Woman following 'calling'

Powell campaigns for inclusion of Bible in curriculum

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Deborah Powell was watching TV one September day when she felt God calling her.

"It was in my heart," she said. "It came on the TV. It was just me and my dogs. And I had been asking the Lord to use me because we're supposed to be vessels."

That calling came in the form of Chuck Norris, an actor who sits on the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools Board of Directors. He was on TV that day promoting the organization, which asks Christians to lobby for the Bible's return to public schools.

Powell said she knew that's what God wanted her to do for Moffat County School District.

"My ultimate goal is to get the Bible back into our school to be part of the curriculum," Powell said. "It's a Constitutional right, as long as we're not trying to indoctrinate one person."

She sent a donation to the council, which in turn sent her an informational packet on petitioning the request onto the school board's agenda.

Powell has spoken at several churches including her own, New Creation Church, and sat at booths at church and craft fairs.

She has gathered more than 650 signatures so far. The council recommends 500 signatures to submit the petition to school boards, but Powell is aiming for 1,000.

"The more the merrier," she said. "If we have more than 1,000, praise God. Because he's why I'm doing this, so he can help our kids."

As soon as she reaches that milestone, Powell said she intends to present the proposal to the school board.

Powell said the course she's proposing would be an elective class at Moffat County High School, and the class would teach the King James version of the Bible, though students could take any translation to class.

The council has a 300-page curriculum Powell said eliminates the possibility of one denomination influencing the class.

Superintendent Pete Berg-mann said the school board is willing to hear Powell's request when she is ready to submit it.

"I think the school board is always in a position where they will listen to all citizens," Bergmann said. "But we also have a comprehensive process that we go through to review and adopt our curriculum."

Bergmann said that process involves staff members meeting each year, at the end of February or beginning of March, to evaluate and make recommendations about the curriculum. Bergmann said adding a Bible class is a topic the board could entertain.

"Obviously, the thing that's controversial would be the content of the class," Bergmann said. "It's questionable as to whether we are maintaining the separation of church and state by considering adopting such a class.

"I think it's a gray line anytime you're talking about using the Bible."

Public prayer and Bible-reading were banned from public schools in 1963, after the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Abington School District v. Schempp case.

The council claims this ruling was not against the study of the Bible, but rather the religious use of it in public schools.

The council's Web site, www.bibleinschools.net, claims its curriculum has been voted into 373 school districts in 37 states. Colorado is not one of those states.

The Web site reports 93 percent of school boards that have been approached with the proposal have implemented the class into their curriculums and 19,000 students have taken the council's course.

Powell said the community's reaction to her petition have been positive.

"Everyone's was more accepting than I thought," Powell said. "Everyone had open arms."

Powell said offering Bible study in the schools makes it more accessible to students than those through churches or nonprofit groups.

"It's so valuable to have this in our school," Powell said. "I think (students will) get out of it a sense of worth -- rights and wrongs. Parents are so young anymore that there's no values."

Powell said she thinks youths today are lost and need some direction, which they can find in the Bible.

"We put the Bible back into the school," she said, "and that puts God's hand back over our schools to watch over our kids."

For more information on the petition or to sign it, call New Creation Church at 826-0792 or visit the church between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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