By Hemant Mehta
Like several other Republican-dominated states using the Project Blitz playbook, Alabama is on the verge of passing a “Bible literacy” bill.
In theory, these classes would be fine since they’re intended to teach the Bible in an objective way — it’s hard to understand literary allusions, for example, without a basic understanding of biblical mythology — but too often these bills are just vehicles for proselytizing. Teachers might promote the Bible instead of treating it objectively, and the classes themselves suggest an authority to the Bible that isn’t extended to other holy books.
The Alabama bill, SB 14, goes even further than most.
At first, it’s fine. It allows optional classes on the Old Testament, New Testament, or both, as well as a more comprehensive course on “religious history.” The bill also requires teachers to be objective and neutral.
But it also says classes can discuss the influence of the Bible on “morals” and “values,” permits principals to display “artifacts, monuments, symbols, and texts”… and says school boards cannot be sued over any “liability exposure created by this act.”
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