. Snow, “Organized Sunday School Work Cooperating with the High School System,” in Organized Sunday School Work, ed. Youker: 485–486. On the work of other state Sunday school associations, see Wood, School and College Credit for Outside Bible Study.

14 Texas Sunday School Association State Commission on Religious Education, Plan of Bible Study for High School Credits with Syllabus of Bible Lessons (Dallas: Texas State Commission on Religious Education, 1916), 12 ; Eby quote from “High School Students Will Receive Credits,” DMN, April 23, 1915, p. 13.

15 Hamburger, Philip, Separation of Church and State (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002); Wuthnow, Robert, Rough Country: How Texas Became America's Most Powerful Bible-Belt State (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2014), 8889 .

16 Green, Second Disestablishment, 289–325; Church v. Bullock, 109 S.W. 115 (Texas 1908) at 118, 117.

17 For early Texas courses, see Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 74. On Bible bills see Laats, Adam, Fundamentalism and Education in the Scopes Era: God, Darwin, and the Roots of America's Culture Wars (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 141142 . The 1923 resolution is in Texas High Schools: Directory of Classified and Accredited High Schools (Austin: State Department of Education, 1923), 9. For states giving credit, see Jackson, Jerome K. and Malmberg, Constantine F., Religious Education and the State (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1928), 63 .

18 “Reading and Study of Bible in Public and High Schools Advocated,” DMN, October 31, 1921, p. 7; “Club Women are For Bible Study,” DMN, November 2, 1921, p. 6; “Church Women for Use of the Bible in Dallas Schools,” DMN, November 6, 1921, sec. 2, p. 2; Thomas H. Harper and W. D. Bradfield, Committee Representing the Ministerial Association of the City of Dallas, to Board of Education, November 29, 1921, in Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 13:121. All Dallas school board minutes are available at the Dallas Independent School District (hereafter cited as DISD) Administration Building.

19 “Week-Day Bible Study Work Will be Outlined,” DMN, November 27, 1921, sec. 1, p. 2.

20 “Meeting to Plan Religious Study,” DMN, January 6, 1922, p. 16; Bible Study in Schools Planned,” DMN, November 1, 1922, sec. 2, p. 28; Report of Special Committee,” Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, November 7, 1922, 13:336337 . On Jewish stature in Dallas, see Cristol, Gerry, A Light in the Prairie: Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, 1872–1997 (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1998), esp. 85106 on Lefkowitz.

21 Report of Committee on Church and State,” Central Conference of American Rabbis Thirty-Third Annual Convention 32 (1922): 4346 , quote from 44; [David Lefkowitz], Why the Bible Should Not be Read in Public Schools (1906; repr., Cincinnati: Central Conference of American Rabbis Committee on Church and State, 1922); Sussman, Lance J., “Rhetoric and Reality: The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Church-State Debate, 1890–1940,” in In Celebration: An American Jewish Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, ed. Olitzky, Kerry M. (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1989), 72100 .

22 “Report of Committee on Church and State,” 44, 45. On the Klan, see Phillips, Michael, White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841–2001 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006), 77102 .

23 “Report of Special Committee,” DMN, November 9, 1922, p. 9; “Credits are Asked for Bible Study,” DMN, November 9, 1922, p. 9.

24 “Bible Teaching in the Public Schools—Report of Committee on,” November 28, 1922 in Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 13:350–351; quote from Teachers Handbook and Program of Studies in High Schools: Dallas Public Schools 1925–1926 (Dallas: Dallas High Schools Printshop, 1925), 69. The BCTA replaced a short-lived earlier group, the Voluntary Bible Study Organization for High School Credits, in 1925. The BCTA's official records have been lost, but individual course documents remain in local archives.

25 “Examinations for Credit in Bible Study to be Held,” DMN, May 22, 1923, p. 26; Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 189, 210, 224, 251–265; “400 Pupils in High Schools Burn Midnight Oil Getting Ready for Biblical Exams,” DMN, May 8, 1937, sec. 1, p. 16.

