Kentucky House Passes Bill Authorizing Elective Social Studies Courses on the Bible

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill that authorizes the creation of elective social studies courses on the Bible in public schools.

House Bill 128 was approved Thursday 80-14 and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The legislation was introduced by Rep. DJ Johnson, R-Owensboro, who says that its purpose is “to provide guidance, uniformity, and constitutional support for the local school boards that may be wanting to offer such courses, but are unsure of the way to proceed.”

“A stronger understanding of the Bible will result in a stronger understanding of our society, culture, literature, and laws,” he said in a social media post on Monday.

The course would “teach 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.”

It would serve historical purposes rather than provide religious instruction, and districts would be required to stay neutral on Christianity.

However, some Democrats still opposed the measure, opining that teachers could struggle with not endorsing Christianity during the instructional period.

“According to our Constitution, there are boundaries on where you talk about religion or your faith. And the public school system should be a neutral zone,” Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville stated.

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Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, also expressed objection as she said that the bill excludes Islam and other religions.

But Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington declared that America was not founded on Islam or other religions—it was founded by men who read and followed the Scriptures.

“This country—whether some people want to believe it or not—wasn’t founded as a Muslim nation, wasn’t founded as a Hindu nation, wasn’t founded as a Hari Krishna nation. It was founded as a Christian nation,” he said.

“It’s been said on the floor today that teaching the Bible ain’t going to get it done. Well, let me tell you what didn’t get it done: Kicking God out of school, kicking the Bible out of school, kicking prayer out of school,” Lee proclaimed.

Rep. Chris Fugate, R-Chavies, made similar remarks.

“You’re talking about how to treat our neighbors; you’re talking about things that help us be better citizens in a society that for sure, above all things, needs better citizens,” he said .

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.

“Save me, O God, from evil all this day long, and let me love and serve Thee forever, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son,” it read.

Many of the Founders’ children learned to read from the primer.

Noah Webster’s famous “Blue Back Speller” also referenced Christianity, including in reading lessons statements such as “The preacher is to preach the gospel,” “Blasphemy is contemptuous treatment of God,” and “We do not like to see our own sins.” Webster is known as the father of American education.

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  • bowie1

    In Bible Study at church even there it could be studied objectively so why not at school.

  • Jason Todd

    Expect the bigots to scream, cry, and stomp their feet over this one.

    If Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin doesn’t place these fools permanently on the outside looking in, he won’t see a second term.

    • johndoe

      As long as it’s historical studies and not proselytizing, I have no issue with it. Other religious works should be taught in addition to the Bible.

  • RWH

    Usually, courses like this study the Bible as literature, not the Bible as a set of religious beliefs. I would be more worried about who produces the materials used for such a course. For example, will the textbook selected teach that the Pentateuch was written by Moses or by a series of anonymous authors and compiled at a later date? There are lots of things presented in a course like this that church leaders may have to unteach their youth. And what Bible translation will be endorsed? Will it be the Revised Standard Version? And you can safely bet that texts written by conservatives that appear to proselytize will not be selected.

    • SFBruce

      You’ve identified the core problems with trying to offer a course like this in public schools. There simply isn’t a way to structure the course in a way that would satisfy the Constitution, the different Christian sects, not to mention unbelievers. I’d be fine with a class based on critical scholarship, but that wouldn’t satisfy many, if not most, conservative Christians. James Blue asks if a similar course on the Koran would be acceptable, something I doubt many of the readers of this site would go for, even though if such a course were offered on the Bible, offering similar ones on other faith traditions should be a requirement.

      • Jason Todd

        James Blue asks if a similar course on the Koran would be acceptable

        They are already teaching Islam in public schools.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Yes, we’re still waiting for your evidence of this.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Stop waiting and continuing to be so lazy. Try a simple Google search. You’ll have oodles of results in a nanosecond.

            Hey folks, this is AC’s modus operandi to try and insert doubt into the truth. He ain’t figured out yet how foolish it is because of Google.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Yes, you got me. My “modus operandi” is to ask the person who made the claim to back it up. Also called “Logic 101.”

            The first lesson is “You make the claim, you provide the evidence.” It’s pretty simple.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            According to you. And it’s just too bad for you but you don’t get to control what others do. Ain’t that just a pickle!

          • Ambulance Chaser

            No, according to the generally accepted rules of logic. Read philosophy professor Dr. Michael LaBossiere’s page Entish and scroll down to Burden of Proof. See also: Russell’s Teapot.

            No, I can’t “control what other people do.” You are perfectly free to go on being non-credible to your heart’s content.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            No, according to YOUR generally accepted rules of logic. And we can all see what that’s worth.

            Read the Bible and see what God has to say. I’ll pray that He illuminates your dead mind to His truths. Or.,.

            You are perfectly free to go on being non-credible to your Jeremiah 17:9 heart’s content.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Did you not read that I cited two famous philosophers?

