West Virginia Senators Introduce Bill That Would Require Schools to Offer an Elective Course on the Bible

CHARLESTON, W.V. — Two West Virginia senators have introduced a bill that would require all public and private schools  in the state to offer an elective course on the Bible.

Senator Mike Azinger, R-Wood, and Senator Sue Cline, R-Wyoming, presented Senate Bill 252 on Thursday, which is patterned after a bill that was signed into law in Kentucky last year.

“In all public, private, parochial and denominational schools located within this state there shall be given: (1) An elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible; (2) An elective social studies course on the New Testament of the Bible; or (3) An elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible,” the proposed legislation reads in part.

It states that its purpose is to “[t]each students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy,” as well as [t]he influence of the Hebrew Scriptures or New Testament on law, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values, and culture.”

The bill also requires schools to stay neutral toward religion and not promote or disparage any particular belief or unbelief.

“Our country was built on the Bible,” Azinger told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

He outlined that the Bible is a fundamental part of American history, as our laws were modeled after its statutes, schools were formed with the desire that children learn to read the Bible and colleges were established with the Scriptures as their foundation.

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The legislation has been sent to the Education Committee for consideration. If passed, the course would be an elective offering, that is, only for those interested.

Webster

As previously reported, throughout early America, textbooks such as Noah Webster’s “Blue Backed Speller” and Benjamin Harris’ “New England Primer” contained numerous references to Christianity, and those such as Webster were strong advocates for teaching children the ways of the Lord. Webster is considered the Father of American education.

“Practical truths in religion, in morals, and all civil and social concerns, ought to be among the first and most prominent objects of instruction,” he wrote in 1839. “Without a competent knowledge of legal and social rights and duties, persons are often liable to suffer in property or reputation, by neglect or mistakes. Without religious and moral principles deeply impressed on the mind, and controlling the whole conduct, science and literature will not make men what the laws of God require them to be; and without both kinds of knowledge, citizens can not enjoy the blessings which they seek, and which a strict conformity to roles of duty will enable them to obtain.”

In 1830, Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the Philadelphia Bible Society, wrote:

“[T]he benefits of an early and general acquaintance with the Bible were not confined to the Jewish nation; they have appeared in many countries in Europe since the Reformation. The industry and habits of order which distinguish many of the German nations are derived from their early instruction in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. In Scotland and in parts of New England, where the Bible has been long used as a schoolbook, the inhabitants are among the most enlightened in religions and science, the most strict in morals, and the most intelligent in human affairs of any people whose history has come to my knowledge upon the surface of the globe.”


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  • Lemmylemon

    Just what the world needs.
    Some liberal teaching kids about the bible.

    • Marucha Chan

      This is part of the whole problem with pandering politicians trying to chip away at the separation of church and state. If you don’t want “some liberal teaching kids about the Bible”, it’s best not to support the forced teaching of one group’s religious beliefs in any public school system. People forget that Catholics were among those who objected to prayers and Bible reading and such in many American public schools decades ago because, although such persons are Christians, the teaching was not in accordance with their own orthodoxy. There IS no generic “one size fits all” version of Christianity, and not everyone is a Christian anyway. If you don’t want the government dictating how religion is presented, keep religion out of government institutions — including public schools — and keep government out of religious institutions.

      • Lemmylemon

        My suggestion to you is take your meds and limit yourself to one disqus account. Your multiple personality disorder is showing.

        • Marucha Chan

          Lemmylemon, separation of church and state is a vaunted First Amendment principle, and our courts have been very opposed to the use of public schools to push religion on all students. I was trying to show explain why your concern is valid, just as valid as the concerns of people of other religious beliefs, and of people of no beliefs, who might well also resent government-mandated teaching of religion. I’m sorry you cannot find it in yourself to mount a more thoughtful response than to resort to petty insults.

          • Lemmylemon

            Sorry my opinions aren’t up for debate. I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and the only way to Heaven is thru him.
            Enjoy pedaling whatever new age liberal mumbo jumbo you’re pedaling this week.

          • ZappaSaid88

            *peddle

          • ChuSez

            Your resorting to juvenile name calling is hardly being an effective witness for our Lord.

          • Lemmylemon

            And your ridiculing someone for not living up to your expectation of who they’re supposed to be is pretentious.

            From your own comments…
            ChuSez AntiBanshee 9 hours ago
            Deport those kids!
            And keep ‘em off my damned lawn!

            Great Christian Morals on display there.

          • ChuSez

            AB is a friend, and we joke with each other in that manner quite often. Perhaps you should lighten up yourself.

  • james blue

    I object to this. Keep the state out of it.

    Every state in the US already has “elective bible study”. It’s operated in Churches and homes in almost every community.

  • Thank you Senators for supporting the proclamation of God’s word in WV schools.

  • ChuSez

    This won’t last thirty seconds before any judge in the country.
    Politicians grandstanding with a ridiculously unconstitutional proposal.

  • reality

    So let me get this straight. West Virginia has the 3rd worst public education system in the country (among many other things the state ranks horribly) so to resolve that they want…an elective class for christian classes…nuff said..