26 The newspaper reported attendance figures regularly from the 1910s through the 1930s and occasionally into the 1950s; for example, “Texas Sunday School Association Reports,” DMN, Sept 29, 1914, p. 12; “Rain Causes Decline in Sunday School Attendance,” DMN, November 7, 1921, p. 7; “Nation's Largest, Busiest Sunday Schools Found in Dallas,” DMN, September 30, 1939, p. 9; “Record Claimed by Sunday School,” DMN, March 27, 1956, p. 1.

27 Information about examination questions drawn from a study guide associated with 1927 course documents, in possession of Joan Mason, Dallas. Sample test questions often appeared in articles like “410 High School Pupils Tell Where Ark Landed, Leader at Jericho in Biblical Exams,” DMN, May 20, 1934, sec. 1, p. 12.

28 The original textbook was Stevens, James S., The English Bible (New York: Abindgon, 1921). On the new textbook, see “Bible Course for High Schools to Be Revised,” DMN, July 17, 1928, p. 3; “Bible Course Text Distribution Begins,” DMN, September 28, 1928, p. 13. The only known copy is at the Library of Congress: Bible Study Course, 3rd ed. (Dallas: Dallas High Schools, 1931). See also Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 198–201.

29 A Study of the Bible for Credit in the High School: Standards, Rules and Regulations Which Must be Followed,” Texas Public Schools Standards and Activities of the Division of Supervision 1936–1937 (Austin: State Department of Education, 1937), 6163 ; “Proceedings of the Committee on Classified and Accredited Schools, June 18, 1937,” Texas Public Schools Standards and Activities, 12–15.

30 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas;” Humble, “Religious Instruction and Activities in the Public Schools of Texas.”

31 Minutes for July 18, 1939 meeting, Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 26:37; “Schools Add Second Bible Study Course,” DMN, July 19, 1939, sec. 1, p. 14; Minutes for August 26, 1941 and September 30, 1941 meetings, Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 25: 390, 447; Bible Study Course: Old Testament (Dallas: Dallas Public Schools, 1946); and Bible Study Course: New Testament (Dallas: Dallas Public Schools, 1947). Because content and pagination remained generally consistent between different editions of the textbooks, subsequent endnotes identify years of publication only when necessary. On conversion to workbook format: Bible teacher Alvin Neve, interview with the author, May 10, 2013.

32 New Testament, 71.

33 Old Testament, 3, 46–51, 36. To reflect the class's Christian nature, this article retains the terminology of “Old Testament,” rather than employing alternatives such as “Hebrew Bible” or “Tanak.”

34 Old Testament, 33; New Testament, 47, xi, xii.

35 On Genesis, see Old Testament, 4, 6–9; on Daniel and Revelation, see Old Testament 42–43 and New Testament, 78–79. For sample examinations, see Old Testament (1947), 79–85; Old Testament (1967), 79–85; New Testament (1947), 108–112; New Testament (1962), 108–112. On Texas fundamentalism, see Wuthnow, Rough Country, 121–153.

36 East Dallas Christian Church teacher comment in survey responses, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K184, fol. 2; E. B. Comstock, foreword to Old Testament (1946), iii and New Testament (1947), iii, with slightly reworded versions of this claim appearing in later editions. For by-laws, see Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 191–193.

37 McCallie, Bible in the Public Schools, 12.

38 For participating churches, see Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 252–265 and the annual examination reports cited elsewhere in this article. On Truett and Criswell, see Wuthnow, Rough Country, 88–89, 102–103, 339–346.

39 “School Bible Study Grows,” DMN, March 13, 1959, sec. 4, p. 3; “Churches Aid in Offering Novel Bible Course,” DMN, March 13, 1959, sec. 4, p. 3. On multiple sections at individual churches, see DISD, untitled report on Bible examinations for May 1–2, 1954, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K182, fol. 8, and DISD, “Report of Bible II [New Testament] Examination, May 23, 1956,” Truett Memorial Library, First Baptist Church, Dallas.

