A mischievous bill in the Kentucky state Senate that would allow for statewide bible elective courses is on a smooth track to becoming law. Please take action against this irresponsible and religiously biased bill.
Senate Bill 138 requires the Kentucky Board of Education to establish an elective high school social studies course or courses on the Old or New Testaments. It would also require the course to provide students with knowledge of biblical content. The bill maintains that knowledge about the bible is "prerequisite to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy [emphasis added]."
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(Keep reading if you wish to learn more about the bill.)
While SB 138 does not require any student to take a course on the bible or require any school to offer such a course, it opens an avenue for public education to intersect with religious proselytization. It is allowable for the bible to be taught in a purely academic fashion, but it is highly doubtful that Kentucky's Board of Education will take the means necessary to ensure that the courses do not slip from education to indoctrination.
"In a nation where upwards of 28 percent believe the bible is the 'literal word of God' and 47 percent believe it to 'be the inspired word of God,' it's unrealistic to imagine the bible will be taught or studied dispassionately in Kentucky public schools," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "How will the Board of Education ensure the course does not become devotional? The bill already shows bias by singling out only one so-called 'holy book' for study."
Moreover, it's alarming for the bill to suggest that the bible be taught as a prerequisite to understanding public policy in a nation established on a secular Constitution. According to our country's founding document, U.S. laws and public policy are supposed to be free from religious dogma.
If the bible is to be taught in public schools for the purpose of education, so should texts that dissect and criticize it, such as Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason."
The Kentucky Council of Churches and the ACLU have both come out against the bill, saying it hurts religious freedom.