Public schools in Kentucky have implemented the state’s 2017 Bible Literacy Law, which offers Bible literacy courses to students. However, a state representative introduced a bill that wants schools to include other religious texts as well.
In House Bill 243 filed by State Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, the lawmaker wants public schools to teach about other religions, not only Christianity. In addition to classes on the Hebrew scriptures, Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the bill calls for “an elective social studies course on the various religious texts of the many religions practiced in the Commonwealth,” reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
I am a Christian, but represent families of many faiths in a diverse area in the south end of Louisville. —Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville
“I am a Christian, but represent families of many faiths in a diverse area in the south end of Louisville,” said the Louisville Democrat.
Meantime, Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, would not support the bill, saying it would defeat the purpose of teaching students about the importance of the Bible in the country’s history and culture, reports WDRB.com.
“I can’t imagine another book being more historically attached to America than the Bible. Religions have played a big part of our story in America, but none more than the Holy Bible,” said Bratcher.
Corey Shapiro, the legal director of ACLU of Kentucky, said public schools can teach about religion in an academic and neutral way. “Public school classes should be teaching students an understanding about religion, but not championing any specific religion or promoting any specific faith.”
The president of the Kentucky Council of Churches, Rev. Kent Gilbert, welcomes the bill to amend the Bible law. He said the group approves of letting students learn about other scriptures, but they don’t think public school teachers should be responsible for teaching about different faiths.
“Religious education ought to be done by religious professionals,” said Rev. Gilbert.