FRANKFORT, Ky. - High school students in Kentucky may soon have the option of studying the Bible as an elective course.
Senate Bill 56, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, would direct the state Department of Education to develop a course curriculum around the Bible, which local school councils could then approve for teaching in their schools.
The bill was overwhelmingly approved 34-1 in the Senate on Wednesday with both Republican and Democrat support. The bill now moves to the Kentucky House of Representatives for consideration.
It's uncommon for religion to be taught in a high school classroom, but the new bill would require schools to offer it as an elective. Supporters stressed that the course would not advance a religion, as it’s designed to be strictly a historical look at the impact of the Bible in western culture.
"This bill ensures it will be about education, not indoctrination," said Bowen, who maintains the Bible's influence in our society is "not something we can evade." The students will also decide whether or not to sign up for the course.
Those opposed to the bill deem it unnecessary, as schools can already choose whether or not to include religion in the curriculum.
Specific standards on Bible versions and interpretations to be taught have yet to be determined. Indications are the course would encompass both the New and Old Testaments.
View Senate Bill 56 by clicking here.