40 On resurgent Protestantism, see Schultz, Tri-Faith America, 121–128.

41 Schiebel, Walter J. E., Education in Dallas: Ninety-Two Years of History 1874–1966 (Dallas: Dallas Independent School District, 1966), 185, 190 .

42 Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration: Skillman Church of Christ 1951–2001 (Dallas: Skillman Church of Christ, 2001), 5 , found in “Church of Christ-Dallas—Skillman” vertical file, Texas/Dallas History & Archives, J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, Dallas; “High School Bible Class Sets Graduation Rites,” DMN, May 27, 1944, sec. 1, p. 3.

43 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 190–198, esp. 195 on the 1952 meeting; “School Bible Study Discussion Slated,” Dallas Times Herald, September 22, 1947, sec. 2, p. 1.

44 “400 Pupils in High Schools Burn Midnight Oil Getting Ready for Biblical Exams,” DMN. For other examples of newspaper attention, see discussion below.

45 The business community's enthusiasm for the course reflects the general picture of growing corporate affirmation of religion sketched in Kruse, Kevin M., One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (New York: Basic Books, 2015).

46 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 210–212; “Awards to be Made in School Bible Study,” DMN, January 27, 1928, p. 9; “Arcadia Park, Gaston Baptist Students Lead Bible Classes,” DMN, June 10, 1949, sec. 1, p. 13; multiple student entries in The Sundial 1954 (Dallas, 1954), 42, http://www.e-yearbook.com/yearbooks/Sunset_High_School_Sundial_Yearbook/1954/Page_42.html.

47 Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2010), 6; Jean Bethke Elshtain, “Christian Contrarian,” Time Magazine, September 17, 2001, 76–77.

48 “Winning Bible Class to be Banquet Guests,” DMN, June 7, 1936, sec. 1, p. 4; “High School Group President Reveals Bible Class Awards,” DMN, May 30, 1956, sec. 3, p. 6. On Everts and Sunday school, note his presence at the meeting discussed in “High School Students Will Receive Credits,” DMN.

49 “Bible Study Poster Exhibit Planned Here,” DMN, February 23, 1942, sec. 1, p. 13; “Bible Poster Wins,” DMN, May 12, 1946, sec. 2, p. 17; and “March Jaycee,” Big D Jaycee, May 2, 1961, 1, unprocessed Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce collection, Texas/Dallas History & Archives.

50 “Dallas, Texas,” Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities, ed. Stuart Rockoff, Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.isjl.org/texas-dallas-encyclopedia.html; “7,450 Increase Noted for Catholic Diocese,” DMN, May 3, 1964, p. 12. For examples where religious education prompted interfaith cooperation, see Schultz, Tri-Faith America.

51 Natalie Ornish, “Linz Brothers,” Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dhlmx. On the 1952 meeting, see Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 241–242.

52 David Lefkowitz to W. T. White, June 26, 1945, file “Public Schools, Dallas,” Temple Emanu-el Archive, Dallas; see also Lefkowitz to L. F. Sensabaugh, July 5, 1944, Public Schools, Dallas file, Temple Emanu-el Archive; “Pastors Seek Bible Classes for Schools,” DMN, July 8, 1944, sec. 1, p. 4; “Pastor Warns Against Rise of Paganism,” DMN, May 21, 1945, sec. 1, p. 7. On national Jewish groups, see Ivers, Gregg, To Build a Wall: American Jews and the Separation of Church and State (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995), 6683 .

53 For Jewish schools, see “Dallas, Texas,” Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. On synagogue courses, see “High School Bible Program in Dallas Notes 50th Year,” Dallas Times Herald; Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 252, 264; Dallas Independent School District to the Teachers of Bible II Credit Classes, May 15, 1952, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K184, fol. 7; Untitled DISD report on Bible Examinations for May 1–2, 1954, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K182, fol. 9; Francis Raffetto, “1,200 Students in Bible Classes,” DMN, December 18, 1953, p. 16.

