Letters to the Editor

Letter: Florida’s public schools are no place for Bible classes

A state representative who thanks God for slavery and believes she can see demons is the main sponsor of a terrible bill (H.B. 341) that would require every Florida public school district to offer elective Bible classes.

Rep. Kim Daniels has called for these classes as a complement to plastering “In God We Trust” on public school walls, an unfortunate effort she spearheaded last year.

These classes transform all too easily into Sunday school curricula, which are unconstitutional and will only lead school districts into losing lawsuits. Sponsors of the bill evidently do not understand this. Rep. Brad Drake, for instance, co-sponsored the bill in 2019, and Sunday school is exactly how he pictures the class.

Daniels flatly rejected a suggestion to expand these classes to other religious texts, leaving no doubt which god she thinks students should be trusting and studying. A truly objective comparative study would require delving into other religion’s bibles, such as the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita — not to mention considering the views of the nation’s 26 percent who are nonbelievers.

Imagine the horror of lawmakers if this bill passed and it was taught in a legal manner, i.e., neutrally and historically. Students would then learn the books of the New Testament were selectively chosen by many different groups of men over time who disagreed wildly on which centuries-old stories would be included.

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The Bible class bill failed in 2019, and it looks like it will fail in 2020, too. The relevant Florida legislative committee will likely not meet again this year, effectively killing this and several other controversial bills. But the bill will quite certainly be back. Floridians should plan on giving it the cold shoulder it deserves.

Ryan D. Jayne,

staff attorney,

Freedom From Religion Foundation,

Madison, WI

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