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A House panel on Tuesday endorsed a proposal that would require public schools to teach classes about the Bible if enough students ask.

House Bill 1626 by Rep. Joe Cloud, R-Russellville, would mandate that a school offer an "academic study of the Bible" if at least 15 students request it.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

State law already allows schools to offer the class as an elective, but does not require it. The class should consist of a "nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible and its influence on literature, art, music, culture, and politics," the law states.

The measure passed the committee on a split voice vote with two audible dissenters.

-- Hunter Field


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  • Knuckleball1
    March 13, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

    Will this never STOP...!!!!

    There is already a law that allows this... LEAVE it ALONE....

  • Upanddown
    March 13, 2019 at 11:22 a.m.

    Since there is bible study at church why needed in public schools?

  • Foghorn
    March 13, 2019 at 1:42 p.m.

    The class should be about world religions, not exclusively the Bible or Christianity. This is wholly unconstitutional for public schools to teach content exclusive to Christianity.

  • Upanddown
    March 13, 2019 at 4:47 p.m.

    How much Bible do people need? You get it in church on Sunday, Sunday school, Wednesday nights, and Bible study. No need to take up precious school time.

  • hogpaul
    March 14, 2019 at 1:33 p.m.

    Great idea, maybe we can finally find out what Jesus meant when he said the stars would fall from the sky and the heavens would be split open. He also said it would happen in their lifetime. Then we can find out who was wrong when he said he would be in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights, but John said he was only there for 2 days and 2 nights. Mathew Mark and Luke said it was 3 days and 2 nights.

  • BobfromMarion
    March 18, 2019 at 3:01 a.m.

    Here we go again. This bill explains what the purpose of a course about the Bible should be, but there is nothing about giving a scope and sequence chart for study to achieve the stated goals of the class. How is the state going to monitor that this course follow the stated purpose of the class?

    The Bible is
    A. Direct words of God written down by scribes
    B. Writers with inspiration from God
    C. Very Literal - Creation Story is seven 24 hour days.
    D. Has wonderful stories to explain basic truths

    And we can add E. F and so on and so forth. People might choose more than one of the choices depending on which part of the Bible is being discussed.

    I can see some students that are in the same class coming to blows with other students and perhaps also the teacher. What happens when the teacher views the Bible as a collection of Jewish and Christian literature, but some of the students view the Bible as direct words of God spoken to a scribe.

    What happens if no one can be found to teach this course?

    It is one thing for the state to allow a course on the Bible to be taught at school and requiring that a course about the Bible be taught in school. Mandating the teaching of Bible courses is not a good idea.