Bible in Schools Act passes

Bible in Schools Act passes
In what could be a major change in public school policy in Tennessee, the “Bible in Schools Act,” sponsored by Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, has passed the State Senate by a unanimous vote.
The bill authorizes the State Board of Education to create a non-sectarian high school course about the Bible and its impact on the world.
“Our government school teachers cannot constitutionally preach the Bible, but they can teach the Bible,” Herron said.
“I want students to study the greatest and most popular book in history. I want young people to understand how the Bible has enormously impacted literature, art, music, culture, history and politics. A Bible course will help students understand our culture and our highest and best values.”
Currently, 78 of Tennessee’s 95 counties do not have a single high school offering Bible courses. “There are school systems all over the state that are afraid to offer a course about the Bible because they’re afraid of being sued,” Herron said. “But the First Amendment does not require students to leave their Bibles at home, and the First Amendment does not require hostility to the Bible or faith.”
Prior to passage of the “Bible in Schools Act,” Herron and House sponsor Rep. Mark Maddox, D-Dresden, obtained an opinion from the state’s attorney general that the proposed legislation is constitutional. The attorney general commended the bill for going to “considerable lengths in order to comply with Supreme Court opinions on religious materials in public schools.’”
The bill is not exclusive, and it will not interfere with the few existing courses.
It will, however, make the Bible course a state-approved elective and no longer will school boards have to apply for a special course through the state Department of Education.
The “Bible in Schools Act” is scheduled to be heard by the full House today (Tuesday).

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