Betsy Ross Bible

Jungohk (Theresa) Cho, who restored Betsy Ross's family Bible, flips through its pages in the lab at the Conservation Center for Arts and Historic Artifacts in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Heather Khalifa/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS) ORG XMIT: 1270694

Dan Fagan’s column appears to have stimulated strong opinions. However, the reaction is overblown.

Dan Fagan: Why not teach the Bible in Denham Springs High literature class?

I taught art history at Tulane for nearly 30 years. I always included in the courses that introduced students to the arts of the ancient world specific lectures on the different religions and their respective expressions in art and architecture. Without discussions of the religions and religious texts of the ancient civilizations, understanding and appreciation of their art would be impossible. My students learned about the religions of ancient Egypt, Sumer, Iran, Babylon, Assyria, Anatolia, Judea, Crete, Malta, Greece, Rome, etc. Once the course moved to the Common Era, Christianity and the Bible were introduced to the discussion, as was Islam and the Quran.

Responsible teaching is not proselytizing. All religions express the same human longing. Sometimes, the stories or iconography differ; sometimes, just the names of the characters. Knowing these stories and understanding them gives us insight into ourselves — not as Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus — but as humans.

Letter: Why Bible literature class would violate Constitution? It's not the only religion, for starters

In my opinion, our public school curriculum should definitely include a course on the religions of the world. Objectively presented, such a course can go a long way in reducing prevailing religion-based prejudice and irrational hate of the "other," whoever that may be.

Thomas M. Bayer

retired professor

New Orleans