Idaho Senate Committee Introduces Bill Allowing Bible to Be Used as Reference in Classroom

Bible GenesisBOISE, Idaho – A Senate Committee in Idaho has approved a bill that allows the Bible to be used for reference purposes in public school classrooms.

S.B. 1321 is stated to have been introduced by the Senate Education Committee with the urging of Sen. Cheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, who also works as a high school teacher.

“The Bible is expressly permitted to be used in Idaho public schools for reference purposes to further the study of literature, comparative religion, English and foreign languages, United States and world history, comparative government, law, philosophy, ethics, astronomy, biology, geology, world geography, archaeology, music, sociology, and other topics of study where an understanding of the Bible may be useful or relevant,” the bill reads.

It also notes that “[n]o student will be required to use any religious texts for reference purposes if the student or parents of the student object.”

As previously reported, last June, the Idaho Republican Party passed a similar resolution calling for support for using the Bible alongside public school curriculum.

Resolution 2015-P20 was submitted by Idaho County Chairman Marge Arnzen, and uses state history as the basis of the motion.

“[I]n 1782, the U.S. Congress voted this resolution: ‘The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools,’ and authorized a loan of money to help the printing and distribution of 10,000 copies to be made available to the public primarily for public schools,’” it noted.

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“[T]he use of the Bible for literary and historic value is consistent with the 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1963 case of Abington School District v. Schempp declared that the Bible is worth studying for its literary qualities and its influence on history,” the resolution further outlined.

Some state that S.B. 1321 is unnecessary since federal rulings already permit citing the Bible as reference in public schools. However, Nuxoll outlined that the bill serves to underscore the rights that teachers have in the classroom.

“It’s to clarify and make sure teachers know their rights,” she told reporters. “A lot of teachers are scared to use the Bible.”

Nuxoll explained that the legislation was crafted to mirror law in ten other states.

However, John Timmer with Ars Technica conversely opined in a report on Thursday that the legislation could raise legal issues because it only mentions the Bible and not books from other religions.

“By specifically mentioning the text of a single major religion, the bill clearly raises the danger of a lawsuit based on violations of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause,” he wrote. “All it will take is a teacher feeling encouraged to drag the Bible into a physics class.”

With one opposing vote, the Senate Education Committee voted on Thursday to print the bill, moving the proposal forward for a full hearing.

As previously reported, the first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, “The New England Primer,” was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in public and private schools alike until approximately the early 1900’s. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior. Many of the Founders’ children were taught to read with the use of the primer.


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  • acontraryview

    ““It’s to clarify and make sure teachers know their rights,” she told reporters. “A lot of teachers are scared to use the Bible.””

    it would seem that a simple memo would suffice. There is absolutely nothing that prevents a public school from using the Bible as reference material “to further the study of literature, comparative religion, English and foreign languages, United States and world history, comparative government, law, philosophy, ethics, astronomy, biology, geology, world geography, archaeology, music, sociology, and other topics of study where an understanding of the Bible may be useful or relevant,”

    Sounds like pandering on her part.

    • Cady555

      Thd bible has nothing to teach about astronomy, biology, or geology, except to demonstrate the progress that can be made by an evidenced based understanding of the earth and the universe.

      • acontraryview

        Hence the inclusion of the words “useful or relevant”.

        • Cady555

          Yes, but since there is nothing useful in the bible concerning astronomy, biology or geology, why include them in the list?

          • acontraryview

            Probably so they wouldn’t feel left out and get their feelings hurt. You know how some subjects can be touchy. Plus, it’s probably good for garnering more votes in the next election.

  • Joe Soap

    It won’t pass without allowing reference to every other holy book. If they just leave it as it is it will be unconstitutional and get struck down and you all know it.

    If a teacher pulled out a copy of the Koran in a classroom you would all be outraged. Bunch of hypocrites.

  • Quantz

    Great! Faith is the new science.

  • Ambulance Chaser

    What is it, “Pass a Pointless, Redundant Law” Day or something? This is the third one on this site in one day!

    • Joe Soap

      It’s an election year. The base has to be pandered to.

