The Arizona House recently passed a bill that would make Bible an elective course in many high schools throughout the state. This bill is now on its way to the Arizona Senate and if ratified would mandate the state’s Board of Education to develop a course for school systems to use. It would not force them to offer the class or mandate that any students take it.
While the United States Supreme Court has ruled that reading Bible scripture in schools is unconstitutional, they do allow its subject matter to be taught. In a landmark case decided in 1963, the high court stated that the Bible has “historical and literary value” and that it could be taught as such. This would be providing that its contents were presented “objectively and as part of a secular program of education.”
The proposed course would explore how the Bible has influenced our culture and society. According to the sponsors of this bill, studying this influence is important because “biblical references are everywhere”. A Bible elective could help students understand these references as well as the meaning and history behind them.
One of the reasons why Representative Terri Proud introduced this bill was out of concern for teachers. She claims that many teachers in her district are afraid to talk about their Christian faith or mention the Holy Bible. She also claims that Christian principles are what “binds the nation together as a whole”, and that this issue should not divide Democrats and Republicans.