Ky. Senate Passes Bill to Teach Bible in Public Schools

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would add Bible classes to the curriculum in public schools.

The Senate voted 34-1 to approve Senate Bill 56.

The measure would direct the Kentucky Board of Education to create guidelines on a curriculum around the Bible. According to the proposal, students would be able to take a Bible course as a social studies elective centered on the Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament, or a combination of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible.

Sen. Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro), the bill's sponsor, said the purpose of the legislation is Bible literacy.

He said the intention is to acquaint students with a book that has had tremendous impact on American society and western culture, according to The Associated Press.

Knowledge of biblical characters and narratives serves as "prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy," the proposal stated.

While schools in Kentucky can teach classes on the Bible, the bill would standardize the coursework.

Sen. David Boswell (D- Owensboro) sponsored a similar bill last year that passed the Kentucky Senate but failed in the House. Boswell last year said the legislation was constitutional because the Bible would not be taught from a religious standpoint but from a literary one.

Senate Bill 56 now heads to the state House.

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