Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) sparked a fair bit of intrigue and debate weeks ago when he announced that “prayer patrols” would be employed to help address Louisville’s homicide rate.
But now Bevin is back in the news with yet another faith-based move: the governor signed a bill into law on Tuesday that paves the way for Bible classes in public schools.
House Bill 128 allows for elective courses on the Bible to be taught in Kentucky schools, with the new-found law’s sponsor arguing that it is important for kids to understand the impact that the world’s most read and sold book has had on American history and culture, WDRB-TV reported.
Republican state Rep. D.J. Johnson said that the Bible “set the foundation” that was used by the founding fathers to pen both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution — the cornerstones of American freedom and governance.
“All of those came from principles from the Bible,” Johnson said, going on to explain that the state’s Department of Education will take great care in how the courses are developed. “As long as we’re careful with the curriculum itself, there won’t be any constitutional issues. And we’ll do that.”
According to the bill’s description, it will create an option for a social studies course that focuses on “Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament, or a combination of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament of the Bible.”
Additionally, the bill will “require that the course provide to 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.”
While the Bible classes are sure to spark controversy, they will, again, be optional for students, with local school boards also having the ability, if they so choose, to offer the Bible literacy classes as part of social studies curriculum, the outlet noted.
As for Bevin, he heralded the bill during Tuesday’s signing ceremony, saying he doesn’t believe there should be any controversy.
“You could be an atheist, and you would appreciate there’s a lot of wisdom in the Bible,” the governor said.
The American Civil Liberties Union said that it will be closely monitoring the implementation of the law to be sure that the classes don’t cross any First Amendment boundaries. The bill takes effect on Friday.
Previously, as Faithwire noted, Bevin called 2017 the “Year of the Bible” and encouraged Kentucky residents to turn to prayer.