Politics & Government

3 Kentucky legislators propose letting schools teach the Bible

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Three Democratic state senators are pushing a proposal to give public schools in Kentucky the option of teaching the Bible as an elective social studies course.

The class would "teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry and narratives that are pre requisites to understanding contemporary society and culture," said Sen. David Boswell, D-Owensboro, the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 142.

Boswell, a Catholic, said the bill is intended to teach Bible literacy as an academic course, "not as the only religion," but opponents labeled the proposal an unconstitutional "back-door approach to teaching religion."

Edwin F. Kagin, national legal director of American Atheists, called the measure "a rampant violation of the separation of church and state."

Kagin, of Union in Boone County, said students certainly should know biblical references, such as David and Goliath. "But if the Bible is taught in schools, it should only be taught as mythology, and I don't think that is what this bill wants."

Boswell acknowledged that the proposal probably also will bring criticism from those who would favor the teaching of other religious texts, such as the Quran.

"Since the Bible has played such a big role in our literature, I thought I would go with that," he said.

Boswell stressed that the proposed Bible class would be an elective. The state Department of Education would have to come up with regulations to implement the course, and school-based decision-making councils would have to sign off on it, he said.

Read the full story at Kentucky.com