Bill would make public high school Bible study compulsory ::: Florida Politics


representing Kim daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat known for championing legislation that brings religion into public schools, on Tuesday tabled legislation making elective high school Bible studies compulsory.

That is to say its invoice (HB 195) would require – rather than simply allow, as is currently the case – high schools to offer “objective study of religion”.

These courses include:

– “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and the Old Testament …”

– “A course on the New Testament …”, and

– “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible and the New Testament of the Bible.

They would still be electives: if the bill passed, however, state public schools would have to offer them, but no student would be required to take them.

Similar legislation is being considered or has been adopted elsewhere.

In North Dakota, the legislature is considering a compulsory one-semester course. And in Kentucky, the Biblical Literacy Act is of particular interest to American Civil Liberties Union.

Daniels, a Christian evangelist, has already successfully passed religious legislation, building on the support of Republicans and African American Democrats:

HB 303, Florida’s Students and School Staff Religious Freedoms Act, passed in 2017.

The measure prohibits school districts “from discriminating against students, parents and school personnel on the basis of religious views or expressions” and requires a school district “to adopt a limited public forum policy and provide a warning during school events “.

HB 839, a bill requiring school districts to display the Florida motto “In God We Trust,” passed in 2018.

Florida Politics has reached out to Daniels’ office for comment on the recent legislation.

During this time, Kirk bailey, political director of the Florida ACLU, says his group is monitoring the bill.

“There are acceptable ways of teaching the Bible: Schools can offer lessons in comparative religion or the relationship of the Bible to literature, art, or music. However, it is extremely difficult to do so in a constitutionally permissible manner, ”Bailey said.

“Ultimately, it is the parents, not the government, who should be in charge of religious education. To ensure that one religion is not promoted over another in our public schools and to protect the rights of our students in the First Amendment, we will continue to monitor this bill to see how it progresses during this legislative session. Bailey added.

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