Sound Off: Should Teacher Be Allowed To Have Bible On Desk?

A public middle school teacher in Ohio says he won’t remove the Bible from his desk. John Freshwater says it’s a matter of free speech and he believes the separation of church and state is misinterpreted. Some opposed to the idea believe the appearance of a Bible on a teacher’s desk could influence the students’ religious views. What do you think? Should public school teachers be allowed to have Bibles on their desk? Could they be used to influence students? Email us:

I agree with the teacher, why would you ban the Bible? Do we learn nothing over time; book “burning” is a thing of the past. I don’t think simply having a Bible around is going to change a person’s mind. -Kayla

Some people have a dictionary on their desk, Mr. Freshwater just happens to have a Bible on his. It sould not even be an issue. I wear a cross pin with the American flag on it to work EVERY day. In over 6 years, I have NEVER been asked to remove it or never asked to NOT profess my Faith in the work place from either my employer or guests in the restaurant i work at. People, you really need to just get a life and stop trying to find things to complain about. Mr. Freshwater, DO NOT remove your Bible. –Keta

How could the book just being on the desk influence anyone’s religious views? If that is the case what about the teachers having bumper stickers on their vehicles that may “influence” someone’s views? Or what about “influential” coffee cups on the desk?  Not to mention those swaying sports teams logos like the “Go Zags” posters everyone hangs up? Are they too unfairly influencing students about sports? This boils down to GET A CAUSE! -Cheryl

What is wrong with the Bible on the desk? If he does not open it and read to the class from it, no problem. If anyone has a problem with it, then they should go for removing it from the courts. Especially federal courts. Government and religion are supposed to separate. In God We Trust, should be removed from money. Give it a break people, to many people looking for things to complain about or sue about. You are here for a short time, enjoy and quit making yourself miserable, and the people around you. –Michael

As long as the teacher allows other non-Christian students to practice their beliefs as well, I see no problem. But if that isn’t the case and he’s trying to force his beliefs on others without respect for their right to believe what they choose, then he needs to put the book away.  –Shelly

Yes, definitely…..I don’t see what it is hurting. It IS the most IMPORTANT book ever written! The Bible only contains information in it that will help someone. I could think of much more negative stuff going on in our schools than having to remove the Bible from a desk. How absurd! The Bible was written by those inspired from God and as I said, it is meant to help, not hinder a person.  If our students would read the Bible and earn from it our world would be in a much better place! -Kathy

Isn’t the Bible a book?  Didn’t the Nazi’s ban and burn books?  The Bible has been proven to be an archeologically accurate document and text.  If the Bible is banned, so should all books.  P.S. I take my Bible to school and read it as well. -John(Sandpoint)

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”Nor shall the school board make any law prohibiting the free exercise of a person’s religious belief.”  It doesn’t matter what your viewers think.  We need to live by the Constitution and not popular opinion.  Thank God for the few leaders who take our Constitution seriously. -Ron

If there’s such an uproar about the teacher with the Bible; and the argument about separation of church and State; should politicians not politic from the pulpit?  And preachers stay out of politics?   As long as he’s not preaching from the classroom…it’s his option. -Calvin

When one considers that secular historians that refuse not to believe that the bible is the inspired word of God.  Go to the bible for answers pertaining to unanswered questions some concerning ancient civilizations, and when one considers that the bible’s accuracy has never been proven inaccurate.  Why wouldn’t we want to give some attention to something that contains the message from the creator himself, Even if what I am saying is only remotely possible wouldn’t it be wise to check it out for ourselves?  My hope is that everyone would have a bible and see for themselves if what it says is true! -Gary

There are two things that bother me about this psuedo-controversy. First, there is NO mention of “separation of church and state” anywhere in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution or Bill of Rights. What is stated concerning the government’s relationship to religion is found in the First Amendment, which states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The oft-cited separation of church and state which is not to be found anywhere is bad enough. What to me is worse is ignoring the second part of the clause addressing religion, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” The selective quoting and enforcement of the Bill of Rights equals censorship and intellectual restriction. -John

This country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion.  If the closed Bible has such a huge influence on those who are seeing the cover and not reading it, it must be being given magical powers.  The Bible can change lives of those who read it and take it to heart, it certainly does not have such magical powers and the teacher has every right to have it on his desk.  It is one of the best selling books in the world, it is recognized as great literature, and this teacher is not making it required reading.  It is a shame that such good books are not required reading in every school! -Carey(Washtucna)

WOW, I can see the ACLU jumping on this like a dog on a bone. Let the teacher alone, he isn’t useing it for anything but a reference book anyway. -Bill (Moses Lake)

