February 11th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

Kentucky Senate passes bill to teach Bible classes in public schools

From CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY

Frankfort, Kentucky - Bible classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools under a bill that's made it halfway through Kentucky's legislature.

State Senator Joe Bowen wants Kentucky public school students to have an opportunity to take classes about the Bible.

"No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it's had so much influence on our society and all of western civilization," Bowen said. Last year, former State Senator David Boswell introduced the same bill. It passed the Senate, but died in the house. Bowen defeated Boswell last November.

Read the full story from CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Education • Kentucky • United States

soundoff (1,056 Responses)
  1. Rationalist

    The bible means nothing to me and it was people like this who drove me away from all religion, but especially Christianity. How about you go to church to learn about religion and not a publicly funded school? For the record, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." That means that the government CANNOT endorse any religion or make any laws that endorse any kind of religion (like teaching it in a public school for anything other than for its historical value); but it also says you are free to practice religion in your own life freely. Religion is becoming more and more toxic to society as time goes on. The founding fathers recognized this through their experience with the church of England and tried to prevent those problems over here

    February 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Rationlist you said: For the record, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
      then you said: That means that the government CANNOT endorse any religion or make any laws that endorse any kind of religion (like teaching it in a public school for anything other than for its historical value);
      Actually what that means is CONGRESS shall make no law.....! Congress is not involved here. Yet overtime, the restrictions originally placed upon the CONGRESS has slowly been placed on ANY form of government to include state and local! Now I will say this: Chances are good that this will be thrown out. Why? Because some over-reach the meaning of that phrase! !

      February 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. DawkinsFan4Life

    I guess now that Kentucky has taught its kids all it can about math and science, why not improve the language arts and social studies programs by teaching this particular line of mythology?

    February 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Thomas Jones

    I agree with Pumbaa. Keep Religous Studies in the Literature Section. It is based on old myths but worthwhile reading but people that try to earn a buck from it saying it is the honest to God truth are uneducated. They should go to college and learn the truth about the myths not the hype.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Darkwolf

    Looks to me like a clever way for the State to boost attendance to their (Taxpayer-funded) Noah's Ark Amusement Park.
    Train lots of little Christian Talibangelists through the week, and they'll clamor to get more indoctrination on the weekends.
    Sheesh !

    February 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  5. Norm38

    Go design a computer chip using physics that says the Earth is 6000 years old or the Earth goes around the sun. You can't!
    China is going to overtake us in every field as they teach science and math while the American Taliban drags us back to the 7th century and destroys all progress for their failed ideology.
    The reason the Bible can't be taught in public schools is that a literal interpretation of the bible is incompatible with reality. But if you say that, the fundies freak out. So the Bible will be presented as literal truth, and an entire generation will be raised believing that miracles fall out of the sky as they slowly starve to death.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • InFormed

      Right on.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  6. Anthony Faulise

    If the schools do as good a job with the Bible as they do with math, science, reading, and writing, we have nothing to fear.

    February 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  7. Keith

    Very delicate tight rope KY would have to walk to pull this off. They can actually get away with teaching "The Bible as Literature", but they can't get away with teaching the "Bible as Religion". Of course if they approve teaching "The Bible as Literature", then they expose themselves to huge lawsuits when some teacher is sure to cross the line.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  8. Sarah Caldwell

    The first time a teacher says what the kids or parents don't believe or offers options to satisfy two kids who don't agree the principal's phone will ring off the hook. Politicians are supposed to make life less contentious by seeking compromise. Unless Joe Bowen's plan was to destroy public schools, he's the dumbest man in America.

    February 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Jason G.

    Funny how almost every post I ever read, that has anything to do with or even mentions something religious, turns into a debate about whether God is real or not instead of actually focusing on the issue mentioned. I am a Christian who actually does not believe merging Church and State is a good idea. This issue of bible classes taught in public schools may seem like a battle won for Christianity here in the U.S., but things like this could eventually have negative impact. What if government decides it wants a greater say in our religious lives since we were so desperate to integrate it?, instead of promoting a "neutral" role? Here are a few questions to ask yourselves:

    1. First, there are between 33,820- to over 100,000 estimated Christian denominations that exist in the world today, which one do you choose to teach and who determines the cirriculum?
    2. Is mixing government and religion a good idea? Think Iran or other religious controlled governments. What if you do not respond to their version of religious beliefs or perspectives? Is a religous government or neutral government better?
    3. Republicans/conservatives often mention that it is wrong to teach evolution in schools because they believe it takes away choice, that cirriculum should remain neutral. How is it OK then to integrate biblical teaching, when evolution is already considered a supposed violation of the "neutrality" idea? Do two wrongs make a right?