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Have you not read Proverbs 14:12 that I’ve quoted to you like a dozen times?

            But hey, thanks for giving me another opportunity to point out your public display in whom you look to as authorities. LOL

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Yes, I read it. It says “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

            Yeah, that’s nice. Can we get back on topic now?

          • Jason Todd

            You want to know what is sad? These people actually think I am kidding when I say I am blocking them.

            You see, last year Disqus gave users the ability to block other users. That means we cannot see anything they type. And it cannot be reversed.

            I have no desire to deal with the mentally unstable and morally empty. So I flush the toilet and feel so much better. Give it a try!

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Oh, there may come a point where I do that but for now I prefer to shine the light on their lies. Besides, the ones who don’t know how to conduct themselves properly and respectfully are taken care of by simply flagging the comment.

            In fact, this is the only site I know of where the trolls who violate the site’s standards will be permanently blocked from the site.

          • Jason Todd

            Barbwire dot com

          • johndoe

            I just find it cowardly at best when you don’t have the fortitude to handle disagreement. Too ridiculous!

  • james blue

    Are they also offering courses on the Koran?

    • Tangent002


    • Grace Kim Kwon

      A naive liberal infidel. Humans hurt each other. Only the Holy Bible instructs mankind to value and cherish everyone. You should read the Holy Bible, too. Your first name bears one of the Books in the New Testament Bible.

      • johndoe

        How is he an infidel?

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          He is not a Muslim. All Non-Muslims are infidels to the Muslims. You and I are infidels in a classification, too.

          • Tangent002

            That is not entirely correct. Some scholars of Islam consider Christians and Jews ‘People of the Book’, not ‘infidels’.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            The doctrines are not consistent. Islamic doctrines command the subdue or/and destruction of all Non-Muslims. It’s the matter of how much the individual Muslim is able or is willing to keep the doctrines accurately. All religions and ideologies on earth including Western secularism are that way. When faithfully followed, abuses agaisnt innocent humans inevitably happen. Christianity alone is safe and righteous for everyone and teaches mankind the sanctity of life and provides civilized education and sane morality and justice. The golden era in the West is a thing of a past.

          • Tangent002

            Here in Real America, Muslims are offering to protect Jewish community centers, synagogues, and cemeteries from potential attacks. Painting an entire religion with the broad brush that they are all Wahhabists is both false and foolish.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            A fleeting picture. Take a look at the ultimate picture or the final conclusion. The Islamic world does not offer the human rights or freedom; it’s not their purpose of existence. People can be nice when they are a minority. The Muslim population is being a blessing in the Sodomic West, though, in limiting the West’s chaotic inclination to the well-fed depravity. Men need Jesus to be saved and do what is right ultimately. Liberal Westeners try to equate all religions only for the purpose of degrading the Christianity; the whole effert is false and futile and only suicidal.

          • Fang

            You realize that speaking well of Muslims will not stop them from throwing you off the roof.

            Muslims hate gays. Muslims kill gays. Any gay spouting pro-Muslim propaganda is a deluded fool.

            Gays and Muslims both hate Christians. But Muslims kill gays.

          • Tangent002

            Sorry buddy, I’m not gay.

  • InTheChurch

    They should, the kids need to know who created science, math, languages and everything we see.

    • RWH

      If you’re looking for a course that accomplishes this, you’ll have to go to church. These types of courses study the Bible as an historical artifact, a literary creation. They will not proselytize students into a system of belief. Courses like this one avoid theological issues, but they typically compare the Genesis account to other creation stories out there. Courses like this are not designed to turn nonbelievers into believers, but they will encourage kids to think critically, which means that they will question the inerrantcy of Scripture. It all depends, of course, on what curriculums are selected, but they will not be from evangelical sources that are designed to convert someone to a particular doctrinal belief.

      • InTheChurch

        If the teacher is christian, they might be swayed to God. If the teacher is atheist, the teacher will belittle the course.

        • Chris

          Ever heard of professional behavior? Atheist or Christian the result is a teacher who teaches in a professional fashion.

          If the teacher cannot help him/herself and feels they must try and proselytize then they should get a job in a religious school.

          • InTheChurch

            have you heard of tenured? teachers who are tenured can get away with a lot and not lose their job.

          • Chris

            If they are breaking the law, it doesn’t matter how tenured they are they will be fired. To quote from a U.S. educational website “The purpose of tenure is to protect outstanding teachers from being
            fired for non-educational issues including personal beliefs or
            personality conflicts with administrators, school board members, or any other authority figure”

            What you’re suggesting would fall under educational issues which their tenure would NOT protect them from.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Great!! Finally!! A long over-due! American children need the Biblical instructions to be spared from all kinds of harmful falsehood and addictions. The Holy Bible is greater than the Western Civilization itself therefore the entire works of mankind on Planet Earth. Civilizations are for a moment, but the Word of God is forever. Read Isaiah 40.