54 “Rabbi, Priest, Minister Will Debate Here,” DMN, February 9, 1937, p. 1; “Jaycees to Assist Brotherhood Week,” DMN, January 10, 1950, sec. 3, p. 2; Schultz, Tri-faith America, 35–41, 65–66.

55 Dierenfield, Battle over School Prayer, 73–74.

56 Humble, Earl, Religious Practices in Texas Public Schools: A Summary of a Survey (New York City: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, n.d.), 13 ; Arthur Gilbert, “Reactions and Resources,” in Sizer, Religion and Public Education, 37–83, esp. 63–64.

57 U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1926, vol. 1 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1930), table 32, esp. pp. 679, 689; Quinn, Bernard, Anderson, Herman, Bradley, Martin, Goetting, Paul, and Shriver, Peggy, Churches and Church Membership in the United States 1980 (Atlanta: Glenmary Research Center, 1982), 265266 .

58 On the diocese's pastoral letters and correspondence: Steve Landregan, archivist for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, e-mail to the author, May 9, 2013.

59 On Catholic concerns about secularism, see Schultz, Tri-Faith America, 134–137. On Catholics shifting to public schools, see “Priest Says Catholic Schools Not Dying,” DMN, December 2, 1963, p. 22.

60 Associated Press, “Bible Classes Receive Graduation Credit,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 21, 1977, 16A.

61 Undated BCTA minutes, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K184, fol. 7; Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 220, 195; Raffetto, “1,200 Students in Bible Classes,” DMN; “Churches Aid in Offering Novel Bible Course,” DMN.

62 Old Testament, 9, 16–23, and iv; New Testament, 59. On the sons of Noah, see Haynes, Stephen R., Noah's Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

63 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 220. On Mexican Americans in Dallas, see Brettell, Caroline B., “‘Big D’: Incorporating New Immigrants in a Sunbelt Suburban Metropolis,” in Twenty-First-Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America, ed. Singer, Audrey, Hardwick, Susan W., and Brettell, Caroline B. (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2008), 5386 . On Mexican Americans at the time as predominantly Roman Catholic, see Sanchez, George J., Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 151170 .

64 “Biblical Tests Given 400 Pupils,” DMN, May 20, 1935, sec. 1, p. 7.

65 S. A. Brasfield, Director of the Division of Instruction of the State of Mississippi Department of Education, to Frederick Eby, May 6, 1952, Flachmeier Family Papers, box 2K184, fol. 3.

66 For the late 1950s estimate, see Earl R. Humble, “Religious Instruction and Activities in Texas Public Schools,” Journal of Church and State 2, no. 2 (November, 1960): 117–136, on widespread distribution of curriculum see 120.

67 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 290–295, 331; Humble, “Religious Instruction and Activities in the Public Schools of Texas,” 59; Taggart, “Weekday Religious Education in Virginia and Texas,” 51, 56–61; “Carrollton Pupils Will Study Bible,” DMN, September 15, 1946, sect. 1, p. 19; “16 Students Get Linz Pins,” Grand Prairie Texan, May 27, 1956, p. 10, Newspaper Archive, https://newspaperarchive.com.

68 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 290–291; “School Budget Set at $862,002,” Wichita Daily Times, September 18, 1945, p. 10, Newspaper Archive, https://newspaperarchive.com; “Trustees Discuss Teaching of Bible in Public Schools,” Corsicana Daily Sun, February 12, 1947, p. 8, Newspaper Archive, https://newspaperarchive.com.

69 Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947).

70 McCollum v. Board of Education, at 203, 209, 210; Zorach v. Clauson. On the impact of McCollum, see National Education Association, The Status of Religious Education in the Public Schools (Washington, D.C.: National Education Association, 1949), 810, 14; Shaver, Erwin L., “Three Years after the Champaign Case,” Religious Education 46, no. 1 (January-February 1951): 3338 ; and Dierenfield, Battle over School Prayer, 46–58.

