According to WHSV-TV, the West Virginia state Senate is considering a bill that would require all schools to provide an elective course on the Bible, covering either Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament, or the New Testament.
The legislation, known as Senate Bill 252, has already been sent to the Senate Education Committee, and should it become law, the Bible electives would be made available at all grade levels.
SB 252, which was introduced by Republican state Sens. Mike Azinger and Sue Cline, would require “federal and state laws to be followed regarding religious neutrality, while accommodating the diverse religious views of students,” and would allow students to choose which courses they would like to take.
Furthermore, SB 252 states that, according to federal law, the courses “may not endorse, favor, or promote, or disfavor or show hostility toward, any particular religion or nonreligious faith or religious perspective.”
Naturally, there are mixed feelings about the legislation. Nonetheless, perhaps the most notable feeling is that of the ACLU, which believes that the offering of such electives violates the Constitution.
That’s right. Eli Baumwell, policy director for the ACLU of West Virginia, expressed to WDTV that he believes the classes are not such a good idea.
“We know from experience that when these courses are offered even as an elective, there can be a lot of social pressure and even pressure from teachers and school administrators,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mark A. Staples, pastor at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmont, has a very different perspective and expressed his opinion on the classes.
“It could be so helpful for students, not so much for promoting a particular type of religion but I think there’s a lot of historical as well as biblical pieces that can be very important for students to understand,” he said.
Should this legislation pass through the Senate Election Committee and become law, one thing is for certain: It would be a huge victory for conservatives and religious freedom.