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. Weezil2012

    The addition of a bible studies course and not, per se, another math or science course is going to come back to bite them. I can only imagine the confusion when they say, "turn to 1 Corinthians 22:10... no, 22... it's the number after 21... it looks like two upside-down fives..." Ah, how we miss our math-educated students.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  2. Lopes Teixeira

    It will be that some religion must be imposed? in the Kentucky some people find that. The choice freedom is the only way for a democratic society that if wants civilized and.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • HeavenSent

      You've got this backwards. What's being imposed and has been imposed on you all along ... is the condition of being, staying a "non-believer". Talk about brainwashing.

      February 13, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  3. Christianwoman26

    I think this is a fantastic idea. One of the great things about it is that it will be OPTIONAL!!!! It's not like the school system will be forcing the students to take Bible classes. I believe that all this measure can do is strengthen the school system. I'm not sure why everyone sees this as a threat. Perhaps it's because atheist parents are afraid that their children will come home asking questions about the true and living God. I noticed a comment about how this class could never help you to get a job. This class would be for building a personal foundation, not career skills. If we looked at every class in school in terms of "it has to be able to help me get a job one day" then why do we teach about Shakespeare, or Greek mythology? I pray that this law passes and sets a precedent for other school districts.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • LivinginVA

      I have no problem with offering a Comparative Religions course. I have a problem with offering a Christian course.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      But is it OPTIONAL for me to have them spend MY tax dollars on this OPTIONAL course, when I don't want my tax dollars suporting any specific religion in the public schools?

      February 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  4. Christine

    Of course if there were publicly funded Christian schools like there are in Ontario, this wouldn't be an issue. We have public schools and public Catholic schools paid for by tax payers and we all get along just fine. Our Catholis schools have religion class as well as regular masses during the day at appropriate Christian holidays. Oops, we also teach evolution and the Bible in our schools at the same time, and no one complains. In fact, contrary to popular literalist opinion, evolution (science) and the Bible go nicely hand in hand, if one can accept the Bible is spiritual truth that was never meant to be a science, geology or natural history text book. God created the world and all natural processes, including evolution. Horrors!

    February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Christine, God did not create evolution and it is not a science. God did however, blind those that refuse to see and deafen those that refuse to hear. Evolution was written by non-believer trying to get people away from reading Jesus' truth. Isn't that amazing.

      Now, I would be curious to wonder why so many non-believers do not want you to read His wisdom and not this other non-believer babble that's all over the net. You folks are so keen on visiting those sites, try reading truth from Faith sites who know Truth from Fiction.

      February 13, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • glenn robert

      Could we get all the religious right to move to Ontario/

      February 24, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  5. Pointless1

    Faith means not wanting to know what is true. [Nietzsche]

    February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Weezil2012

      Even in my moustache, I will surpass Nietzsche – Salvadore Dali

      February 11, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  6. DrJStrangepork

    Religious Studies should be taught in school, but to concentrate it on one religion isn't correct. I am curious to know if they will be teaching how the Bible came to be not just the stuff in the Bible. There have been an ever going editorial process that the Bible has seen. Plus the Bible isn't just a book. It is a collection of books. Really studying the Bible is an intriguing topic, but I don't see how a public school in the US will do it properly.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Alex

      I have also wondered about this. I think this is where a faith specific opportunity would work well. This way no one faith is favored, but all have equal chance. As we know there are so many different Christian denominations. And perhaps a world religion course would prove beneficial? I do like your idea of having a class that teaches the history of the Bible, because there many who don't even get taught this at Church.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  7. San Diego

    Offered as an optional class, not in place of anything scholarly. How about a class in World Religions? Christianilty is not the only one. It would be VERY hard to get a University to accept this for credit towards basic competencies. @Mark. You are fool. Schools become places of learning again? When was the last time you spent any amount of time in a school seeing what is going on? Call your local elementary school and VOLUNTEER for a day. What the heck do you think they do there all day? Stop spouting conservative talking points and think for yourself. It may be painful but you can do it if you try.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  8. ab

    Religious beliefs are a personal thing, and bible studies should be done on your own time.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Alex

      It is called freedom of religion in the 1st amendment, not freedom of worship. What I mean is that it isn't right to try and confine someone's belief to Sunday or at their Church only. Everyone should have opportunities to do something like this no matter the faith. The only stipulation is that it should not be forced upon others. Someone's faith is a wonderful foundation for moral character.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. CRasch

    Who's "Bible" are they going to teach? Catholics? Protestant? Satanic?

