Bible bill passes education committee | Arkansas Blog

Bible bill passes education committee



A bill that would direct the State Board of Education to develop and adopt curriculum standards for an elective "academic study of the Bible course" in public schools passed out of the House Education Committee this morning. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith, sponsored the bill. Rita Sklar of ACLU Arkansas, who has a background in religious studies, spoke against the measure. She said the ACLU had fears that such a course might lend itself to proselytizing.

"I think a course properly taught would be invaluable to students," Sklar told the committee. "We have science classes in Arkansas in which teachers cannot refrain from teaching religion instead of science. I think it would ge a great strain on small schools who perhaps think they will not get a lot of scrutiny or don’t quite understand the guidelines. I think it would be hard for them to do it in a way that followed the strictures of the statute and it would put them in danger of litigation."

Courts have said that such courses would have to be taught on the secondary, and not primary, levels. The bill passed on a voice vote.

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