Davis School Board members backed away from a controversial resolution to encourage more teaching of religious history and values in schools, while residents voiced strong opposition to the idea.

"I think it needs more time to ripen," said board member Raymond G. Briscoe about his decision to ask the board to "freeze" the resolution. The board voted unanimously at their meeting Tuesday night to delay action.The vote came after Gwenn Peters, a Clinton resident, challenged Briscoe's ideas as unconstitutional, violating separation of church and state.

"Educators do not have the knowledge, training or time to give religious instruction. They are trained as educators in the public school system and must therefore set the example," she said. "Religion belongs in the home and church."

Briscoe, a board member from Bountiful and a researcher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wants the State Board of Education to review current textbooks and use those with information about religious beliefs. He also wants teachers to feel they can talk more freely about belief systems of different religions but would prohibit proselyting.

Peters criticized Briscoe because he believes that history of religious belief has been sanitized from history books. She said her review of a 1933 history book and a conversation with the curriculum division of the State of Education indicate that education is teaching about the entire spectrum from "rock worshipers to the present day 1989."

"I do not know where Mr. Briscoe has been, but for the past 67 years and based on my personal education, religion in the historical context has been and still is taught in lower and higher learning institutions," she said.

She also said that ethical values should be taught in schools but should have nothing to do with religion.

"Religion has nothing to do with morality. Religion has nothing to do with right or wrong. What is really wrong with society is the example being set throughout the nation - that is the double-standard. Adults deliver this important message: `Do as I say, not as I do'," she said.

Briscoe said that the intent of his resolution, asking the state school board to review textbooks and curriculum to make sure they include teaching of religious history and values, has been misunderstood by many who have raised concern about the idea.

"Until the 1930s or 1940s, basic morality was considered appropriate for classroom discussion. Today it has changed. Many people believe that the (U.S.) Supreme Court has made it against the law to teach about religion in the classroom. It has not. It has only said that teaching of religion is not appropriate, but teaching appropriately about religion is approved," Briscoe's two-page resolution reads.

Briscoe has also said teaching about the history of religious belief and the open discussion about how people believe would lead to more tolerance in society. He also said that schools should teach values that are connected with sexual morality.