    February 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Observer

      Good question. Which of the more than 20 different English versions of the Bible should be used since they don't all agree?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • john

      for the closest accuracy in the NT they should read the original Greek text which is non existent and wrote decades and hundreds of years after Jesus.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Steve the real one

      How chooses text books now? I am willing to leave that decision up to them? How about you?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • LivinginVA

      I vote for the Jefferson Bible. After all, it also incorporates the ideas of one of our Founding Fathers. (If you don't know, it basically tells the story of the New Testament without the "magic" – just, here was this really cool guy and what he said.)

      February 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  10. john

    The historical study of the bible is worth a class. It has such importance for western civilization. Not sure if this will be devotionally or historically geared class.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Alex

      Well, isn't that up to them? If all faiths are equally represented at the school, or have equal opportunity, it shouldn't matter what one does and what another doesn't do or say. That is the beauty of the 1st amendment.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • john

      Alex, i am an atheist, but I still think that the historical study of the bible is important. It is fascinating to see how all of the biblical myths are linked to other pagan myths. My historical bible study class was one of the most interesting ones I have taken.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Alex

      John, I agree with you about having a class that teaches the historical aspect of the Bible. What a great opportunity to learn about history in this area. The one thing I would say is that it would need to be an unbiased teacher, or one that is able to show both sides of the coin-Spiritual and Secular.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  11. cwampthing

    From what I could tell, the course is not "forced" on anyone, it is an elective.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  12. Alex

    This is a wonderful idea, just as long as other faiths have equal representation in the school as well. Teaching, not forcing religion is a key way to strengthen moral character without requiring laws to do so. If people feel that they are accountable to a higher power then they typically think twice before doing something. You may say that we just need moral character and not religion, but the truth is that moral character for the majority comes from a religious belief. I feel that we need both in order make things happen between those that are religious and those that are not. While the people who practice religion are not perfect and may do things that seem strange, those not of a religious persuasion have no right to say that religion has no purpose or reason to be heard in the public square. The majority of our justice system and government are founded on principles that come from Judeo-Christian ideas. Religion is wonderful, but ends up with a bad rap when people make a mistake and they are religious. My overall point is that both a religion of faith and a of secularism should be working together and not fighting.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • cwampthing

      From the previous comments I have been reading, those that do not believe say this: "Since I don't believe in anything higher than myself, you can't either."

      February 11, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  13. Ed

    Talk about cow dung for brains. It is not the most important book ever written. It is the worse book ever written and published. This religious crap needs to be stopped. These people voted to represent the people are getting more stupid all the time. They should be sure that little Johnny can read, write and add 2+2 instead of some religious propaganda filled full of myths and garbage.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Ghee Ed, one has to wonder why you fear the Lord. Could it be that He teaches wisdom?

      The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.

      Proverbs 9:10

      The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.

      Proverbs 1:7

      Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

      Proverbs 2:5

      Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

      Proverbs 3:7

      The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

      Proverbs 8:13

      The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.

      Proverbs 9:10

      He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but [he that is] perverse in his ways despiseth him.

      Proverbs 14:2

      A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

      Proverbs 14:16

      The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.

      Proverbs 15:33

      By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD [men] depart from evil.

      Proverbs 16:6

      The fear of the LORD [tendeth] to life: and [he that hath it] shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

      Proverbs 19:23

      And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.

      Job 28:28

      The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever.

      Psalms 111:10

      Just imagine Ed, what wisdom you would learn if you read the entire Bible?

      February 13, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • Muneef

      For the same reasons of fears they rejected reading all or any of the holy books including Quran!? You know why? It is because they want to live in their own make-believe refuting senses and reject it by means of pouring hatred towards those who believe faiths and beliefs....!

      February 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Baqara sura 02:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      He giveth wisdom unto whom He will, and he unto whom wisdom is given, he truly hath received abundant good. But none remember except men of understanding. (269).

      An-Nahl sura 16:
      Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! thy Lord is Best Aware of him who strayeth from His way, and He is best aware of those who go aright. (125).