  • Andrew

    Other than their hatred for religion, what emotion do atheists have in their lives?
    Judging from the genocides they perpetrated against millions of innocent people, we have incontrovertible proof that they have zero love for human beings. In their lives, hate occupies the space that love would fill in a normal human being.

    • Jolanda Tiellemans

      I don’t hate religion, just don’t believe in it. I love my dad,my sister, my mom was my heart and soul. Hate is a waste of time, got better things to do. Like taking care of abused horses, animals don’t judge like people do.

    • gizmo23

      Christians have also practiced genocide

      • Paladin

        NO
        in the name is not the same

        • gizmo23

          You can say the same thing about any religion

        • Jolanda Tiellemans

          So it didn’t all happen in the name of God. But when Muslims do something it is in the name of their God? Right! It is you and people like you who claim that your country was build on Christianity, that the first immigrants where European Christians who where persecuted for their religion. So the things done to Native Americans, where done by Christians. If not you are the one who is lying and the first immigrants weren’t Christians. Oh and I know someone (afchief) will scream for proof. But he and others don’t get enough of telling us “liberals” that the US was build on religion, so he and others provide the proof for us, or he is lying.

          • Paladin

            First off, you have to KNOW what the New covenant IS.
            Secondly, you have to properly classify what a ‘Christian’ IS.

            There’s much more including actual reason which manifests equity in lust for truth. – if you have this, you have the capacity to find the others including the error of your world view.

            PS
            According to the bible, does the inner essence of the individual person live forever?

            Matthew 10.28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

          • Paladin

            It’s GODS LAND and he gives whom he wills, so if you knew your bible you’d see that – AND no – Israelites were HERE along side “Native Americans” and it really don’t matter like I said if the Native Americans were CREATED HERE while the Adamic Race created over the pond – the point IS, they worshipped IDOLS and false gods and were NEVER in covenant relationship with Creator Jesus – PERIOD… YOU NEGLECT THAT SIMPLISTIC FACT.

            TRU DAT

      • afchief

        That is a boldface lie!!!

        • gizmo23

          American Indians

          • afchief

            Again, that is a boldface lie.

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            How is that a lie? Christians from Europe immigrated to the USA because they where persecuted in Europe for being Christians, right? Those Christians wanted the land from the Native Americans, so they just took it, killing the Indians. And yes, I read books about the history of the Native Amerians. Oh yeah, those where probably no Christians, but some of you claim that the first European immigrants where Christians, so how do you explain that? Can’t wait for that answer, or is it going to be like “you’re a liar”? You’re favorite sentence when you don’t have a straight answer.

          • afchief

            I am part American Indian and my dad looks like an Indian. Christians did not treat us bad. We know our history.

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            So all the 14 books I own about the Native Americans history in North an South America are wrong? Riiiiiiight! All the reservations the immigrants put the Indians in after taking their land don’t exist? Trail of Tears was a lie? Wounded Knee was a lie? But then again, they probably weren’t Christians.

          • afchief

            Prove to me they were Christians.

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            You and your ilk keeps claiming that ‘Christians’ came to the US cause they where persecuted in Europe for their religion. So first immigrants where Christians and as you always claim that the founding fathers where Christian too. So proof to me they weren’t since all first immigrants where Chrisitans as you and your ilk never gets enough of telling us “liberals” just that.

          • afchief

            More proof you are a liar!!!

            Get one of your 14 books and quote the book and page and I will then look it up.

            Waiting…………………………………………………………………

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            YES! And here we go again, no straight answer so your favorite words, ‘you’re a liar’. You are so predictable. But I bite. So that the founding fathers where Christians is a lie? That the first immigrants in the US where Christians is a lie? Ah, you are the one who is lying, since you and your ilk are the ones claiming just that all the time.

          • afchief

            You said that you have 14 books that state otherwise. Quote the book and page number and let me research it.

            Waiting……………………………………………………..

          • gizmo23

            Right, they just died of natural causes

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            Oh haven’t you read his other comment, he is part Indian and he knows his history. But I remember when he was told about the fact that NA had no problem with homosexuality and even called those in the tribes two spirited we where lying.

          • afchief

            I did not say they were mistreated and/or died

            You said Christians killed Indians. That is a boldface lie!!!

            Prove that the people who killed Indians for no reason were Christians.

