New Bill Would Make It Mandatory for Florida Public Schools to Offer Bible Classes

Image: via AP

In case you were under the misguided impression there was still some semblance of the separation of church and state in this quickly deteriorating nation, a new proposed bill in Florida would require public schools to offer Bible classes. Betsy must love it!

The Hill reports that the bill would make it mandatory for every public school district in Florida to “offer elective courses relating to religion, Hebrew Scriptures and the Bible to students in grades nine through 12.”

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The bill seems to attempt to skirt that whole church-and-state separation by mandating these classes offer an “objective study of religion,” plus electives are not required courses, and, as it is written, schools must “follow all state and federal laws and guidelines in maintaining religious neutrality and accommodating the diverse religious views, traditions, and perspectives of all students in the school.” 

It is, in fact, perfectly legal to teach courses on religion at public schools, provided those courses do not make value judgments on one religion or school of thought being better than another. Still, it’s sticky to require any religious courses at a government-funded institution, particularly ones that seem so focused on Judeo-Christian teachings.

Moreover, the bill was proposed by Representative Kimberly Daniels, a Democrat who has made some, uh, questionable statements on the record. Per local NBC affiliate News Channel 8:

Daniels, who founded a church in Jacksonville and wrote several books about religion, is known for her colorful remarks on the topic.

She once reportedly claimed “Jews own everything,” and thanked God for slavery.

“And let me say this to you — I thank God for slavery … If it wasn’t for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa, worshipping a tree,” Daniels once told her congregation, according to reports.

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The bill was filed last week; if it passes, it goes into effect in July.

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