New Florida bill would require public schools to teach Bible classes
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A newly proposed bill in Florida would make Bible classes required in public schools, WBBH reports.
Bible classes can already be offered in public schools under current Florida state law, but they are not a requirement.
House Bill 341 was introduced by a Jacksonville democrat Christian evangelist who introduced it last year when it didn’t go anywhere.
If passed, it would give students the opportunity to take classes that teach the Old and New Testaments.
The bill is stirring up debate among supporters and detractors alike.
“I ask them, are they going to teach the Torah, the Quran and all the other stuff because separation of church and state,” said Carolina Holtz, a student who disagrees with the bill.
Another student, Caeley Wilson, believes the classes would be beneficial.
“Don’t shut something out that you haven’t tried,” Wilson said. “It opens up friendships and opens up your mind pretty much.”
Even among supporters, divisive issues have arisen. Since the bill says students aren’t’ required to use a specific translation, supporters wonder which translation will be used in classes.
“As a Christian, I feel that is wrong unless you’re going to teach everyone about every religion,” said Angel Muse, a student.
Detractors say the bill is an attempt to put Bible study in public schools.
“Sort of forcing people to be carrying around a Bible in school and have to bring it out during school to learn about Christian specific teachings could be a violation of student’s rights,” said Jake Welling, a student.
Florida lawmakers say they need more time to study the bill.
It will go into effect in 2020 if it passes.