CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A proposed bill in the West Virginia Senate could require all schools in that state to provide an elective course on the Bible.
Senate Bill 252 is sponsored by two Republican state senators.
The bill says the course would be elective; students would not be required to take the course but schools would be required to offer it. Senate Bill 252 also says the course would be taught on either Hebrew scriptures or the Bible, and students could decide which translation they wanted to use.
According to the bill, the elective course would “teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”
The bill requires federal and state laws be followed regarding religious neutrality, while accommodating the diverse religious views of students.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the American Civil Liberties Union says ‘Bible literacy’ classes being taught at some public schools in Kentucky may be unconstitutional.
A new Kentucky law gives public schools the option to teach Bible courses in the social studies curriculum, according to WSAZ-TV. The courses are not mandatory.
One Kentucky principal argued that the Bible course is really a history course of world religions.
“There’s no daily devotionals, that’s not done. Daily prayer is not done … it’s more of a comparative religion,” Principal Jack Lykins told WSAZ-TV.
The ACLU disagrees, however.
A spokeswoman for the ACLU says, “there definitely appears to be unconstitutional activity happening in the Lewis County course.”
Through an open records request, the ACLU requested and received course materials from several schools to review for constitutionality.