That evangelical understandings of the Bible differ from scholarly consensus doesn’t make them incorrect, but it does mean that the material taught to public-school students would likely diverge from what they are learning in church and at home. Can you imagine young Christian students coming home from school and informing their parents that they’ve just learned that all these cherished Bible stories are in fact not historically correct? How would evangelical parents react when their fifth grader explains that their teacher said the Apostle Paul said misogynist things and advocated for slavery? And what if the teacher decides to assign the Catholic version of the Bible, which has seven books that Protestants reject as apocryphal?
And this only addresses issues of historicity and interpretation. The social teachings of the Bible could also create issues in a public-school setting. A recent thesis project in sociology at Baylor University suggested that increased Bible reading can actually have a liberalizing effect, increasing one’s “interest in social and economic justice, acceptance of the compatibility of religion and science, and support for the humane treatment of criminals.” Every community that reads the Bible places unequal stress on certain books or passages. While evangelicals are generally more politically conservative, teachers in public schools might choose to emphasize the Bible’s many teachings on caring for the poor, welcoming the immigrant, and the problems of material wealth.