A new law in Arizona will allow public schools to teach the Bible as an elective course. On April 17 Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed H.B. 2563 into law, paving the way for the course that will explore the Bible’s profound influence on America’s history and culture.
The course will allow for no proselytizing, but will address “the influence of the Old and the New Testaments on laws, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values, and culture,” reported the Arizona Republic.
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court banned religiously motivated Bible reading in public schools, but allowed that “the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities” as long as it is “presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.”
Republican State Representative Terri Proud, the bill’s sponsor, said such a course is important because students deserve to know about the overwhelming number of biblical references and allusions that pop up in everyday life, and the extent to which Scripture has influenced many aspects of American culture.
“It is everywhere around us, and to say that I don’t want my child exposed to that, then we might as well not have air and breathe because it is implemented into our society,” Proud said of the Bible. She pointed out that similar courses are being taught in public schools across the nation, and said that too many teachers are intimidated into thinking the Bible is off-limits.
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