FLORENCE, Ala. -- An Alabama lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow schools to offer an elective course on bible studies.
This new bill is part of a string of bills that have popped up throughout the country this year. At least six states have introduced what are called 'Bible Literacy Bills,' including Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Senator Tim Melson, a Republican from Florence, introduced the bill. Melson was first elected in 2014 and is now using a law passed in Kentucky to model this bill.
The synopsis says it would allow public schools to offer elective courses focusing on the study of the Bible in grades 6-12.
Section 2 of the bill describes what the bible study class "should be designed to do the following:"
- Teach students about Bible characters, poetry, and narratives that are useful for understanding history and contemporary society and culture, including art, music, social mores, oration, and public policy.
- Familiarize students with the contents, history, literary style and structure of the Bible, along with the influence of the Bible on law, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values, and cultures.
- Teachers must maintain neutral and not favor, or disfavor, any religious, or non-religious perspectives of the students.
The bill also gives the school principal the ability to display artifacts, symbols, and texts of religious material throughout the school.
The Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the bill has "no useful purpose and is an invitation to lure school districts into a false sense of security to take unconstitutional actions."
Melson's bill is one of the first bills to be pre-filed for the legislative session, which begins in March.