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New Law Lets Kentucky Public Schools Offer Bible Classes To Students

A new law has passed in Kentucky that will put the Bible back in public schools. The law gives local schoolboards the ability to choose whether or not they want to offer Bible literacy classes as part of the social studies curriculum.

The classes would not be required, but students could elect to take them.

House Bill 128 was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Matt Bevin. The bill was sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Robin L. Webb, and was passed unanimously. The goal of the bill is to introduce Bible classes into public schools so that students will become familiar with stories, characters and passages that are widely used in art, literature, philosophy, and that play a role in history.

Whether you believe the Bible is the word of God or not, the book is one of the most influential in history. It would be hard for a student to be well-rounded without understanding the many biblical references in the arts and humanities. Supporters of the bill argue that it should be a no-brainer.

"The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy,” said Bevin. "I don't know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this."

“It’s just like the dissection and discussion of any other book,” explains Webb, who says she remembers using the Bible to learn about literature when she was a child in school.

Democratic State Senator Gerald A. Neal insists that 'the course will not teach the Bible, but instead it would teach about the Bible'.

The ACLU is not as confident about the bill. There is nothing unconstitutional about using the Bible as a reference book, or teaching aid, but some teachers who have a strong personal faith may blur those lines.

"A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation," said Kate Miller, the ACLU Advocacy Director.

The ACLU fears that teachers will start off teaching and end up preaching.  

"It is possible to have a constitutionally sound curriculum that is taught in an unconstitutional manner," said Amber Duke, ACLU of Kentucky communications director.

"To date, we haven’t seen any guidelines or direction from the Department of Education on the standards for these courses, required teacher qualifications and professional development training."  
Now that the bill has passed, the ACLU of Kentucky plans to keep a close watch on the course, curriculum, and the way in which it's taught.

Rep D.J. Johnson doesn’t think it’ll be a problem. "As long as we're careful with the curriculum itself, there won't be any constitutional issues," he said to WDRB. "And we'll do that."

"It really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights," Johnson added. "All of those came from principles from the Bible."

Duke says that the problem with Christians trying to inject their faith into public schools has risen in the last few years. The ACLU doesn't want to see non-Christian people have their rights infringed upon.

"The issues in recent years have ranged from religious displays in public schools around Easter, teacher and coach-led prayer during sporting events, and in one instance a school science or history field trip to the Creation Museum," she said.

"Our most recent major investigation involving religion in public schools was a few years back when we looked into the distribution of Gideons Bibles during class."

Source: CNN, AWM
Photo: YouTube

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