Growing number of states pushing ‘Bible literacy’ classes in public schools

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A growing number of states are considering bringing the Bible back to the classroom.

At least six states -- Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia -- have introduced legislation this year pushing for public schools to offer Bible literacy classes.

Supporters say learning the basics of the Bible is an important part of American history -- and students should not be denied learning its tenets just because someone might be offended.

The laws being proposed do not make Bible classes mandatory, but they will be offered as electives.

"Yeah, there's a separation of church and state, but there's not a separation of books from education," North Dakota State Rep. Aaron McWilliams, who co-sponsored a Bible bill in his state, told Fox & Friends Monday morning. "If we don't have a good foundational understanding of this, we're not going to understand how the Founding Fathers of our country and other countries put it together to have the world we have today."

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Even President Trump has weighed in on the issue. He celebrated the efforts in a tweet Monday morning.

"Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible," Trump wrote. "Starting to make a turn back? Great!"

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But critics call the moves "unconstitutional."

"State legislators should not be fooled that these bills are anything more than part of a scheme to impose Christian beliefs on public schoolchildren," Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and States, said in a statement.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law a bill that allowed public schools to add Bible literacy classes in 2017. But in 2018, all the state that proposed similar legislation -- Alabama, Iowa, and West Virginia -- came up short.

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Legislators say they are not deterred.

"Without allowing a Bible into the schools, without allowing a Quran or any other religious text in the school, we look at establishing a religion of secularism in our schools without having anything else," McWilliams said.

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The proposed bills are reportedly linked to an initiative called Project Blitz that is coordinated by a variety of conservative Christian groups, including the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation and the National Legal Foundation, USA Today reported. The bills also include several proposals to add "In God We Trust" posters in the classroom.

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Opponents of the bills argue Trump and conservatives on the right are pandering to their base and not actually trying to pass legislation they expect to become law. They believe the state bill won't pass the legislation.