If the presence of Bibles can influence student’s views then the absence of Bibles will influence student’s religious views.  I thought the idea is to get a rounded education so that students can make an educated decision.  How does that happen when some views are selectively banned, while others are allowed? -Cindy

Yes, they should be allowed on the desk.  There is also nothing wrong with the Ten Commandants hung in our schools.  This teacher is correct that it is not unconstitutional if you bother to read the constitution, instead of what we have added to it.  I realize that someone decided that if the Ten Commandants were hung up, our children might read them, and they might actually follow them, and they didn’t think we should influence that way.  But we can feed them all the murder, robbery, rape, and everything rotten you want to, and they don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that.  Then we wonder why our children are committing murder, suicide, rape and etc. Let’s start giving our children a better way. -Cathy

How can it be “accepted” to have a naked lady on a billboard and when a person wants to keep his bible on his desk not acceptable?   Can’t any of you see what this world has come to?  I commend the man for staying strong for what is right, keep your bible on your desk! –Michon

To all those that object to the teacher having a bible on his desk, what are they afraid of? –Larry

I do wish history would be properly taught in public schools. There is NO “separation between church and state” in the US Constitution. I don’t care how often, or by whom, the phrase is parroted; that still doesn’t make it true. Leave the teacher alone. The morals taught in the Bible would do nothing but good, in a country that has seriously lost its way. -Michael(Spokane)

Yes, I think the Bible should stay on the desk.  I think they should bring daily prayer back into schools, too.  A lot of our problems all started when Madelyn O’Hare was able to get prayer removed from the schools.  This country was founded with Christ at the center, and now we are all in deep trouble. -Nancy(Athol)

How dare they presume to dictate what an adult in a free country keeps on his or her personal desk?  This isn’t China, for Pete’s sake!  I highly doubt that it if it was a copy of the Koran that anyone would dare speak up. -Liz(Spokane)

I guess if it was the Koran we wouldn’t complain so as not to offend anyone. Why is this any different? This country is no longer able to show its own founding values! -Ken(Hayden)

Everyone has a world view. About the only world view banned in public schools is the Christian one.  Face it. The Christian army is the only army in the world that lets the enemy train its young. -Tom(Usk)

What on earth has happened to our Country?  Of course he should be allowed to have the Bible on his desk.   He is not preaching it, he is not teaching the bible.  It is simply sitting there.    People have gone overbroad. -Amy(Rathdrum)

As long as the teacher doesn’t grade differently depending on the students’ religious beliefs or try to impose his on others, I don’t see a problem. -Kyle

It should be made a federal law that every teacher be required to have a Bible on their desk. –Emmett(Addy)

Yes it should be allowed. Congress, the Constitution and the ACLU have all gone too far against Faith and religious freedoms in this country. It’s not like the teacher is trying to teach the students the Bible he’s probably using some basis out of the Bible for Creationism vs. Evolution. It’s just as bad as telling him he can’t put pictures of his wife and kids on his desk. –Dave(Lewiston)

Teachers influence our children. One reason we had to stop letting teachers expound on their religion was that some tried to convert the kids to their brand or denomination. No reason the teacher can’t keep his bible in a drawer. I remember when Methodists were offended when the teachers influenced kids to come to their church over the Baptists or Catholic brands. Jews were usually denigrated or just left out unless the teacher was Jewish. To be fair, teachers had to keep their own personal choices private. Too bad we have gone so far that history has to be revised to teach ABOUT religion. -Nancy(Spokane)


Unless it is a parochial school, ones religious beliefs should be kept to themselves when at school. We’ve gone over this before regarding prayer meetings, and even Islamic prayer habits during the day. This is not “Church and State”. One shoe has to fit all. -Myles

Has the Bible been banned from the school library?  If not, there’s no reason he can leave it on his desk next to any other book. –William(Liberty Lake)

Yes, the teacher should be able to have his bible on his desk.  He’s not preaching or reading from it, so it shouldn’t be anyone’s business.  It’s his right to have any book there, as long as it’s not immoral.  People should MYOB.  Maybe during breaks and such, someone will start a conversation about it, but it’s not during class.  What’s the problem? -Vicki

YES    IT IS A MATTER OF FREE SPEACH   When schools can give away condoms and pills then we need a voice to say there is another way.  I knew of teachers that always had a Bible on the desk and were ready to answer questions if asked. We need to have that type of person guiding our young people.  Let there be a voice in the wilderness in this day and age! -Roger(Lewiston)

As long as there is a book of evolution, under it, over it, or next to it, all should be taught. But most of all where is the common sense comes in to play. OH! THAT’S NOT TO COMMON ANY MORE. -BH