          • gizmo23

            Look up Chivington and The sand creek massacre.
            You claim that we are a nation that has lost it’s morals, yet the history is full of horrible things done in the name of manifest destiny

          • afchief

            Those were NOT Christians!!!

            Again, prove they were Christians.

          • gizmo23

            They said they were so who are you to decide. He also had the support of a vast majority of “Christian” people at the time. Even a statue of him in front of the CO capitol

          • afchief

            Give me a book, quote that they professed to be Christians.

            I never ever believe liberals and homos. Theirs/yours defining characteristic is lying.

          • gizmo23

            You have already stated you won’t believe anything anyone posts that you don’t believe in so “proving” anything to you is a waste of time.
            Reading, thinking, and learning is not for you

          • afchief

            Then prove me wrong!

            Waiting……………………………………………………………….

          • gizmo23

            no point

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            He is so predictable, everyone he doesn’t agree with he calls a liar. If you write anything bad about Christians, it”s a lie or those people are not Christians. Every nation went to war in the name of their God, no matter what religion. The phrase ‘for God and country’ comes to mind.

          • gizmo23

            Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! … I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians. … Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.

            — - Col. John Milton Chivington

          • afchief

            He still did NOT state his personal faith in Jesus Christ. Just because someone says God or heaven does not make him a Christian.

            Again, show me where this man states his is a Christian man.

            Waiting……………………………………………………………….

          • gizmo23

            wait forever

          • afchief

            You see, you are proving my point that liberals, homos and atheists are liars. I asked you to prove me wrong and you won’t.

            Would you like another chance?

          • Jolanda Tiellemans

            Christopher Columbus was a Christian and he killed the Inca’s for their gold.

    • acontraryview

      “Judging from the genocides they perpetrated against millions of innocent people, we have incontrovertible proof that they have zero love for human beings”

      Are you referring to various Inquisitions, burnings at the stake, slaughter of Native Americans, and the purges that occurred during the dark ages?

      • Jolanda Tiellemans

        But, but that weren’t Christians as our good friend afchief will tell you.

        • acontraryview

          I know, right?

  • Guest

    I don’t understand the point of this law or why a Christian would even want it. In a public school environment this will open the Bible up to ridicule as ‘superstitious’, ‘inaccurate’ and put it in the same category as ‘The Iliad & the Odessey’ regarding classroom discussions. Do people really want their kids exposed to protracted discussions about the Bible with unbelievers who can even include their teachers because of this legislation?

    • Norman Lane

      We read the Odyssey in high school, I don’t remember anyone referring to “superstitions” and “inaccuracies.” We read it because it tells a great story. The Bible has lots of great stories also – the Joseph saga in Genesis, the Saul/David saga in Samuel and Kings. A good story is a good story. Go to an art museum, and probably a third or more of the paintings are of biblical subjects.

      • Jolanda Tiellemans

        You are right about the paintings. Other religions too. I love Indian art and yes with religious subjects. I think in every culture there is art with religious subjects.

      • Guest

        Again, once the Bible is in the classroom you can’t restrict how it is presented. The Odyssey was presented as mythology, as will the Bible if anyone wants to.

        The issue is that once it is in the public school it can, and will, be treated as just another book of mythology as it is in college courses that touch upon it.

        Do people really want their grade school kids being subjected to these kind of discussions about the Bible?

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Sure! We’re going to “evaluate the strengths and weaknesses” of it!

    • Becky

      Parents/students will be able to opt-out. Unlike some of the so-called required curriculum (homosexuality) that is already being taught…not just referenced.

      There are many scoffers and many false teachers. There are also many teachers that speak according to the word of God. However, it’s up to each person to take it upon themselves to study the word of God…if he so chooses.

      “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

      “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11

      • Guest

        Oh! This is for a specific class about the Bible? The bill reads this about being able to use it as s class resource. Any class about it will have to allow discussion of all aspects about it including those that think it is merely mythology.

        I really don’t think that this would be s good thing for The Bible or those of us that think it is the word of God. Atheists won’t avoid the class but flock to it since they will be able to voice their views in the class without rebuttal.

        It just reinforces the feeling that those undermining God’s will are calling themselves Christian.

