There's uproar about a Florida high school assigning Genesis for its summer reading. (Link via Bookslut)
I'm attune to seperation of Church and State issues as much as anyone. (You try growing up in Northeast Wisconsin as a non-Christian and hoo-boy!)
But really? I wish someone would have assigned me Genesis and then explained it. It would have made my English career a lot more successful and meaningful. The parents in the article suggest that the teachers just explain the story but that leaves some problems (both of which I encountered in my high school career):
1. The vast majority of the class will know this stuff and will immediately tune out
2. The way around this is for a teacher to ask if anyone doesn't know the story. Trust me. The 2 kids who don't aren't about to raise their hands and admit that.
Because you need Genesis to understand a lot of the western canon. Reading such things as Paradise Lost and East of Eden without it sucks.
They should assign the gospels as well, as Jesus also plays a big role. Not knowing the gospels kicked me in the butt during class discussions of As I Lay Dying and Grapes of Wrath. And The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also made a lot more sense after reading up on the New Testament.
My first semester in college, I took a Bible Studies class. Just so I could understand literature. And European history for the same reasons. It was the smartest thing I've ever done.