If it were a book of Islam or such, would such a big fuss be made of it? Probably not. Why should it be any different with the Bible? As Americans we have the right to freedom of speech, why can’t we have freedom of what we read?   I think they are taking it too far, in my opinion.  –Sara(Trout Creek, MT)

I am not a religious person by any stretch, however. If Mr. Freshwater has comfort with the bible on his desk while teaching his students, then who cares? If the mere presence of the book is causing this much of an uproar then I think people within that school district really need to evaluate their priorities. It’s a book that’s of importance to this man. It’s not as if he is pressing his religious views on his class. Praise him for the work he does, not the reading material on his desk… -Neal

Give me a break!!!  If you ask me, there should be a bible on every desk top. The separation of school and church is one thing, but this sounds more like a separation of teacher and his rights.  Let the man have his bible!!!! –Jennifer

If it was a Koran on his desk- the only uproar would be if the subject of having to remove it was brought up! Christianity, it seems though, is always fair game! -Theron

This country was founded on religious principles so the Bible and all religious aspects should remain in the school and all other public sites. That is one thing that is wrong with this country now. We need more religion. -Douglas

No teacher needs to have that book on their desk at school. Why would they? What’s the point? That book belongs at home not at school!!  -Byron(Spokane)

I think it is unacceptable to have the bible on his desk. You can have your religious beliefs but in your own privacy not at the work place where people may take offence to it. -Kim

I think the teacher should be allowed to have the bible on his desk, but he shouldn’t be preaching the students. Everyone is titled to have their own opinion and he should know that. –Megan(Sandpoint)

While I don’t think having a bible present will influence students’ views, it will most certainly create a hostile environment to students of other faiths, and most notably to atheist students.  It’s obvious this man is already teaching with a bias.  If it were a book by Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins I’m sure he would have been fired already.  Christianity already has too much influence in everyday life; this man either needs to leave his religion at the secular school door or teach at a religious school. -Janessa(Spokane)

Yes the bible should stay on his desk, why shouldn’t religion or a bible be part of free speech, everything else under the sun is. It is his belief which becomes free speech which is what our country was founded on. Because this has been taken out of the schools and government look what has happened to society. It is out of control, shootings in schools church’s etc. Enough is enough, leave him alone, and if it influences students more power to him bringing our world back to its foundation. -Joy

Yes, I think that the Bible should stay on every teacher’s desk. -Jaineen(Ephrata)

First, he is right. The division of Church and State has been misinterpreted and he should have the right to have his Bible on his desk. To state the children may be influenced by the appearance of the book alone, is in my opinion ludicrous. Maybe we need to ban any visual material that could remotely be considered offensive. -Penny(Coeur d’Alene)

Absolutely !! If I were a teacher I’d want mine too. Wasn’t our country founded on Freedom of Religion?  Other than being the word of God it has the ability to be used as a text book for History, Geography, Science, Math and Reading. Oh and Proper English. I believe it should be to each his own. I carried mine to school and encourage my children if they wish to do so than do it. Vonnie

I agree with the teacher with no reservations.  The separation of church and state was established to keep the governments fingers out of our freedom to worship God how we choose not the other way around.  To make him remove his bible would be very PC.  The key word in PC being Politically.  Politics doesn’t belong in the same sentence with what is right and true.  The Constitution protects his right to have the bible on his desk. -Michele(Mica)

Sure, why not? -Tim

The teacher is wrong. While he is on the job, he needs to accept the authority of his boss (principal, school district).  The desk is school property, and if he is told to remove the Bible from it, he should. This is not a freedom of speech or religion issue. If he wants to wear a cross, he can. It’s on his person and not school property. If he wants to keep the Bible in his briefcase, he can. He owns the briefcase. If he wants to put Christian bumper stickers on his car, he can. That’s his property.  Also, he is a teacher. Part of his job is to make his classroom as conducive to teaching and learning as possible. If the Bible makes any of his students uncomfortable, it needs to be removed. It is not part of the curricula or necessary for instruction of his students. –Lynn(Spokane)

Yes, I believe all  teachers should have the Good Book on their desks. Why hide it ? By hiding something you obviously are afraid of what it has to say to you. And, you should be afraid; very afraid of the bible and what’s to come. Daniel

Part of being a person is what they believe, it’s freedom of thought and relegion. -Fred(Hayden)

Certainly. But it is not their right to act as a Priest while they are being paid as an educator for the basic curriculum taught in public schools. If they feel a need to preach, they could seek an opportunity in their church. –Vickey