By Erin Richards // USA Today

This is an excerpt. Click here to read the full article.

A wave of “Bible literacy” bills emerging in state legislatures would allow more students in public high schools to study the Old and New Testaments.

Proposals from lawmakers in at least six states would require or encourage public schools to offer elective classes on the Bible’s literary and historical significance. That’s a more narrow focus than what’s typically covered in courses on world religions.

Critics say the groups are trying to reshape America by cementing pro-Christian messages in public schools.

“They have put out a more than 100-page playbook that lays out very plainly their strategy into tiers of bills that they want to pass, and the last tier is promoting a particular religious point of view for legislation,” said Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which advocates for keeping government out of matters pertaining to faith.

The ACLU provided a copy of the 2018 version of the playbook, called the “Report and Analysis on Religious Freedom Measures Affecting Prayer and Faith in America.” Model legislation and talking points within it advocate for preserving the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and enshrining conservative values in public policy. For instance, the groups say marriage and child adoption should be practiced only by heterosexual, married couples.

As for the Bible literacy proposals, Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee said that lawmakers who have busy legislative calendars may sign on to bills that look innocuous but may further a troubling agenda.

“Anything that might send a message to our children that you have to be a Christian to be a full American is extremely problematic,” she said.

This is an excerpt. Click here to read the full article.