71 “Church and State Ruling of the Supreme Court,” Dallas Times Herald, March 10, 1948, sec. 2, p. 8.

72 Abington v. Schempp, at 225.

73 On Clark's biography and career, see Gronlund, Mimi Clark, Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark: A Life of Service (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010).

74 “City Temple Church Beginning New Year,” DMN, April 13, 1930, p. 3; “City Temple Official Family is Installed,” DMN, April 13, 1931, p. 8; Tom C. Clark, “The Church and the State: Its History and Relationship,” Part 2, 45–61, esp. 57, in binder for “The Fourth R: Religion and the Public Schools” conference at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, November 4–5, 1964, Tom C. Clark Papers, series 3b, box D31, fol. 1, Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin; Jack Moranz, “Tom C. Clark,” Editorial Cartoon, s.n., n.d., Tom C. Clark Papers, series 5e, box F24, folder 10; “Church Plans Picnic,” DMN, June 3, 1931, p. 1.

75 Flachmeier, “Religious Education and the Public Schools of Texas,” 253.

76 “Week-Day Bible Study Work Will be Outlined,” DMN; “Judge Ramsey Writes About Sunday School Campaign,” DMN, October 14, 1920, p. 18. On Clark meeting Mary Jane Ramsey, see Gronlund, Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, 23–24. Judge Ramsey himself died in October 1922, while Clark and Mary were still dating and before the Bible course plan had been finalized; see “Judge W. F. Ramsey, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Dies,” DMN, October 28, 1922, p. 1.

77 Tom C. Clark, “An Address by Tom C. Clark, Attorney General of the United States, Prepared for Delivery Before the 21st International Sunday School Convention, Des Moines, Iowa, July 24, 1947,” United States Department of Justice, Speeches of the Attorney General Thomas Campbell Clark, https:// www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ag/legacy/2011/09/12/07-24-1947pro.pdf; Clark, “The Church and the State: Its History and Relationship;” West, Ellis M., “Justice Tom Clark and American Church-State Law,” Journal of Presbyterian History 54, no. 4 (1976): 387404 .

78 Dierenfield, Richard B., Religion in American Public Schools (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs, 1962), 4954 .

79 “1,500 to Take Bible Exams,” DMN, May 6, 1961, sec. 1, p. 7; McBeth, Leon, The First Baptist Church of Dallas: Centennial History (1868–1968) (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1968), 169170 ; Dierenfield, R. B., “The Impact of the Supreme Court Decisions on Religion in Public Schools,” Religious Education 62, no. 5 (September–October 1967): 445451 ; Dave Montgomery, “Bible Still in Classroom,” Dallas Times Herald, October 29, 1968, A23.

80 Bracher and Barr, “Bible is Worthy of Secular Study;” Sizer, Religion and Public Education; Montgomery, “Bible Still in Classroom;” Nolan Estes, foreword to New Testament (1972), iii and to Old Testament (1976), iii.

81 Lea Donosky, “Religion Policy Outlined,” DMN, March 23, 1973, D1; Barry Boesch, “Gideons Try to Avoid Controversy by Withdrawing DISD Bible Offer,” DMN, February 4, 1979, A41; Helen Parmley, “DISD Remembers Creation Fight,” DMN, March 7, 1981, A40.

82 “Studying the Bible;” minutes of September 8, 1971 meeting, Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 52:202–203.

83 On Devillier, see “Dallas Civil Liberties Union Minutes of Board Meeting,” January 15, 1970, 2, American Civil Liberties Union Records, Subgroup 3, Public Policy Papers, box 506, fol. 3, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; and “1970 Board of Directors,” Texas Civil Liberties Union, Dallas Chapter Records, 1957–1973, AR 82, box 1, fol. 2, University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections; The Tower, September 1, 1967, p. 2, Highland Park United Methodist Church Archives, Dallas; Palin, Michael, Diaries 1969–1979: The Python Years (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2006), 221222 .

