Bucking a broader trend throughout the culture of the American public school system, the governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, recently signed into law a bill that permits schools in his state to offer Bible study courses as curriculum electives.
As outlined in the legislation, the courses at issue “teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”
Writing that the law “is not a mandate,” the author of the bill, Rep. D.J. Johnson, previously declared in a Facebook post that the law is intended to “provide guidance at the state level for local school boards to offer elective social studies courses on the Old Testament, New Testament, or both.”
The Christian Post reports that although the bill received strong support in the Kentucky legislature, and passed through the state senate by a substantial margin of 34 to 4, it clearly has its detractors, including the Kentucky Council of Churches.
“If this were a world religions class or something that gave students the opportunity to learn the historical significance of all religious traditions or sacred text, then we would not be opposed to it,” said Peggy Hinds, Interim Executive Director of the KCC.
Although local school boards in Kentucky already had the freedom to make such courses available, the legislation is designed to give additional weight and backing to those boards that wish to proceed in offering them.
“The purpose of the bill is to provide [guidance,] uniformity, and constitutional support for the local school boards that may be wanting to offer such courses, but are unsure of the way to proceed,” says Johnson. “A stronger understanding of the Bible will result in a stronger understanding of our society, culture, literature, and laws.”
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large