Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Bible Belt Meets The Bourbon Trail

It's no wonder that here in a state with the twin national embarrassments of the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter theme park, in a state where religious organizations now have the same "equal access" to discriminate against LGBTQ organizations on public university campuses and use tax dollars to do so, that GOP Gov. Matt Bevin is now putting Bible study courses in Kentucky high schools.

Public schools in Kentucky can soon teach reading, writing and the book of Revelation.

At the Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. Matt Bevin gave his public “Amen” to a bill allowing Bible courses in public schools.

Normally, a bill signing does not open with prayer, but in this case, it may have been appropriate. At a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Bevin signed House Bill 128, which allows public schools to teach courses on the Bible.

The bill's sponsor says students need to understand the role the Bible played in American history.

“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights," said Rep. D.J. Johnson (R-Owensboro). "All of those came from principles from the Bible."

The bill, which easily passed the House and Senate, gives local school boards the option of developing a Bible literacy class as part of their social studies curriculum. The course would be elective, not required.

“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don't know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this,” Bevin told the crowd.

The ACLU of Kentucky said it’s concerned about how the law might be used in schools.

“A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation,” said Advocacy Director Kate Miller.

Miller told WDRB News the ACLU will monitor the law closely.

Comparative religion courses are one thing, I took such a class in college and hey, I learned about the Bible, the Qu'ran,  the Torah and Talmud, the Mahabharata, the Tripitaka and more.  But teaching the Bible in high school, even as a social studies elective, is tricky and in this state probably going to get ugly fast next year.

I'd argue that we need more Constitutional literacy, or literacy in general here in Kentucky, but that's why I'm not on any school boards around here. Go figure.

Bonus question:  When do we get the high school elective courses on literacy of the Qu'ran or any non-Christian religious text?

But you already know the answer to that.

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