Connect with us
Rep. Kim Daniels has more religious legislation in the hopper.

Influence

Bill would mandate Bible study classes in public high schools

Rep. Kim Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat known for championing legislation that brings religion into public schools, filed legislation Tuesday mandating high school-level Bible study electives.

That is, her bill (HB 195) would require — rather than just permit, as is the case now — high schools to offer an “objective study of religion.”

Such courses include:

— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament…”

— “A course on the New Testament…,” and

— “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”

They would still be electives: If the bill passes, however, the state’s public schools would have to offer these, but no one student would be required to take them.

Similar legislation is being considered or has been passed elsewhere.

In North Dakota, the legislature is mulling a mandatory semester-long course. And in Kentucky, the Bible Literacy Act is of special interest to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Daniels, a Christian evangelist, has successfully carried religious legislation before, drawing on support from Republicans and African-American Democrats:

HB 303, the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” passed in 2017.

The measure bans school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression,” and requires a school district “to adopt limited public forum policy & deliver a disclaimer at school events.”

— HB 839, a bill requiring school districts to display Florida’s motto “In God We Trust,” passed in 2018.

Florida Politics has reached out to Daniels’ office for comment on the recent legislation.

Meanwhile, Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU of Florida, says his group is watching this bill.

“There are acceptable ways to teach about the Bible: Schools can teach comparative religion classes or about the Bible’s relationship to literature, art or music.  However, it is exceedingly difficult to do so in a constitutionally permissible manner,” Bailey said.

“Ultimately, parents, not the government, should be in charge of religious education. To ensure one faith is not promoted over another in our public schools and to protect our students’ First Amendment rights, we’ll continue to monitor this bill to see how it progresses during this legislative session,” Bailey added.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

Nikki Fried may soon target stores selling CBD oil

Headlines

Lenny Curry defends using uniformed cops in political ads

Jax

Facepalm Facepalm

Alimony reform group hits new low with derogatory Facebook post

Emails & Opinions

On butt lifts and “Dr. Miami”

Emails & Opinions

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.