ICC Note: Following a vote of approval from the Kentucky Senate, a bill has been passed allowing for public school classes on the Bible. The courses will serve as elective social studies courses which will be taught from a historical perspective rather than for the purpose of religious instruction. The Anti-Defamation League has since spoken out with concern that the course may lead to “proselytization.”
By Heather Clark
03/15/2016 United States (Christian News Network) – The Kentucky Senate has approved a bill authorizing the creation of an elective social studies course on the Bible in public schools.
S.B. 278 directs the Kentucky Board of Education to “promulgate administrative regulations” for the course, which may include an elective study on the Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testament, or both.
The legislation outlines that the purpose of the course is to “teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy.”
Sponsor Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, told the Senate Education Committee on Thursday that the course will serve historical purposes as opposed to religious instruction.
“What this does is to allow Bible literacy courses in the form of a social studies elective,” she said. “This bill would not have religious connotation as much as a historical connotation.”
“A course under this section shall not endorse, favor, or promote, or disfavor or show hostility toward, any particular religion or nonreligious faith or religious perspective,” the proposed bill further notes.
The committee unanimously approved S.B. 278 following the hearing, sending the matter on to the full Senate for a vote, which likewise placed its stamp of approval on the move on Monday.