'Bible bill': Florida considers making public school religion course mandatory

A recently proposed bill in Florida would require public schools in the state to offer Bible study classes.

Current state laws allow Florida public schools to offer Bible courses, but a new bill is going to make them a requirement.

Though House Bill 341 wouldn’t force students to take a Bible class, it would require all public schools to offer them in the curricula.

The classes would cover both the New Testament and the Old Testament, but a concern is which version would be taught in school.

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It’s also unclear which translation would be used.

According to the Florida House of Representatives, the bill is: “an act relating to the study of the Bible and religion… requiring each school district to offer specified courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures, and the Bible to certain students as elective courses; requiring such courses be included in the Course Code Directory.”

Speaking to NBC 2, local high school student Jake Welling said: “It’s sort of forcing people to be carrying around a bible in school, and to have to bring it out during school, to learn about specific Christian teachings, could be a violation of students’ rights.”

“Don’t shut something out that you haven’t tried,” another student, Caeley Wilson, told the broadcast station. “It opens up friendships and opens up your mind pretty much.”

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Jacksonville Democrat Rep. Kim Daniels, a Christian Evangelist, was the first to introduce the bill to the state.

As yet, Florida lawmakers have said they need more time to look into the bill.

If passed, it’ll go into effect in July 2020.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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