Written by Don Byrd

An Alabama Senator has proposed legislation that purports to authorize school districts to offer elective courses in the Bible to students in grades 6 – 12. Specifically, Senate Bill 14, proposed by Senator Tim Melton, would  create courses designed to:

(1) Teach students about Bible characters, poetry, and narratives that are useful for understanding history and contemporary society and culture, including art, music, social mores, oration, and public policy.
(2) Familiarize students with the following: a. The contents of the Bible. b. The history of the Bible. c. The literary style and structure of the Bible. d. The influence of the Bible on law, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values, and cultures.

The bill also requires teachers of such courses to comply with relevant state and federal law, and to refrain from showing favoritism or hostility toward any particular faith perspective. Huntsville’s WAAY reports on the Senator’s reasoning for the bill:

Melson… said he was approached by two people last year who wanted to teach the Bible locally for students, but they didn’t feel protected enough under current laws to do so.

“They were asked to teach a class but they didn’t feel like the statute was strong enough to support them. So there was an idea that getting a bill that just allows them and strengthens it in case they get challenged in court to teach the Bible as a literary course,” said Melson.

As I posted earlier about similar legislation in Virginia, Indiana, and Florida, these efforts are part of a troubling, coordinated campaign, known as “Project Blitz,” to incorporate religion into the public institutions, particularly public schools. The Baptist Joint Committee joined a coalition of advocates opposing the effort. As the BJC’s Amanda Tyler said, “Anything that might send a message to our children that you have to be a Christian to be a full American is extremely problematic,”