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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. mike

    Why is it this country that was founded on Christain teaching do we want to be little our Faith. The other parts of the world remian faithful to the law and doctrines even if we thinks its right or wrong but here in this country the majority would like to dismiss any kind of spirtiual deity. This country better wake up before we are over powered by a ritiual we want like. I say teach it maybe that student will grow up beleiving it is wrong to kill and rod and murder others because he or she does not like what they stand for.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Godless

      @ Mike: It seems to me you should've spent more time in english class.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  2. Steve

    What is the problem? This Bible class will obviously be an elective. It won't be something the students have to take, rather something they can choose with their own free will. Hm. Sounds a lot like choice for salvation. Seriously, people ... what are you so afraid of? Conviction? Maybe that's what we need in our schools...

    February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  3. cory

    This is insane. If the state wants to require a religion class where the stutdents learn the key elements and beliefs of the worlds major religions I am all for that. I had a required religion class in high school and it has been one of the best classes I have ever taken. If our children know what a Muslim believes tor a Jew or a Hindu then it allow them to embrace the world around them rather than shoving there nose in a bible and having tunnel vision. They may even find that the other religion speak to them more effectively that Christianity. I am a Christian and I do not want my daughter reading the bible in school unless she is learning about Christianity along with the other worlds religions. Bible study is for church or in the home. Wake up this world is only getting smaller. Bowen is a nut, and shame on him for trying to force his beliefs on other people. I love how he has the balls to say that the bible is most important book ever written. I wonder how any non Christian would feel about that? Also he points out the influence on Western culture. There are Christians in the east no?

    February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  4. Jason McLane

    I think if you have a bible class you should have a Koran class, etc. Or just a comparative religon class. The only problem I have with the bible is when they try to include it in my science classes. In Indiana the taught evolution in one sentence, because they were afraid to make someone angry. And this was only 17 years ago. Evolution was "Evolution is a THEORY that shows animals can change over time". This was in an AP Biology class. They had not gone over it before, luckily I taught myself during 7th grade. John we all aren't from Cali. I am in Illinois.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  5. alan

    The dumbing down of America!
    Religion will destroy our country through the de-education of America.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  6. Stuart

    Kentucky the bible and in Utah it's the Book of Mormon. The dumbing down of America continues.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  7. Andy

    I wonder how far a bill allowing the teaching of the Koran would make it. Or allowing the teaching of atheism. Freedom of religion goes both ways

    February 11, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Truth

      The Bible is the most influential literature for Western civilization. The Quran, not so much. And by the way....it's Quran...not Kuran.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  8. WVlady63

    Thank goodness somebody has finally stood up for morality! We live in a society where people want to do anything they want to do no matter who gets hurt and if you oppose them, YOU ARE THE CRIMINAL. Where parents do not teach children right from wrong and when children get into trouble, parents want to blame everyone else BUT themselves. Americans for the most part have taken Christ and Christianity out of their lives. Taking Christ out of society invites the Devil in! In the absence of light, DARKNESS PREVAILS!!!! HOORAY FOR KENTUCKY!!! Hopefully this will spread to the other 49 states!!!!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • conradshull

      When students discuss the content of the Bible, will they talk about the utter preposterousness of so much of the Old Testament? As for HS Bible classes increasing morality, aren't KY youngsters already pretty much enveloped by Christian religion already? Has it helped? And, how are KY students doing in Reading, Composition, Math, Science and History these days?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Bob from VA

      Get back in your doublewide, goober.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  9. Ian Adkins

    I'm a seminary student, at MLK's alma mater, taking a class on the quatercentenary of the KJV. Apart from the religious content, the history of the Bible in English is fascinating, and the KJV–along with Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer–have arguably made modern English what it is. I think high school students could handle it. I do not, however, trust high school teachers to present the Bible or the KJV in academic fashion. It's best left to college professors with advanced degrees in the subject.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Bob from VA

      This would not be an academic class. This would be Sunday School dressed up as a high school class.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  10. MEHALKO

    Whether you want to agree or not, people and education were EXTRAORDINARILY better when the Bible was in school. Ever since 1962 when it was removed, THAT"S when things got worse with morals and intelligence. I pray for all the blind fools on here. This is what NEEDS to be done to fix part of the problem in this country, but of course it won't because Jesus is returning soon and what has been written WILL be fulfilled. The decay of the world we live in MUST occur so REPENT now!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • guest

      Could not of said it better myself. Amen.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Horse

      Your suppositions are unsupported and your conclusions are delusional. That is what religion does to people.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Ron

      If Jesus died for everyone already, there's no real motivation to meet Him, as the bill has already been paid.  If one still has to repent for sins, then the bill wasn't paid or resurrecting bounced the check.

