Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes

Published February 13th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


The Kentucky Post reports the state of Kentucky is considering allowing the Christian Bible to be studied in school.  

From state Senator Bowen:

No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it’s had so much influence on our society and all of Western civilization.

Senator Bowen sponsored the Bill “which would direct the state Department of Education to develop a course curriculum around the Bible, which local school councils could then approve for teaching in their schools.”

The bill was approved by Kentucky’s State Senate and now goes to the House for review.

Ostensibly the purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the teaching of the bible is taught in the context of literature or as a part of culture.  That would be nice.  Of course this blurring of the separation of church and state will cause overreaching by those who feel its their Duty to God as it has in the past.

I would love to see a comparative religion course made mandatory in public schools across the US.  

94 Responses to “Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes”

  1. tekHedd says:

    “I would love to see a comparative religion course made mandatory in public schools across the US. ”

    Heh, this brings to mind a conversation with my mother, which went approximately like this:

    Mom: Well, I think they /should/ teach about the bible in school!

    Me: I agree! Comparative religion should be a required high school subject.

    Mom: What a lovely day it is.

  2. Gordon_UK says:

    Well in a way it’s no different from the course offered by Durham University on Harry Potter.

    The creator of the course Dr Martin Richardson said “It seeks to place the series in its wider social and cultural context and will explore some fundamental issues such as the moral universe of the school”

    Sound familiar?

    • Sean Boyd says:

      Except, of course, that Dr Martin Richardson doesn’t advocate the position that Harry James Potter, of number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, is a real live person who died (sort of) to save the world from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. (Damn, I know he’s not real, and I can’t even TYPE his name.) And I don’t think anyone would take Dr. Richardson seriously, if he were to do so. On the other hand, it is accepted as quite reasonable to advocate that a Jewish carpenter died a brutal death at the hands of Roman soldiers 2,000 years ago, only to rise from the dead, all for the express purpose of saving our immortal souls. Both stories are fiction, but only one is widely treated as such.

      There is no reason to believe whatsoever that any such class in Kentucky high schools will not widely devolve into advocating Xtianity, even if prohibited from doing so. This isn’t the same as teaching a Philosophy of Harry Potter class: no one really expects that those courses will turn into indoctrination into the wizarding world (except a few Xtian fundies with nothing better to do than to rail against children’s literature.) We can debate the merit of Dr. Richardson’s course (perhaps it is a miracle that so many students have actually read something other than Teen Beat) but there is no conflation of fiction and reality in its conception.

  3. BlackBard says:

    This is so disappointing. It’s almost enough to make me give up drinking Kentucky Bourbon.

  4. UUniversal Love says:

    We didn’t study much of the bible directly at the schools I attended, but senior year we were expected to know biblical references (in Steinbeck, etc), which I agree are significant to our history and culture. I’d love to see comparative religion taught in school. Religion is not necessary for spirituality (and I frequently see religion devoid of it), but I believe spirituality is necessary for a concientious people. Teaching religion broadly, taking care to respect the best parts of all faiths, would greatly improve the spirituality of young people in ways that narrow indoctrination by definition cannot. Doctrine kills the spirit. The class should include nonreligious philosophies as well.
    When the bible is described as the “most important book ever written”, though, to me that’s a signal of what the class is inteded to be.

    • UUniversal Love says:

      By the way, in the late 19th and early 20th century the government endorsed Christian schools to “educate” the “heathen” populace. Secularists did a good job of destroying tribal culture as well, but they were secularists heavily influenced by the dominant idea at the time that even though all religion would eventually be obsolete, Christianity was the most “evolved’ form of religion. Removing the common religion broke up tribal unity and facilitated assimilation.
      Christianity is central to the history of Western civilization because the civilization it grew with developed powerful weapons and instigated cultural genocide.

  5. BigBoneDP from OZ says:


    I’m just glad I live down under in OZtralia.
    We play footy (Aussie rules football), drink beer, eat a lot of barbequed meat – including the Kangaroo and Emu which are both part of our National Emblem, spend a lot of time at the beach and it’s only the unfortunates who go to church.
    Not sure this is all TOTALLY relevant, but we don’t have religion taught in our schools.


    • Keith says:

      Guess I can only talk from a SA point of view but see my comments below

    • stylusmobilus says:

      Funny how there’s a lot of Pastafarian Aussies. Did you know our most popular home cooked meal is now Spaghetti Bolognese?


      • Keith says:

        With kangaroo mince.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          Gee that’d be a gamey bolognese.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen says:

      Greetings, BigBoneDP, and a hearty Aarrr to you,

      Maybe you can clarify this for me: I once heard Aussie football described as “very much like nuclear war: no winners; only survivors”. True?

      Regards & all, and rAmen,

      Thomas L. Nielsen

  6. Mird says:

    Thank the FSM that I live in England. I’d hate to live in America, especially after it becomes what was described in NIN’s Year Zero album — a totalitarian, religious state. Because honestly? It’s looking like it’s going that way.

    • Keith says:

      I would tend to agree with you on that one and I can see Australia heading that way too. When I went to primary school in Australia we used to have RI classes. Fortunately, not long before I went to high school they were abandoned. Now the government wants Australians to pay taxes to have clerics in our schools as “councillors”. That way the kiddies get the double advantage of being sexually abused and religiously indoctrinated. It won’t be long before RI is reintroduced. It is already a mandatory component in schools run on religious lines. “Educating for Eternity” is the motto of a school just down the road from where I live. I wonder if it would be possible to take them to court for false advertising?

    • Sean Boyd says:

      Some days, it feels that way from the inside, too.

  7. Avery says:

    There are already history courses that include the topic except on a level that encompasses many more religions. If the bible should be studied anywhere aside from history; the English class is the only other place, possibly under the topic of notable works of fiction.

  8. Ronster says:

    I don’t have a problem with a bill that allows a school to offer a christian bible study curriculum, as long as it is not mandatory for the school district to develop and offer it. It should also only be offered as an elective in high school or college, not at any lower level of education. If the bible, both old and new testaments, are studied in their entirety, I think the christian religion will lose members. When the hatefullness, mysogeny, butchery and downright physically impossible fairy tales are exposed to those that only read what their clergy told them to read, I think many will question the fallacies they once held so dear. The ones that don’t question them are close minded and a lost cause anyway.

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