A new bill introduced by a Florida Democrat seeks to introduce Bible classes as standard across the state’s schools. House Bill 341, which was put forward by evangelist and Jacksonville politician, Rep. Kim Daniels, specifies that schools must offer classes covering both the Old and New Testament.
The introductory text to the bill declares that each school district must “offer specified courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures, & Bible to certain students as elective courses.” While students would not be forced to attend the classes, they must all be presented with the option to enroll.
In addition, the state’s Department of Education would also be required to add the courses to the Course Code Directory, as per the bill.
Should the legislation be successful, it is slated to take effect July 1, 2020.
Daniels, the founder of “Spoken Word Ministries,” has had mixed success in her attempts to bring Christianity into the classroom. In 2017, she was instrumental in the passing of the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” which prohibits school districts from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on the basis of religious viewpoints or expression.”
Then, in 2018, Daniels spearheaded HB 839, which requires schools to display the motto, “In God We Trust,” in a prominent place on campus. However, the evangelist’s previous attempt to introduce Bible classes, HB 195, failed to pass through the subcommittee stage earlier this year.
Speaking to NBC-2, students expressed mixed opinions on the latest legislative proposal. “I personally feel like a large majority of students wouldn’t care about the class,” one said. “I ask them, are they going to teach the Torah, the Quran and all the other stuff, because separation of church and state.”
Others felt more optimistic about the notion of elective Bible classes.
“Don’t shut something out that you haven’t tried,” said one high schooler, suggesting that the new course could “[open] up your mind” and help students develop more diverse friendships.
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Will Maule is a British journalist who has spent the past several years working as a digital news editor. Since earning a degree in international relations and politics, Will has developed a particular interest in covering ethical issues, human rights and global religious persecution. Will's work has been featured in various outlets including The Spectator, Faithwire, CBN News, Spiked, The Federalist and Christian Headlines. Follow him on Twitter at @WillAMaule.