      February 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  11. Truth

    There hasn't been a book that's had more influence on a nation or all of western civilization than the Bible, so it makes perfect sense that classes are offered about it.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Magic

      Truth

      "There hasn't been a book that's had more influence on a nation or all of western civilization than the Bible"

      Ok, so cover that segment of it in History class. Presenting the contents of the book as facts and encouraging belief in them is not honest.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  12. AnnieM

    Only if it is taught along with all the other "holy" texts.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  13. gregg

    Christianity is a virus that parents intentionally give their children. Once in place, then a heavy load of guilt is tacked on to keep it there.

    If anyone thinks the Muslim religion or any other religion is brainwashing, What would you call forcing your child to learn about Christianity?

    February 11, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Gustavo

      You spoke out of a lost mind. You sir need Jesus.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • guest

      Oh Greg what a shame you feel this way

      February 11, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • ...Really?

      I understand what you mean, Gregg. However, while annoying, there is a lot less wrong with being forced to LEARN about a religion than there is to be forced to BELIEVE in a religion. When dealing with young children, there isn't much of a difference though.. why would a small child think to question their parent?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  14. Steve

    What if someone other than a christian is forced to take this class?? This is the reason there is separation of church and state. If the Quran was forced to be learned I'm sure there would be a problem. Being forced taught a religion is no different than the religious extremests forcing their religion on the world. Those in Kentucky will be no different. They are Christian extremists!!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Truth

      Nobody would be forced to take it. The class would be offered. Plus, there is not a book that has had more influence on Western civilization than the Bible.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • I'd say

      Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica written by Newton had a larger influence. Look at the technology around you and the way we actually live our daily lives. That book has more to do with it than the Bible.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Magic

      Truth,

      "Nobody would be forced to take it. The class would be offered."

      Will it be taught by volunteers? Will the books be purchased with students' own funds? Will rent and cost of running the facilities be paid by those partaking?

      If one dime of public money goes to this it is a violation of the separation of church and state.

      Teaching an overview of world religions, as history and philosophy and literature, is acceptable; but at the high school level this could be covered in less than a one-semester mini class.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  15. jhg

    Who is going to do the teaching? Jehovah's Witnesses are the only ones qualified.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  16. Mark

    @...Really?

    "I guess only time will fix this ignorance".

    NOT!!!. "God Haters" like yourself have been saying that for 2000 years, and it hasn't happened yet. Psssst.......a little clue.......it's God's Holy Word and he's preserved it and will continue to do so.

    You are so typical. The irony is that the Bible has so much to say about folks like yourself. The book of 1 Corinthians is full of references to people just like you.

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". 1 Corinthians 1:18

    "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached (the Gospel) to save those who believe (in Jesus Christ)". 1 Corinthians 1:20-22

    "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit". 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

    @Hot Air Ace....

    I couldn't agree more. "I hope this becomes law and.......our schools become places of learning again".

    February 11, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Steve

      Guess what, it's a make believe guy in the sky, don't force your fake man on the rest of us!

      February 11, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Truth

      @ Steve,

      Who is forcing God on you? Lol. Ignore it if you don't believe it. Don't ignorantly bash those who do.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Andy

      The only place the bible has in school is in a comparative religion class. While it is useful to learn about the origin and theories of religion, teaching it as fact does nothing but take away from real learning.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • guest

      Amen. We need the Bible back into our America and anywhere else in the world it can manage to be taught. I am a firm beliver of the King James and perhaps those who are insulting the Bible is either afraid of what they have become or perhaps they do not understand how to read the Bible.

