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. Augustine

    This message is probably more suited for those who call themselves believers here. You know, I'm a Christian–actually in seminary to become a pastor–but I have to say that this is a bad idea. It seems like a lot of Conservative Christians are terrified of the State pushing religion out of schools, but I honestly think that separation of Church and State is a good thing. Not because it necessarily frees the State from religion, but because it frees religion from the influence of the State. You cannot systematically and abstractly 'teach' the Bible. Sure, you can discuss the historical/sociological/etc. aspects of it, but that's not really teaching it. It is a religious book, not a textbook. You could learn every word of it and still not really know what it is saying (even the Bible says that). On top of that, who would a public school hire to teach a class like that? Serious Bible scholars spend nearly eight years of their life in school (assuming they went to seminary after their undergraduate). Districts are not going to hire someone with a Master of Divinity to only teach one class, they want to get their money's worth out of the folks they employ. So, they're more than likely just going to hire a history teacher or something who claims to be a Christian or maybe just the guy who helps coach special teams in the fall once the season is over. You won't get to pick who will teach your children, the State will, and you have no clue what that person will teach. I can tell you from experience that there are plenty of people who teach Bible classes in schools throughout the country who get a kick out of trashing student's faith in Scripture (Bart Ehrman comes to mind). Seriously, think about it. You really don't want that. If you really want your kid to know the Bible, then take them to a good church where its actually taught (not some church that goes through "Become a better person in 30-days" books every week).

    Anyway, all I'm trying to say is that it seems like so many believers are desperate just to have something spiritual in the schools, but they have no idea what that will entail. And, if this is only about getting God back into schools like in mammy and pappy's day you will never get that back, a little thing called post-modernism took care of that for you. If you want Christ in the schools, then how about teaching them the Bible at home instead of passing the buck. Teach them to live it out in their lives on a day-to-day basis. That is true Christianity, not putting a book in front of them and telling them to memorize a bunch of facts (like a Pharisee).

    ...Oh yeah, one more thing, I think its pretty ridiculous to think that God was somehow kicked out of the schools. Seriously, that's just hard to fathom. We believe he created the universe and everything in it yet somehow we managed to give him the boot from a school? How about teaching your kids to see God in everything like math or science or literature? He's in there too, after all, he made them too. Nothing is secular to God...Sorry for the soap-box.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  2. FizzixFan

    Oh good...

    If only they had a chapter on inbreeding...

    February 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  3. JazzyJim

    We don't ask our churches to teach science, lets leave the faith teaching to Sundays in YOUR own place of worship where ever that might be. Don't bring me the God of a Moron like George W. Bush – I have no respect for that one.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  4. y-r-u-scared

    In reading many of the comments posted thus far, I cannot help but feel that there is an overall fear of allowing the Bible to be used in public schools as a teaching tool. No one said that they are asking for the preaching of the Bible. Use the Bible in courses like history or literature. Allow the Kuran and other other literary works too. Are we not allowed the freedom to think for ourselves and to decide our own viewpoints? I really wonder if those that comment against allowing the Bible in schools, have ever read any of the Bible. Why the fear?

    February 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I am not a lawyer but my understanding is that the bible, and other books of tribal mythology, may be taught/discussed as literature and/or within a comparitive religion class. It may not be taught as fact. I don't think the propoents of this bill want the bible open to question – they want it accepted as fact, so I believe the bill will be deemed illegal, if it actually becomes law.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • JazzyJim

      Keep your religion to yourself. Indoctrination is happening in the bible belt via Jesus Camp and Young Republicans and Liberty College and the TV Evangelical con-men. These are not positives for our society – they are detriments. Your religious dogma is not mine. My Lord is intelligent. G.W. Bush's a moron.

      February 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  5. Raj Kumar

    I congratulate Kentucky legislators. Good work. Best wishes from India.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • InFormed

      Maybe they should throw in a few Indian gods as well. May as well keep the fairy tales culturally balanced.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  6. JW

    My kids were taught all the names and functions of gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome, taught that we evolved and were not created, were taught to value and celebrate witchcraft in Harry Potter and a plethora of books that comprise a surprisingly large percentage of school libraries. It seems that every religion and philosophy is acceptable to read about, discuss and study. EXCEPT Christianity. They were taught that God and Jesus must never be mentioned at all in songs, speech, and in any subject in the schools. How biased and PREJUDICED is that??? And don't give me separation of Church and State. Ban those aforementioned religions from the schools and then you can say there is true separation of church and state. But if you are going to teach about witchcraft and gods and goddesses, don't keep banning the Bible.
    Go Kentucky!! You are a pioneer in common sense to have done this, and I hope all the states follow suit. After all, why not EDUCATE OUR STUDENTS, and not leave out the most influential book in all of history–the Bible. In my opinion, the students are hungry for this knowledge. Let's at least let them be exposed to it, since they are being exposed to everything else. At least the Bible is a book of love and hope. Maybe it will help our young people not begin to use drugs, commit suicide and engage in other self-destuctive activities by the time they are in middle school. Expose them to it, and they can choose to do whatever they want to do with the knowledge they gain from it. It actually teaches them to not do destructive things, to be kind and love others as they love themselves. Anyway, it will be better than dead gods and goddesses and witchcraft–casting spells and curses on others. What hope and love is there in THAT for our precious kids???!!!

