A California charter school has decided to pull Corrie ten Boom’s Holocaust memoir, The Hiding Place, from its library because the content was deemed too religious. . . . When the Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal defense group, sent a cease-and-desist notice, the school superintendent responded, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”Because, I guess, we're going to teach about the Holocaust now without mentioning religion.
I have read again and again about American teachers and even principals who seem to think that the establishment clause forbids them from teaching about religion or assigning religious books, which it does not. As if it were possible to understand humanity without looking into religion.
The Hiding Place is a bit controversial because it is an explicitly Christian book about the Holocaust; the ten Boom family helped Jews for Christian reasons and Corrie wrote about her experience in Christian terms. If I were going to teach one book about the Holocaust I would certainly choose one by a Jew. But what I think is the best text for teaching this subject is a completely separate matter from what school libraries can have on their shelves, and they absolutely can and should have religious books. The difference between preaching religion and teaching about religions is too subtle for a lot of people, but it should not be beyond school principals.