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ICC Note: In May, West Virginia’s Mercer County Board of Education voted to suspend an elective Bible course available to students in the district. A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit against the course, stating that there is no case following the district’s decision. While it is not clear whether or not the course will return in the future, the judge said that if it were to return and pose constitutional concerns, the court would rehear the case.

By Heather Clark

11/15/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President George H.W. Bush has dismissed a lawsuit against a more than 75-year-old elective Bible course offered in a school district in West Virginia after the district voted to discontinue the program.

U.S. District Judge David Faber said that because the Mercer County Board of Education voted in May to suspend its Bible in the Schools (BITS) course, there is currently no case. While the Board voted to halt the program at least for one year to allow a “thorough review of and modification to the [BITS] curriculum,” attorneys for the board, according to Faber, told the court that “the BITS curriculum of which plaintiffs are complaining does not exist and will not come back.”

However, Faber also noted that some statements in the media seemed to contrarily indicate that the board would like to revive the program at some point.

“Nevertheless, statements of defendants in the newspapers indicate defendants’ desire to resurrect the BITS program after a thorough review,” he wrote. “The defendant, Deborah Akers reportedly emphasized ‘Mercer County Schools is continuing its efforts to keep the Bible in the Schools program,’ although a timetable for a new BITS program has not been established.”

While it remains unclear as to whether or not the program will return, Faber concluded that he would accept “defendants’ representations as a binding commitment that the past BITS program no longer exists and that BITS has been altogether suspended for at least one year.”

Therefore, “[t]his court finds ‘it too speculative whether the problem [the Does] present will ever need solving; we find the legal issues [the Does] raise not fit for our consideration, and the hardship to [the Does] of biding [their] time insubstantial,” Faber stated.


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