    February 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • InFormed

      Come on, there is an obvious difference, when people talk about 'teaching' the bible in school it is never from a historical or factual basis (i.e. the 'bible' as most people know it was 'created' in 338 BC by Emperor Constantine and has nothing to do with the original book as defined in the old testament)) rather it is 'taught' as some sort of fact based reference book, which it is clearly not.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • JazzyJim

      You can teach idiocy at home. It seems to be working out well for the Republican Party so far. Why waste my child's time being brainwashed by Jesus Camp morons?

      February 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Augustine

      You do know that J.K. Rowling is a Christian, right? Harry Potter is full of Christian themes (Yes, I'm aware there are witches in it), its just in the form of allegory. The Chronicles of Narnia also taught that there was a magical closet that sent kids to another world with talking animals and mythical creatures (but that's OK, right?) All truth is God's truth.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  7. Martin

    What do students need to learn to function in the global economy of ideas? Math? Yes! Established scientific theory? Yes! Literature from a broad range of cultures? Yes! History of major civilizations? Yes! This is what state legislators should be concerned with – not the specific curriculum or materials used in the classroom. If they are so concerned about that, they should work for the Dept of Ed in their state instead. If the Bible, Billy Budd, Brothers Karamazov, Bhagavad Gita or Voyage of the Beagle meet the requirements for learning that educators demand, so be it. Leave the educating to the educators!!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  8. John

    Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states
    "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the
    Christian religion."

    "Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on
    man...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the
    teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the
    first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus." -Thomas Jefferson

    "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter."

    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    The founders of this nation new christianity to be a sham why can't everyone else figure that out?

    February 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  9. Peregrine

    Heinz M and others – you are absolutely right. Children should not be taught any books of literature, history, or philosophy! All such books should be barred from school. What good is Shakespeare? Just a bunch of nonsense written by an imperfect man. Or, if they read any books at all (other than math of science books), they should NOT be 1) widely-read, 2) cited by large numbers of influential thinkers or historic leaders, or 3) significant to the development of Western civilization. It would be very dangerous if our students were exposed to such works!

    February 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Corwin7

      I'll agree with you when you "significant" leaders start quoting shakespear as justification for enslaving, torturing, persecuting, or actually burning alive other human beings as has happened in instances too numerous to mention with the bible.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  10. big mack

    religion is the fault of man kind itself

    February 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  11. izuba

    May the remaining 49 United States follow in the path of Kentucky's !!!

    February 22, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • InFormed

      Right back to the Stone Age.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  12. izuba

    This is a refreshing and encouraging article!
    Supposed to be a good thing and so many bitter & angry comments posted by Bible haters (you all should read the Bible to get you out of that funk!!) ...how about all you who do not believe in the Bible, why don't you go create your own private athieistic school – where you can teach about anything but Christian principles and see how far that takes your children... schools in America were first taught and created by Christians (not Muslims or Buddists, etc).
    If you travel overseas to underdeveloped countries, many schools are built in remote places by Christian misisonaries, organizations, and companies. I have NEVER seen "non-Christian anyone" do anything for the good of our world- or reach out a helping hand- or start relief organizations or ANYTHING wothwhile – most are caught up trying to fight against Christianity and have sat around selfishly and have done nothing to contribute to our global society... so bring that Bible back and let us rise up an army of Christians!!
    May our children, and their children's children be brought up with the "good news"!!
    If my children never grasp math or never become a rocket scientist; but have the love and compassion for humanity and care for orphans and widows in this world – he and she are far better off....and have already done this in their young life by contributing to those suffering in Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, England, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and in the USA!
    !!!!!!!!!!!BRING THAT BIBLE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Face

      You should try to bite your ear, while holding your hand about stomach high. 😛

      Please read more on the history of this country and its founding fathers beliefs before you say any more stupid comments.
      Oh and "atheists" ARE helping out in the red cross or food banks, or wherever....(like me) they just wont say anything about it because they will be burned at the stake, or mocked or told to leave, when the others find out what their beliefs are.