      • gizmo23

        Opt out of what? This isn’t a class just a book in a room

        • Becky

          “It also notes that ‘[n]o student will be required to use any religious texts for reference purposes if the student or parents of the student object.'”

    • Cady555

      Yes!

      Exactly this. None of us want school teachers – who might well have different beliefs – using their authority as public school teachers to teach their religion to my kid.

      This is true whether one is evangelical, catholic, mormon, jewish or atheist.

      The same rule applies to all – school employees do not promote any religious view so that students are free to practice their beliefs without interference.

  • Norman Lane

    Well, of course it should be used as a reference book. You can’t full understand most of the art and literature of the Western world without some knowledge of the Bible. Even people who regard the Bible as pure fiction can’t ignore the impact it has had. I think every kid who graduates from high school in America ought to have learned something about Greek and Roman mythology, which also had a huge impact on art and literature, and the Bible. The mere fact of reading something in a classroom doesn’t qualify as establishment of a religion. In my high school economics class, we read Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, and reading it didn’t mean we approved of what was in it.

    • Cady555

      As literature and myth it is fine. But the bible has no place in science classes. The scientific method should not be replaced by blind faith in the best knowledge of an iron agd tribe, complete with talking snakes and an earth older than the sun.

      • Ben Slade

        (Note to Cady555, regarding the reply post to Norma Lane) Lawrence Livermore Laboratory discovered a truth from the Holy Bible about one decade ago. The Book of Job in the Bible was written about the 19th Century BC (according to some sources, though the date is not certain; 1400 BC is also given as a date for the writing). In this volume (of Job) you will find the discovery Lawrence Livermore made, in the 38th Chapter, verse 7. While the scientific method as you refer to it, took nearly 4000 years to discover this Biblical truth, it was still truth as it lay there waiting for the human race to agree. It has to do with frequency’s in both sound and sight. There are other scientific facts established in the Bible, which predate scientific processes. Even so, these things are a side line in the Bible, as it is a Book made available for the redemption of mankind to his creator. You are grossly ignorant if you think no scientist believe in a Creator. You are probably like (perhaps millions) of others who casually refer to the
        Theory of evolution”. If you do, your ignoring scientific method to do so. Evolution (by the scientific method) is not a theory, but a much lesser concept called a hypothesis. Even at that, evolution is becoming (all most daily) a ridiculous hypothesis that is rejected by more and more scientist the world over. As this is turning into a short essay, I will close; but suggest you go back to the proverbial “drawing board” with an open mind to the Bible. If you do, you will Learn something.

        • Cady555

          LOL. If one stands on their head, there is a verse in Job that can be twisted kinda sorta to agree with something scientists have discovered and communicated clealy.

          I’ll stick with scientists, evidence, the scientific method and clear communication of scientific knowledge.

          There are some scientists who believe in god because they do not seek evidence when it comes to religion. Their choice.

          As for Evolution not being a Theory and “that is rejected by more and more scientists,” that is simply untrue. Get your facts straight.

          Oh, paragraph breaks come in handy and they’re free.

  • afchief

    This was never an issue 50 years ago. An evil has crept in our country under the name of liberalism i.e. godlessness. It is a cancer and it is evil! The USA was founded on Judea-Christian concepts, despite the far-left’s talking points. When the first people from the European Continent stepped foot on the New Land, they were escaping from the Church of England.

    They weren’t free to hold different beliefs than the beliefs of that Church. What was common among them, was the Ten Commandments. No Islam, Buda, or whatever, was present in the early formation of this Nation.

    We do know the founders were men of conviction and morality, and for this reason they would still abhor even the idea of homosexuality much less be for marriage between two people of the same sex. If you think otherwise, you are delusional. In fact, they would be horrified we’re even having this conversation. In their time, the topic of homosexuality would be whispered among themselves, if at all, and certainly with no ladies present.

    Christianity has always been the prevalent religion of this Country. The majority of our Laws are based on Christianity. There is a big difference between those who follow Christ, and those who follow Mohamed.

    In this day and age, the USA no longer accepts inequality between men and women. In Muslim Countries, the women are second class citizens. They can’t move about without a male escort; and some Countries don’t allow them to drive a car, and their genitalia is cut and sewed, to eliminate any pleasure from having sex. Can’t say this enough! Women aren’t allowed to derive pleasure from sex in MOST Muslim Countries, while men are. Does this seem “fair” to you? Yet President Obama supports this Muslim “crap”, even when he has two daughters. It’s disgusting!

