A newly proposed bill seeks to introduce Bible classes as standard across the state of Florida.
Under House Bill 341, Students would not be forced to take the class, but rather schools would be required to offer the course, which covers both the Old and New Testament, as part of the curriculum.
According to an official introduction laid out at the start of the bill, the new provision would require “each school district to offer specified courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures, & Bible to certain students as elective courses,” along with ensuring “such courses be included in Course Code Directory.”
The text declares that the bill, if successful, “shall take effect July 1, 2020.”
Christian evangelist and Jacksonville Democrat Rep. Kim Daniels was the first to introduce the bill.
According to Florida Politics, courses mandated by the new bill include “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament,” and “a course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”
Daniels boasts a successful track record of getting religious provisions through the state legislature. The “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” passed in 2017, banning school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression,” and requiring a school district “to adopt limited public forum policy & deliver a disclaimer at school events.”
She also led HB 839, a successful 2018 provision which requires school districts to display Florida’s motto “In God We Trust.” It is important to note, however, that Daniels’ previous attempt to introduce the classes, House Bill 195, died at the subcommittee stage in May of this year.
Indeed, with the millenial generation becoming increasingly skeptical about religion, even if the bill passes, Daniels may struggle to drum up interest in the classes.
“I personally feel like a large majority of students wouldn’t care about the class,” one student told NBC 2. Another raised concerns over the separation of Church and State. “I ask them, are they going to teach the Torah, the Quran and all the other stuff, because separation of church and state,” she added.
But other youngsters appear to feel a little more positive about the prospect of Bible class.
“Don’t shut something out that you haven’t tried,” highschool student Caeley Wilson told the outlet. “It opens up friendships and opens up your mind pretty much.”