      Why not teach a healthy dose of science/biology in church? is it too hard to understand or change your beliefs when seeing evidence that suggests otherwise??

      Keep religion out of public schools and stop priming children's minds when they are too young to think for themselves!!

      February 22, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Um...

      They already have those...they're called public schools. They've been that way for a pretty long time.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Universalist

      Friend, we are not bible haters. In this country we have specific laws seperating church and state so all citizens are free to choose what path they follow. When the government starts teaching one religion it is a clear violation of that principle. If you want the bible to make a come back do so in the correct forums; public school is not that forum. As for your idea about religous based schoos systems, perhaps it would be to your benifit to check in your local area for one that fits your needs since it is clear the public system cannot do so. I assure you I have done the same. My children are taught the values my family holds to, and I wish only the same for all families.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Corwin7

      I have read the bible thank you very much...perhaps instead of reading one opinion and insisting your the only one that's right you might consider studying a few others for some perspective on how religion has evolved for the last 100,000 years or so. I know I know...you won't...but I can't help but offer.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  13. Jeepers

    I bought a children's bible for my son when he was born and he went through a phase where he read that thing every day. That was years ago. Last night he talked about a lot of those stories. He still remembered them despite the fact that we aren't religious at all and don't go to church. I think it's as important to learn those as Greek mythology is. As long as it's taught from an academic perspective, maybe it's ok. There's a fine line, of course. The problem is that so many people still believe that stuff is true and I wouldn't want one of those people teaching my child about bible stories any more than I'd want someone who worships the Greek gods teaching Greek mythology.

    February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  14. fred bazzeeda

    What happened to separation of church and state?
    Anyway, as pointed out in other postings on this board, there isn't much faith in their own church to teach their propaganda to their own masses that they need states sponsored preaching???

    February 22, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  15. Heinz M

    I find it a relief to know that death will be like going to sleep and never waking, dreamlessly. Just looking at the garbage being displayed just on this one page, being forced in an afterlife to be continuously exposed to this type of stupidity, now THAT would be hell!!! 😉

    February 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Um...

      They need "like" buttons on this forum.

      February 22, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  16. Heinz M

    Organizing and teaching stupidity, obviously much more important than subjects that would help individuals to live a better life, and for the USA to obtain citizen that can, by being successful, help the USA not to slip even further behind, scientifically and economically.
    The waste of time is not only disgusting and futile, but totally reminiscent of Islam's use of schools to make plenty of enthusiastic suicide vest wearers.
    And with that the human race does not rise to a very possible rousing crescendo to its spirit, but to expire in a quiet gurgling sigh. Pity. So much potential damned to go to waste.

    February 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  17. Nah...

    Does HTML work on these boards? Just a little test.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Nah...

      Guess I found my answer.

      February 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  18. grady

    A Make-Believe-Guy-In-The-Sky. This is what we teach in our schools? Not math or (gasp) science?

    February 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • ANooYawkuh

      The book is considered important by many. We should also teach other important books, such as the Koran and Sid Vicious: No One Is Innocent.

      February 22, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • richard

      shut your mouth if you don't believe in God what the point of learning math or science if your gonna die anyway? Why not just steal money and stuff.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Justsaying

      Offered, not required...

      February 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Laura


      Are you saying that if you do believe in God (not any God, just yours?) that you're in fact NOT going to die anyway? Boy are you in for a real shocker.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  19. Laura

    Fine by me. But I'll also expect them to start teaching math and english in church. Maybe I'll call my congressman and ask for that bill.

    February 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Raj Kumar

      Hi Laura, they teach yoga in your public schools. Occult has become rampant among students. Then why not Bible which uplifts people around the globe.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • FizzixFan

      Amen Laura!

      Also, I couldn't reply to Raj directly, but I'd like to say the following:

      -Yoga does not equal religion
      -I would hardly say the occult is "rampant"
      -The Bible recommends a whole lot of killing people and occult-like rituals. Maybe that uplifts some people, but like Laura, I find that I am uplifted by things that are both logical and verifiably true...things such as science and mathematics.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Laura

      Hi Raj,

      My daughter attended a public school in Ky for 6 years, never took or was offered a yoga class (which is a pity because it is great exercise and our kids could definitely use more of that) and never encountered any of the rampant occult worshippers you're talking about.

      If the public schools are going to teach religion, then they better be teaching about them all. Even at the Catholic school my daughter now attends they learn about Islam and other religions of the world.

      February 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  20. whatever

    I love the big bag of Red Man chew behind Bowen at 1:32... Kentucky.

    February 20, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Neverquit

      Geez, we're fighting the Taliban all over the globe, yet our own American Taliban is operating comfortably right here in the USA with tax advantages no less!

      February 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
About this blog

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.