      You people who condemn the Word of the Bible better look hard and long at yourselves.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • graceonfire

      I agree with you, Mark. What gets me is, atheists seem to think somehow that their action of denying God is somehow so new and forward thinking (it's not). Also, they don't see that their obvious bitterness and anger just isn't much of a draw to follow their line of reasoning. They don't seem to understand that God cannot be reduced to an intellectual argument. I know my personal belief is, well, personal. While we are on the subject, it is highly amusing to me that the non-believers look for every article and argument related to God, to reaffirm their lack of belief in Him. They can't stop talking so passionately about the God they can't believe in, yet they cannot let go of Him. God or anti-God, He's there. As for the Bible class in question, I don't know what the athiests are so scared of, it's not mandatory. Just like believing in God is not mandatory. That's free will for you!

      February 11, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Gyango

      Tide comes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication!

      Right , Mark?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • ...Really?

      @ Mark : Oh boy, where to start... Time has not fixed this ignorance yet because science has only been capable of thoroughly disproving the bible in recent years. Evolution discovered in the late 1800's, the big bang theory was established in the early 1900's, cars are invented in early 1900's, carbon dating was invented in the 1940's, cosmic background radiation discovered in the mid 1900's, people landed on the moon in the 1960's... I think my point is clear. Knowledge is exponential, and practically everything we know about anything was discovered in the much later part of the last 2000 years. Cause, ya know, there wasn't any worth while science 2000 years ago. That's why people needed religion.

      @Graceonfire : Atheists are bitter and angry? You don't say. Here is a bit of one of Richard Dawkin's speeches, it pretty much sums up our frustration:
      "However, is there a time when it is right to be offended? I think so, yes. We should be offended when children are denied a proper education. We should be offended when children are told they will spend an eternity in hell. We should be offended when medical science, for example stem cell research, is compromised by the bigoted opinions of powerful, and above all, well-financed ignoramuses. We should be offended when voodoo of all kinds is given equal weights to science."
      Religion is an evil thing at its heart. Sure you have good people who are religious, but I promise you they don't follow their holy book word for word. And as far as I'm concerned, no matter what religion you are, if you do not follow your gospel verbatim, you are NOT part of that religion.
      I feel this quote is completely relevant: "Good people do good things, and bad people do bad things, but religion causes good people do do bad things."
      You say "God can't be reduced to an intellectual argument"... LOL. So, if he can't be reduced to an intellectual one.. what does that leave?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  17. Gyango

    I propose a bill to change the name of this country:
    T.S.A. : Theocratic States of America.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  18. JDB

    This *could* be a good thing...if kids do end up getting subjected to the Big Irrelevant Book of Lies and Exaggerations, they should be made to read it cover to cover. That's what made me an atheist.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • JBullets

      I agree. I was a believer until I actually studied the Bible. Sometimes you have to confront the absurdity in its entirety before you really come to grips with what you think you believed.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  19. Eric

    Great, now they are adding fiction to the science classes. Well, nothing like bringing the dark ages back.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  20. Ryan Giar

    Once again I am embarrassed to be from this state (as if the creation museum is not bad enough). Echoing the comments of others, why not force something useful on the students like math and science. Lots of career opportunities for these majors. Has anyone ever heard of applying for a religion job?

    February 11, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Person

      Couldn't agree more. This sends a smug, insulting message to non-Christians in the state and is strongly counter to the intentions of our nation's founders.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Frank B.

      There are positions available across the country for pastors, hospital chaplains, military chaplains. The jobs are there for individuals with the right training. I fail to understand the resistance toward giving students the option of going to a bible class. It would be optional, not forced upon them. And, the student would have the choice of choosing a faith or rejecting based on what they learned. Kind of like the freedom to choose one gas station over another.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • caradoc01

      Just one...catholic priest, but we all know those positions are all require classes in pedophilia and sodomy as well

      February 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Ryan Giar

      Perhaps "force" is not the right context. Still, there are better ways to use limited educational resources. Would Kentuckians support increasing their property taxes to pay for these optional religion classes?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • GoodGracious

      We too lived in KY for many years and watched our kids graduate from high school there. What about spending the time and money on PhysEd instead of religion? Our kids only had one semister of PE in high school and since they were involved with band no PE in elementry or middle school. What with the younger generation apparently having a weight problem and all. Just sayin'.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Tara

