A unanimous bill was passed amongst Kentucky’ Education Committee that permits bringing of bible in the school for teaching.
Bible literacy classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools as a social studies elective under legislation approved by a state Senate committee.
Senate Bill 278, sponsored by State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee.
The bill states that public educators are permitted to use the Bible for literacy class, as a means to better students’ knowledge of poetry, stories and biblical characters. The purpose of the course is to help students develop analytical skills and historical knowledge that they can take to their other social studies courses.
The legislation might raise questions about the separation of church and state. Webb said the bill “passes constitutional muster.” She said she practiced constitutional law for 30 years.
“This bill would not have a religious connotation as much as a historical connotation,” she said.
She said she had taken a “Bible as literature” course when she attended East Carter High School.
A former English teacher, Westwood said students needed to know how the Bible influences culture. Webb said the Bible is the cornerstone of literature.
Democrats and Republicans on the committee praised the bill, including chairman Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, and Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington.
However, the Kentucky ACLU advised caution Friday.
William E. Sharp, ACLU of Kentucky Legal Director, said in a statement that the organization urges legislators to consider how such courses are likely to be implemented throughout the commonwealth.
“Although there certainly are acceptable ways to teach about the Bible to public school students — such as teaching comparative religion classes or about the Bible’s relationship to literature, art or music — the fact remains that it is difficult, in practice, to do so in a constitutionally permissible manner,” Sharp said. “Moreover, the ACLU of Kentucky maintains that parents and religious leaders, not government employees, should teach religious beliefs to children.”