    February 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Teach this fact;
    Az-Zumar sura 39:
    If Allah had willed to choose a son, He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created. Be He glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute. (4). (http://www.openburhan.net/ob.php?sid=39&vid=4)

    February 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  11. Muneef

    All the science that human knowledge has reached about the creation of the universe,heavens and Earth is nothing but a drop of water out of an oceans of knowledge that human science yet not has yet reached !!
    "Say (O Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to mankind). 'If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought (another sea) like it for its aid.'" [Surah al-Kahf 18:109 – interpretation of the meaning]

    And He also says:

    "And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is AllMighty, AllWise." [Surah Luqman 31:27 – interpretation of the meaning]

    As-Sajda sura 32:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. Then He mounted the Throne. Ye have not, beside Him, a protecting friend or mediator. Will ye not then remember? (4) He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5) Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful, (6).

    Al-Hajj sura 22:
    And they will bid thee hasten on the Doom, and Allah faileth not His promise, but lo! a Day with Allah is as a thousand years of what ye reckon. (47).

    February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Muneef

      The question here is;
      Was the whole creation made at seven days of God dates or of what we reckon??
      Seven Days or Seven Thousand Years?  
      Al-Hajj sura 22: a Day with Allah is as a thousand years of what ye reckon. (47).
      As-Sajda sura 32: He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5).

      February 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      Can science with all it's mathematics work out what those trying to explain by time difference?
      Al-Maarij sura 70:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      A questioner questioned concerning the doom about to fall (1) Upon the disbelievers, which none can repel, (2) From Allah, Lord of the Ascending Stairways (3) (Whereby) the angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day whereof the span is fifty thousand years. (4) But be patient (O Muhammad) with a patience fair to see. (5) Lo! they behold it afar off (6) While we behold it nigh: (7).

      February 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • hehe

      I use the koran as toilet paper just so ya know.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  12. Cedar Rapids

    Bowen said...'This bill ensures it will be about education, not indoctrination."
    Yeah, ok, I'm calling you a liar on this Bowen. Seeing as you also said that technically the schools can already have a class on this anyway why do you need to make it official?
    And unless you decide to include any other religious texts that have 'had so much influence on our society and all of western civilization' including the Koran, which is most certainly having a major effect of our world today, then you are basically trying to teach christianity in class.
    And what sort of class will it be? critical thinking that will look at the bible and then put it in its proper historical context? or will it be the 'true and accurate word of god'?

    February 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • and for extra credit

      Find at least 10 places in the Bible where various passages contradict each other.

      Is God schizophrenic or forgetful, or were there men who started out wanting to improve the moral norms of their societies and ended up playing God because said societies would not listen otherwise?

      February 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • InFormed

      I have one.

      1) Thou shalt not commit murder
      1) The 'great flood' (as per the Noah myth) that committed genocide.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  13. Roelof

    The western world lives by norms and values that come from Judaism/Christianity/Modern Humanism and Greek philosophy. It should be taught or offered, so people understand our society better.

    February 15, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  14. DaFuzz

    I have no problem with information about the bible being taught....as long as it is taught in an informational way and not a conversion way. The catch is that I think ALL religious 'bibles' should be taught (within reason). Understanding the different religions can be enlightening even if you don't practice that religion. It allows you to understand the people more who do practice it. I worked with a guy who had a degree in religions and knew things about religions I never heard of. It was fascinating to learn from him. Learning the Qur'an can help people understand the philosophical differences between Christianity and Islam. Does not mean I want to convert the kids to Islam.
    The politicians need to be reminded of the separation of church and state.

