Kentucky public schools can now offer Bible literacy courses

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Public schools in Kentucky now have the option to teach Bible courses in public schools.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 128 into law Tuesday, giving local school boards the option to create Bible literacy classes as a part of a school’s social studies curriculum.

Any courses under the new law would be electives, not requirements.

“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy,” Bevin said at the signing ceremony. “I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this.”

But not everyone is embracing the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky told WDRB that it will be closely monitoring how the law is used by school boards.

“A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation,” ACLU advocacy director Kate Miller said.

Rep D.J. Johnson, who supports the bill, tried to reassure critics about its legality.

“As long as we’re careful with the curriculum itself, there won’t be any constitutional issues,” he told WDRB. “And we’ll do that.”

Johnson also said the Bible’s role in American history can help students understand the country’s founding documents.

“It really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” he said. “All of those came from principles from the Bible.”

Miller said the ACLU will make sure that’s all the the courses will do.

“We want to make sure that teachers can teach and make sure that they don’t go in to preach,” Miller said.

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