    • Guest

      Exactly! A bill didn’t even have to be passed for this. It’s never been illegal to use the Bible in class contrary to what some may claim.

    • gizmo23

      I have always have a Bible in my classroom

      • The Last Trump

        Please tell me you don’t teach English.

        • gizmo23

          I have no idea what you are talking about. I teach disabled people how to function in society btw

          • Brad F

            You’re the expert in that area.

          • gizmo23

            thanks

    • gizmo23

      Does your entire world revolve around Muslims and gays.
      Are you a gay Muslim in the closet?

    • acontraryview

      “The USA was founded on Judea-Christian concepts”

      What concepts would those be?

      “If you think otherwise, you are delusional. In fact, they would be horrified we’re even having this conversation.”

      But that isn’t the conversation we’re having. The conversation is regarding the use of the Bible as a reference source in education. YOU seem to be obsessed with homosexuality and same-gender marriage and attempt to weave it in to any discussion. Why do you spend so much time thinking about homosexuality, Russ? Particularly male homosexual relations?

      “The majority of our Laws are based on Christianity.”

      Our laws are based upon the Constitution. Given that the protections provided by the Constitution directly conflict with seven of the ten Biblical commandments, it is untrue to state that the “majority of our laws are based upon Christianity”.

      • Bob Johnson

        Most of our laws are based on, or at least derived from, just about any legal code throughout history. Contract law still works the same as always; and theft, fraud, murder, assault have always been dealt with as criminal.

        • acontraryview

          While our laws have much in common with various historical legal codes, the determination of the validity of our laws is based upon the Constitution.

          • Bob Johnson

            True. I was thinking of how we have chosen to classify capital punishment, felony, or misdemeanor; fines v. jail; stoning v cutting off a hand. Even the idea of a court and judges instead of fiat by the crown. What is and is not issues for a legal system to adjudicate.

            And interestedly, how those religious laws from graven images to shell fish have not made their way into western jurisprudence.

  • Becky

    “However, John Timmer with Ars Technica conversely opined in a report on Thursday that the legislation could raise legal issues because it only mentions the Bible and not books from other religions. ‘By specifically mentioning the text of a single major religion, the bill clearly raises the danger of a lawsuit based on violations of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause,’ he wrote.”

    Rubbish! Using the bible as a reference in public schools would not/does not violate the establishment clause! In order to violate the establishment clause there has to be a law “respecting an establishment of religion” and that certainly wouldn’t be the case here. It wouldn’t make it an official religion, nor is it choosing it over other religions.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      “In order to violate the establishment clause there has to be a law ‘respecting an establishment of religion'”

      No. Nearly any action by any level of government can violate the Establishment Clause.

      I recommend you look up “State Action” doctrine.

      • Bob Johnson

        How has so many people gotten such a twisted view of the law? And why do so many legislatures try to open their states to litigation?

        After all teachers already have this right, but spelling it out so blatantly presses for litigation.

  • gizmo23

    You can bet anyone voting against this will be labebed as a God hater next election. That is the purpose of this bill. Pure pandering

  • BarkingDawg

    This bill has FAIL written all over it

  • Frank Dorka

    Religious indoctrination to students is child abuse and against the law. But then again, this IS Idaho (or Northern Utah if you prefer.)

  • Charles Collins

    Of course teachers are scared stiff to use the Bible in the classroom. Why? Because it only takes one student to scream, “They tried to convert me and it scared me and I don’t want to go to hell and burn!” This type of stuff is constantly seen across the globe whether or not it really happened.
    I was an educator for 8 years until one day a student I sent to the office for telling a nasty joke told the principal they wanted to see the nurse because I was telling dirty jokes.
    The district didn’t even believe me when I said I never told the joke but had sent the student to the office for it. They fired me but after a court investigation, and yes I took them to court not for my job or money but for my professional career reputation, I won. The investigation found that several students admitted lying as well as the school administrator.
    But due to pressure from the parents, he was scared and fired me. I have never went to work as a school teacher again, and I never will.