South Side pastors push for Bibles in CPS classrooms - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

South Side pastors push for Bibles in CPS classrooms

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some pastors on Chicago's South Side say it's time to teach "values 101" in all classrooms in Chicago Public schools. They say that lesson should come from the bible.

Supporters say the good book should be used to help kids make good decisions and it may be the only thing to stop gang and gun violence in some neighborhoods.

Spencer Leak is a funeral director on Chicago's South Side. Last year, he says he counseled more than 100 families after the death of their loved ones—many between18 and 25 years old.

The youngest victim tugged at the hearts of Chicagoans. 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins was shot several times in her father's arms. Leak says since that funeral he's been on a mission to get Bibles back in the classroom.

"The Bible should be in the classroom," Leak says. "As long as the Bible is in the classroom as long as the Bible isn't accompanied by or preaching to the young people searching to convert the young people into Christianity. That makes it is constitutional when it's part of the curriculum."

Prayer and the Bible were taken out of schools across the nation in the 1960's. Because of the violence, Leak and a number of pastors have sent this letter to the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools asking Barbara Byrd- Bennett and the school board to teach the Bible as an elective class for credit--not a mandatory course.

Since values aren't being taught in the home, the ministers say, students will get something out of these scriptures in school.

Leak says he's not trying to offend any other faiths, he's just trying to give some students a reason to turn away from guns, violence and drugs.

"God bless them all and the Bible loves them all," Leak says. "There is no conflict with the Bible and their faith. Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not lie."

"I think what's dangerous is to suggest somehow that values come from a particular religious tradition," Ed Yohnka with the American Civil Liberties Union says.

Yohnka says the good book is used in some Illinois classrooms, but it's not the schools job to teach children something they should elsewhere.

"The one thing the Constitution demands is that it's parents who decide when and where and how their children worship," Yohnka says.

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