      Ryan as a born again Christian your greatest investment in life is your investment into eternity with our Lord and Saviour. Setting the stage for your life by having a career in medicine, teaching etc. is wonderful and is a financial investment but, once our day of judgement comes and Jesus walks the earth again, the only book you picked up that wil matter is the Bible. I pray to God that all of you who don't believe, that you read the word of God and know that the day of reckoning wil come. And for all that are non-believers and non-Christians who have been lead to go down a path that will deceive you toward other beliefs such as Scientology,that we derived from monkeys etc, that you read the word God and see that these are the exact works of the Devil, he wants you to be lead to these other beliefs. For anyone who has seen a child born and has no beliefs in God, all I can say is, "You are a fool". Children are a miracle from God, they come from no monkey!!

      February 11, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • MrHanson

      Well first of all it doesn't sound like it is mandatory, they aren't forcing it on you. It's no more a requirement than taking band, sports, or any other elective class. Also your comments are idiotic. I have a nephew who went to a private school run by the church an was required to take a bible study class. He recieved top honors in the state of Virigina for mathematics and science and is already taking college level physics at the age of 16. So this idea that if you study the bible either for spiritual, moral, historical, or cultural relevance makes one ignorant, is just plain idiotic. I'm sure their are public schools around the country that have classes on Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. and yet we never hear any complaints from our oh so more intelligent and enlightened athiests.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Evolution is a fact!

      Tara is a perfect example of the lack of educational standards which is what is wrong with our system. We need to spend more time explaining what is real and what is mythology. It is hard to believe how anyone can dispute evolution – it is a fact just like the earth is round and revolves around the sun. Only after generations of educating people did everyone finally accept the earth was round. Same here – eventually science will triumph over religion and end this nonsence! Religion is what is truly evil and oppressive!

      February 11, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Magic

      Tara,

      "read the word God"

      What proof do you have that the Bible is the 'word of God'?

      And your moronic, "we came from monkeys", speaks volumes to your lack of education.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Dan

      May God continue to bless you, Tara. Stand firm in your faith and don't let godless men (or women) sway you from your faith in Jesus Christ.

      BTW, evolution is not fact – it is (technically) a religion because it is something that is believed by faith.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • ...Really?

      @Dan : There is no physical proof for christianity outside of the bible. There is evidence all over the world in tons of different ways. Dan, Tara.. Try googling 'human primate chromosome telomere fusion' and educate yourself a little.

      February 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • ...Really?

      @Dan : There is no physical proof for christianity outside of the bible. There is evidence all over the world in tons of different ways for evolution. Dan, Tara.. Try googling 'human primate chromosome telomere fusion' and educate yourself a little.

      February 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Evolution is a fact!, You can believe you derived from apes, but all my relatives came from God. If you want, I'll say hello to your relatives at the zoo that didn't evolve.

      Fact is God made the apes. There are apes alive in the world today. So much for your evolution theory.,

      Job 38:19: "Where is THE WAY where light dwelleth?" How come Job didn't say where is THE PLACE where light dwelleth? Because light is always moving. How did Job know something in 1500 B.C. that science didn't find out until Einstein? How can the men who wrote that Amazing Book, with their limited scientific knowledge – BE SO FAR AHEAD OF SCIENCE?

      Ecclesiastes 1:6: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again ACCORDING TO HIS CIRCUITS." How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know the wind traveled within circuits? How did he know something that the aerologists and meteorologists are just now discovering? THINK ABOUT IT! How can these men, with their limited knowledge thousands of years ago, be so far ahead of science?

      Proverbs 6:6-8: "Go to the ant. . . gathereth her food in the harvest." Life's Nature Library "The Insects" (p.163) commenting on Proverbs 6 reads, "One of the entomological puzzles of the last century concerned this observation by Solomon. There was no evidence that ants actually harvested grain. In 1871, however, a British naturalist showed that Solomon had been right after all. . ." How did Solomon know that in 1000 B.C.? How did Solomon CLEARLY, detail a scientific FACT, that was IMPOSSIBLE for him to know in 1000 B.C.?

      February 13, 2011 at 5:35 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.