    February 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  15. Magic

    The One True Steve

    "So from reading the posts, none of the pro-God folks have any faith in their Churches or the parents (including themselves) ability to teach their children about whatever God they choose."

    Yes, exactly, Steve. Bravo!

    (these posts are landing haphazardly all over the board - so you get to have a double Bravo!... just to make sure)

    Apparently its up to the government to teach children about God.

    February 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Religulous


      It is ironic that these are the very people who are constantly whining that government should stay out of their lives so that they can keep their machine guns, their gluttonous diets, their healthcare-free lifestyles, and their hatred towards those different from them.

      But why not let them continue down this path of ignorance, sloth and hate. The rest of the world will leave them behind, and they can just wallow in poverty in their trailer park homes. Darwin will eventually take care of them.

      I on the other hand will continue to be gainfully employed in a high six figure job, and enjoy all of the benefits of living in a beautiful, intellectually- and spiritually-free, multi-cultural coastal city. Those are the rewards that come with a higher education and an open mind.

      February 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • InFormed

      Except that they breed like rabbits and they will eventually out breed everyone else. I bet Darwin never saw that one coming.

      February 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Magic

      Hehheh, yeah, after you watch "Religulous", watch "Idiocracy", where intelligent people are eventually bred out - oy!

      February 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  16. matt n.

    whats the big deal public schools have been reading and teaching about works of fiction for years.

    February 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • InFormed

      True, but the difference is that they want to try to teach you that the magic beans in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' are actually real and you can even buy them on line.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  17. The One True Steve

    So from reading the posts, none of the pro-God folks have any faith in their Churches or the parents (including themselves) ability to teach their children about whatever God they choose.

    Apparently its up to the government to teach children about God. The those who said wouldn't it be great if they taught all religions? That is not the case with this legislation, it is a Christian only based law. Besides that, if you have ever looked up anything on different religions, there are so many, it would be impossible to teach all the variations.

    If that is the case, then what is the point of Church and Sunday School? Wouldn't a Church be the most qualified?

    February 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  18. mykiey

    Logic & reasoning tells me that God is a sham, and that religion only breeds ignorance.

    February 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Muneef

      Logic and Reasoning ?? I wonder where your science got that from as a base for all that Theoretical Logic and Reasoning being built? Logic and Reasoning is for men and not to God who just says to it be and it becomes as ordered....

      February 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • fishfry001

      @Muneef: Nice fantasy you've got going there.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • billnold

      A 7-limbed person is the result of the world being cursed because of mankind's sin. God is very real and holy. The world today is both beautiful and at the same time hideous. Fron the perspective of etenity, it is the worst that those who are trusting in Christ to pay for their sins will ever endure. For the rest, including those who have their own solutions for appeasing God or are angry with him and are trying to convince themselves that he doesn't exist, they will spend the rest of eternity looking back at their short time on earth as being the "good old days" .

      February 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Zambetti

      That is the single most intelligent thing I have ever read on a blog in my life.

      February 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • thanks billnold

      For calling an innocent and unfortunate kid a curse for the great sin of having been born.

      If God prefers to show His displeasure at sinners by making innocent kids and animals suffer (firstborns and cattle come to mind), then what must Lucifer be capable of? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

      February 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • InFormed

      Religion has been and always will be a form of control designed to keep people from the truth because the truth is its one true enemy. So long as it can keep shifting the blame for past historical evils to others, then it's true nature will never be shown. Religion is full of contradictions (Don't kill, but it's OK to commit genocide). They are there to show you it's true nature.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  19. Muneef

    Although not sure he a has a soul or Two??

    February 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  20. Muneef

    Boy with seven limbs:
    Are those signs to mankind from God to mean some thing or nature telling us that there is some thing wrong with the way we are living,the medication we take,the pollution and corruption to fresh clean air to breath,earth we feed from,pure clean drinking waters from (rain,rivers,springs,groundwaters),salt waters (seas and oceans).
    What do we expect in return but to change with it from generation to other.
    Thank you God for that you gave us and made us realize how lucky we were tobe normal and no one pointing and laughing at while you cry your life out as the boy in the picture...may God have mercy on his soul.

    February 14, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Serenade

      There have been occurrences of multi-limbed persons for a very long time. It's simply genetic.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:25 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.