Hollywood Power Couple Mark Burnett And Roma Downey Want The Bible Taught In Public School

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ROMA DOWNEY MARK BURNETT THE BIBLE
AP

Hollywood power couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who are producing a History Channel series called "The Bible," penned a glib op-ed Thursday in The Wall Street Journal advocating for the Bible to be taught in American's public schools.

"It's time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization," they wrote, adding that it should be done "for the sake of the nation's children."

The column argues that the Bible deserves a place in U.S. public schools because it is "the most influential book of all time," but is not currently taught in schools because of "the powers that be."

Burnett, who is originally from England, is the producer of a number of popular TV series including "Survivor" and "The Celebrity Apprentice." Downey, who is originally from Ireland, is an actor and producer best known for her role as Monica on "Touched By An Angel."

Peppered heavily with Biblical phrases, their column criticizes those who object to putting the Bible on reading lists in public schools.

"Teaching the Bible is of course a touchy subject. One can't broach it without someone barking 'separation of church and state' and 'forcing religion down my throat,'" the two write.

To be fair, the column clearly says that the Bible should be taught "objectively" as part of a "secular" curriculum, rather than in a proselytizing or persuasive way. Then again, the pair's argument for teaching the Bible doesn't mention any other religious texts, seemingly implying the Bible is more important.

The couple's piece may be a marketing stunt to generate publicity for their upcoming series, "The Bible," a five-part miniseries premiering Sunday that dramatizes Biblical stories like the Exodus, the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.

As HuffPost reporter Jaweed Kaleem wrote Friday, there's been a huge marketing effort behind the series that includes partnerships with some of America's largest churches and most prominent evangelicals, like Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, an anti-abortion, anti-gay rights Christian organization. Kaleem also notes that the series's website has lesson plans for pastors who want to use the show in their sermons.

Downey and Burnett, who are both Christians, said in a video on "The Bible's" website that they "felt called" to produce the series and believe the Bible "is the living word of God." It's unclear if their op-ed will have any other effect other than helping create buzz around their new show.

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