84 Charles A. Howe, Vice President of the Central Texas Chapter of the ACLU, to Members of the School Board of the Austin Independent School District, Irby B. Carruth, Superintendent, and J. M. Patterson, Jr., April 4, 1969, Texas Civil Liberties Union Records, AR121, box 3, fol. 24.

85 Associated Press, “O'Hairs Challenge Bible Classes for School Credit,” Des Moines Register, July 8, 1970, p. 10, https://www.newspapers.com; quote from United Press International, “Atheist Seeks Credit for Course,” El Paso Herald Post, July 8, 1970, C2, Newspaper Archive, https://newspaperarchive.com. On Murray O'Hair generally, see Dierenfield, Battle over School Prayer, 169–176, 185–186.

86 Martha Man, “High School Bible Students Fill Classrooms for Exams,” Dallas Times Herald, May 2, 1971, A8; quote from Associated Press, “Bible Classes Receive Graduation Credit,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

87 Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971); Long, Emma, The Church-State Debate: Religion, Education and the Establishment Clause in Post-War America (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 3360 .

88 Vaughn v. Reed, 313 F. Supp. 431 (W.D. Va. 1970); Hall. v. Board of School Commissioners of Conecuh County, 656 F.2d 999 (5th Cir. 1981).

89 Wiley v. Franklin, 468 F. Supp. 133 (E.D. Tenn. 1979), with quotes from 138, 151; Wiley v. Franklin, 474 F. Supp. 525 (E.D. Tenn. 1979); Wiley v. Franklin, 497 F. Supp. 390 (E.D. Tenn. 1980).

90 Fifty-Nine Year Miracle: The History of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools of Charlotte (1925–1984) (Charlotte, N.C.: Friends of Bible Teaching in the Public Schools, 1984), 2, 15, 4244 .

91 H.B. 246, 67th Legislature (Texas 1981); State Board of Education Rules for Curriculum: Principles, Standards, and Procedures for Accreditation of School Districts (Austin: Texas Education Agency, 1984).

92 Beth Wilson, “Amarillo Students Participate in a Different Kind of Bible Study,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, May 21, 2005, accessed December 14, 2016, http://lubbockonline.com/stories/052105/rel_0521050081.shtml; Jennifer Stump, “Lessons Raise Constitutional Questions,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, February 4, 1999, http://web.caller.com (article has been removed from site).

93 “School Board Keeps Driver's Ed, Cuts Bible Course,” DMN, May 2, 1985, D13; Minutes of August 30, 1984 meeting in Dallas Independent School District Board of Education Minutes, 68:264. The Rutledge quote is found in Tanya Barrientos, “DISD Rescinds Credit for Church Bible Class,” Dallas Times Herald, August 29, 1984, A1, A20. On the Cliff Temple Baptist course, see “High School Bible Course Offered,” The Kaleidoscope, September 7, 1984, p. 4, Cliff Temple Baptist Church archives, Dallas; “High School Bible Course,” The Cliff Temple Baptist, September 13, 1928, p. 2, Cliff Temple Baptist Church archives, Dallas. On efforts to save the course, Neve, interview with the author, May 10, 2013.

94 Linus Wright, interview with the author, May 22, 2013; Mary Rutledge, interview with the author, May 14, 2013. On declining enrollment, see Connelly, “School Board Keeps Driver's Ed, Cuts Bible Course,” DMN.

95 On the conservative restructuring in Texas, see Wuthnow, Rough Country, 325–368. Criswell's critiques of public schools can be found in the W. A. Criswell Sermon Library at www.wacriswell.org; for example, see “Our Five-Year Plan,” a sermon delivered at the 10:50 A.M. service, April 7, 1974, accessed December 14, 2016, http://wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/our-five-year-plan/. On First Baptist's school, see “About FBA,” First Baptist Academy website, accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.fbacademy.com/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=115245&type=d&pREC_ID=224433.

