To the editor,

In an online column, Rob Port's "full disclosure that, he is an atheist, and how he doesn't mean any slight towards Christians" at best rings hollow. The truth is religion is being taught in public schools; California has classes on Islam; where is the ACLU on that issue?

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Port has called the Bible a Christian book, which only further illustrates his ignorance and the need for a class on the Bible. The New Testament is the Christian book written during the first century CE; it expresses the Grace and Love of God. The Old Testament is the Jewish Covenant; it was written and assembled, according to Jewish scholars, beginning in about the 10th Century BCE until 445 BCE. It contains the Law, the Prophets and the Writings that have been the foundation of most judicial systems in the West.

But from a merely rational view, why are private schools and Christian schools that use the Bible freely doing much better overall than our public schools? The cost to operate public schools far exceeds how much it costs to run most Christian schools.

Why should the book that played a pivotal role in the founding of America be forbidden to be used to instruct a completely elective class on subjects about ancient nations and empires before the common era (BCE) and the founding of numerous civilizations throughout the world, including our own, after the common era (CE)? And how can a book that most of our elected officials swear allegiance to the Constitution to be "unconstitutional"? Learning about the Bible does not establish religion-religion is something you can practice without the Bible. Some say atheism has all the hallmarks of a religion except belief there is a God.

Two noteworthy quotes that have changed the course of history are: "A nation divided against itself cannot stand" and "the truth will make you free." Those, along with the Golden Rule and the commands to love your neighbor, respect your leaders, hardly can be deemed detrimental to students attending a voluntary class on the Bible.

Dwight Messner

Grand Forks