      Al-Isra sura 17:
      This is (part) of that wisdom wherewith thy Lord hath inspired thee (O Muhammad). And set not up with Allah any other god, lest thou be cast into hell, reproved, abandoned. (39).

      Al-E-Imran sura 03:
      Allah verily hath shown grace to the believers by sending unto them a messenger of their own who reciteth unto them His revelations, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and wisdom; although before (he came to them) they were in flagrant error. (164).

      An-Nisa sura 04:
      But for the grace of Allah upon thee (Muhammad), and His mercy, a party of them had resolved to mislead thee, but they will mislead only themselves and they will hurt thee not at all. Allah revealeth unto thee the Scripture and wisdom, and teacheth thee that which thou knewest not. The grace of Allah toward thee hath been infinite. (113).

      An-Nisa 04:
      Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities, and how they say of those (idolaters) who disbelieve: "These are more rightly guided than those who believe"? (51) Those are they whom Allah hath cursed, and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper. (52) Or have they even a share in the Sovereignty? Then in that case, they would not give mankind even the speck on a date-stone. (53) Or are they jealous of mankind because of that which Allah of His bounty hath bestowed upon them? For We bestowed upon the house of Abraham (of old) the Scripture and wisdom, and We bestowed on them a mighty kingdom. (54) And of them were (some) who believed therein and of them were (some) who disbelived therein. Hell is sufficient for (their) burning. (55).

      February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Bill

    We teach science fiction in schools, so why not teach this fantasy literature as well?

    February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  15. Observer

    A recent poll/test shows that the average atheist and agnostic know more about the Bible than the average Christian. Forcing everyone to read the Bible might make both sides happy.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • john

      as an atheist, I see the importance of the historical study of the bible.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  16. Truth

    The Bible is the most influential book in the history of western civilization. How are we not already offering it as an elective??? Please stop comparing this to the Quran, whch has had less influence on western civilization than Bevis and Butthead.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  17. Lstark53

    The Bible = New Testament, I guess... There is that predecessor–the Old Testament. Will both be taught and will teaching actually take place or is this just an opportunity to prosthelytize? Even if they are, this country was founded on the separation of church and state. This is scary.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  18. The Phantom

    Will Sunday schools be required to teach evolution?

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

      Only if they want to keep their tax exempt status

      February 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The Phantom, sure. Let Jesus Christ's truth unveil the lies of evolution. Will start with why do apes and monkeys still exist today? Did some of your relatives not evolve?

      February 13, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  19. Tom

    Kentucky. Bibles. Most important book ever written. This is too easy.

    February 11, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  20. Ron

    As most know, the issue of SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE”, has meaning. This is an attempt by the Christian legislators' who suggest that our country was based on "their" God being part of it, is an old and discredited one. The question always is, which “God”(?). Budda, Christ, God the Father, Mohammad, Rain God, Sun God (fill in the blank). . . .or no god. . . . . . . . . Who gets to decide which God/book we should follow. Our Forefathers recognized that a State "sponsered" religion (England), was not what we wanted. We do not want the State telling us, or our children, which God is our saviour, or which rules to follow.

    So, when a legislator in KY believes that his Christian book should be taught in a state run school, this is State sponsorship of a religion. For those of you who support such action, what will you say when it is the Muslim legislator who inserts the Koran’s version of redemption. Is that ok with the Christians? How about an atheist professor who proclaims in his school's class, that “THERE IS NO GOD IN THIS COURTROOM.”

    Separation of Church and State does not mean that you cannot practice your belief in a God. It simply means that the Government cannot show a preference for one religion over another. In other words the citizens of this great country, unlike a “Taliban” run country, have the right to believe in any religion and not be considered “Unpatriotic” if we chose a different religion than your “one true one”, or no religion at all.

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

      They should lose Federal Funding.

      February 11, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Ron, I guess then will just let the kids crawl back under a rock if they're afraid to learn His wisdom to be the best that He wants you to be. You wouldn't know this truth because you've never read the Bible. You folks just surf the web and pick and chose scriptures to suit your purposes of rebuffing His Truth, yet you not know what you do.

      I would call that LAZY.

      February 13, 2011 at 6:01 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.