New WV law allows Bible classes in public schools

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A new elective in social studies classes on the Bible studies is now being offered to students in grades 9th and above in West Virginia.

Under a new West Virginia law, county boards of education may now offer courses that familiarize students with the Bible, reports UPI.

Although such courses do not abridge anyone’s freedom to practice religion, the law (and similar statutes recently introduced around the country) has spurred a debate over whether the classes will be “unconstitutional” religious instruction, typically about Christianity.

The courses have to maintain religious neutrality, accommodate diverse religious views and not favor or show hostility toward “any particular religion, nonreligious faith or religious perspective.”

The bill authorizing the classes was passed 30-3 by the West Virginia Senate on March 4 after earlier approval by the House of Delegates, 73-26. It became law on May 2, 90 days after its passage.

An amendment from Sen. Stephen Baldwin that removed the word “Bible” from the bill and permitted courses on all sacred texts or comparative world religions failed.

Baldwin, pastor at Ronceverte Presbyterian Church and one of the three no votes, said he opposes the legislation because it specifies only the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible and the New Testament of the Bible instead of all the world’s sacred texts.

“I’m a pastor and it’s important to me that my son learns about religion at his church, not at his school. I think this bill violates religious liberty,” Baldwin said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia opposed the bill, saying the legislation would result in discrimination against religious minorities.

2 COMMENTS

  1. There is more darn history of the Near East and beyond in the Old and New Testament including much military/tactical history than in any other source I know of and compares very favorably with The Histories of Herodotus. I can recommend “Battles of the Bible” by a couple Israeli army guys to back me up.

  2. The Bible—AND—Our 1st civil document—a covenant to God
    The Mayflower Compact, which states:

    In ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten,
    the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James
    by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king,
    defender of ye faith, &c
    Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente
    of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to
    plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe
    by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and
    one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a
    ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & fur=
    therance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte,
    constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances,
    Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought
    most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie: vnto
    which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes
    wherof we haue herevnder subscribed our names at Cap=
    Codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne
    Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth
    and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620·|

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