The topic of deciding whether or not Bible Classes will be taught in Kentucky public schools went about half-way through the legislative process this week in Frankfort. Senate Bill 56 opens up the gates for a Social Studies class to be offered as an elective with the focus being Biblical Studies and Hebrew.
The Kentucky Senate voted 34 to 1 to approve the bill this past Wednesday. Senator Bowen from Owensboro is the bill’s sponsor and stated that his intention is to ‘acquaint students with a book that has had a tremendous impact on American society and Western Culture’.
Though the issue of the constitution’s ‘separation of church and state’ came up, it was quickly talked down by Senator Carrol of Frankfort as he expressed that the class wouldn’t be used to teach religious preference but rather for historical and social teachings.
Senator Kathy Stein, of Lexington was the only one to vote No, saying the Bill is unnecessary because nothing currently prohibits Kentucky schools from teaching about The Bible.
While Senator Stein can state truthfully that there is indeed no particular law against holding a class where the Bible and Hebrew are taught in the public school system, there are students all over the country every day who have their religious rights as Christians squashed. Time and again we hear of Christian students who aren’t allowed to bring their Bibles to class or who have been suspended for using Christian symbols in their artwork or singing a song with religious significance in the public schools. We can’t even have the Ten Commandments in the classroom or call for a time of prayer before a ballgame. To say that there is no law against having a Bible Class in public school is technically true but very naïve.
FYI – This class would be an elective in schools, not mandatory; however similar legislation passed in the Kentucky Senate in 2010 but died in the House.
To read the details of Senate Bill 56, click into the KY LRC webpage.
To contact your local Rep., go to this link: Kentucky House of Representatives