An Arizona lawmaker is trying to create a high school elective course about the Bible and its role in Western culture, the Associated Press reported.
Republican Rep. Terri Proud of Tucson, is pushing legislation that would make Arizona the sixth state in the country to allow schools to offer Bible study as a high school course, the Tucson Citizen reported. Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Oklahoma already have laws that allow these classes.
“There is this false perception that separation of church means absolutely no religion in school, that the Bible is not allowed,” Proud said, the Tucson Citizen reported. “That is absolutely not true.”
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Proud says students would benefit from the course since biblical references are everywhere in society. Arizona state law doesn’t ban the use of the Bible, or any other religious text, in the classroom, as long as it is used for academic purposes and doesn’t involve any religious aspects. But Proud has said teachers and school districts are too scared to even discuss religion in their classrooms, the Tucson Citizen reported.
“It is everywhere around us, and to say that I don't my child exposed to that, then we might as well not have air and breathe because it is implemented into our society,” Proud said, the Phoenix Fox News affiliate reported. “If we have professors from Yale and Harvard telling us how important it is for our high school students to have this foundation, this basic knowledge, then why are we not doing that.”
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Cited as House Bill 2473, public and charter high schools would be allowed to offer an elective course on the “critical evaluation and examination of the Bible as a literary work” starting June 30, 2013, the Tucson Citizen reported. The course wold include the history, literature and influence of the Bible on laws, history, government, art, music, morals and culture.
The course would have to follow state and federal law which would mean maintaining religious neutrality and accommodating diverse religious views.
The US Supreme Court banned ceremonial Bible readings in public schools in 1963, but did note “the Bible is worth of study for its literary and historic qualities,” as long as it was presented objectively, the AP reported.
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