96 Wright, interview with the author, May 22, 2013; Rutledge, interview with the author, May 14, 2013; William and Hulda Neve, BCTA organizers and teachers, interview with the author, May 6, 2013; Alvin Neve, interview with the author, May 10, 2013; Nona Ballard, interview with the author, May 6, 2013; David Peeler, Jr., interview with the author, May 16, 2013. I also had conversations with numerous students who took the course from 1950 onwards. The quote about African American churches comes from Rev. Gerald Britt, e-mail to the author, June 17, 2015. Inquiries to the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other African American clergy elicited no memories of the course. On Dallas churches and the Civil Rights era, see Wuthnow, Rough Country, 297–305.

97 On whites as fifty-nine percent, see McCorkle, Gerald S., “Busing Comes to Dallas Schools,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 111, no. 3 (January 2008): 304333 , esp. 333. For whites as 30.4 percent, see Phillips, White Metropolis, 167. On demographic shifts in general, see Terrence Stutz, “White Flight Blamed for Loss of Students,” DMN, May 1, 1981, pp. A1, A9; and Phillips, White Metropolis, 167–168, 171.

98 Bible in the Schools, http://www.bibleintheschools.com, with quote from http://www.bibleintheschools.com/110/legally-protected, accessed December 16, 2016.

99 Chancey, Mark A., Reading, Writing & Religion: Teaching the Bible in Texas Public Schools, rev. ed. (Austin: Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, 2006), Texas Freedom Network, http://tfn.org/cms/assets/uploads/2015/11/TX_Bible_Report_UPDATE_DEC-06.pdf; Reading, Writing & Religion II: Texas Public School Bible Courses in 2011–12 (Austin: Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, 2013), http://tfn.org/cms/assets/uploads/2013/12/TFNEF_ReadingWritingReligionII.pdf; People for the American Way, The Good Book Taught Wrong: Bible History Classes in Florida Public Schools, repr. ed. (Washington, D.C.: People for the American Way Foundation, 2000), accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=1345 (report has been removed from the site).

100 Barton, David, Cummings, Brad, and Wubbels, Lance, eds., The Founder's Bible: The Origin of the Dream of Freedom (Newbury Park, Calif.: Shiloh Road, 2014), 926 .

101 Ronda Bowen, “Top Bible Study Lessons for Your Homeschool Curriculum,” Bright Hub Education, March 23, 2014, accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.brighthubeducation.com/homeschool-curriculum-reviews/107501-bible-study-programs-for-homeschool/; Bowen, “Dallas High Schools Bible Study Course,” Rainbow Resource Center, accessed December 14, 2016, https://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?subject=Bible/13&category=Dallas+High+Schools+Bible+Study+Course/3621.

102 On the Lindale class, see Chancey, Reading, Writing & Religion, 20, 31. For its discussion of man's “highest step upward,” see Old Testament, 33. Quotations from the Sonora teacher are in David Mildenberg, “Bible Class in Texas Schools Faulted as Unconstitutional,” Bloomberg.com, May 29, 2013, accessed December 13, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-05-30/bible-class-in-texas-schools-faulted-as-unconstitutional; the teacher's source is New Testament, 65. On the earlier Sonora course, see Chancey, Reading, Writing & Religion II, 17, 33, 41, 42, 45.

The author would like to thank the many individuals who shared their memories of the Dallas Bible course; Charles H. Lippy, William Vance Trollinger, Jr., Katherine Carté Engel, Ted A. Campbell, and Church History’s anonymous readers for their feedback on earlier versions of this article; and Sam Murphy for his invaluable aid as a Southern Methodist University Hamilton Undergraduate Research Scholar.

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Religious Instruction, Public Education, and The Dallas High Schools Bible Study Course (1923–1985)

  • Mark A. Chancey

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