The slippery slope of Florida public education including Bible study

The slippery slope of Florida public education including Bible study 

Excerpt: Florida lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require every public high school in the Sunshine State to offer Bible studies class as an elective. 

But the bill has come under fire by those who claim it's unconstitutional. 

Florida State Democratic Rep. Kim Daniels, who is a former preacher and self-proclaimed "demon-buster," proposed the bill. 

Daniels pushed for getting the state's motto "In God We Trust" displayed in every Florida public school last year, and now she's trying to get the Bible back in the classroom as well. 

The bill calls for "an objective study of religion," and "an objective study of the Bible, including, but not limited to, a course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament of the Bible; a course on the New Testament of the Bible 

Bottom Line: This bill which made the rounds in Florida last week has now gained national attention and may now be the highest profile piece of legislation considered in our state this year. As a result, I wanted to dig a little deeper into what this, isn’t, and the potential unintended consequences.  

What this bill is...  

  • Would mandate that all public high schools in Florida offer Bible study (as described above) as an elective  

What this bill isn’t... 

  • A mandate that all public high school students be taught about the Bible 

Those very important distinctions have been blurred in the initial reporting of this proposal. For those reasons, and despite the noise you might hear from some, this would be on solid Constitutional ground were it to pass. Despite the myth and misinformation of many there’s no such thing as a separation of church and state. But with that being said is it a good thing? 

The slippery slope with this one puts a slip and slide to shame. Let’s start with this point.  

  • Local school districts could do this independent of a state mandate right now 

So locally if parents want to make this a priority they can. It doesn’t require the state taking action to do so. Next up...  

  • Who’d teach the classes and from what perspective? 

Would these classes be taught by history teachers? Would they be taught by priests or preachers? What about Rabbi’s? Point is even with a religion like Christianity the messenger's interpretation can vary let alone the difference in perspectives regarding the old and new testaments. What if an atheist were to teach these classes? There’s a difference between world religion courses and what we’re talking about here. Which takes me to my next point... 

  • If you’re Christian and supportive of this idea generally would you feel differently if it were a different religion being perpetuated?  

This is the slipperiest slope of them all. If the answer is no than you probably shouldn’t be supporting this idea. The reason is pretty straight-forward. There’s no separation of church and state but that goes for any church, temple, mosque, etc. Public schools shouldn’t be taking steps to prevent students from honoring their faith and values. There's a difference about teaching them. Which takes me to my final point... 

I’m all about more faith being instilled in our society today. We desperately need a restoration of values and morality in our society in my opinion. But as always there’s a right and a less than ideal way of doing things. What I’d prefer to see happen is complete access to school vouchers for all parents. This would greater enable parents who’d like to prioritize faith as part of grade school education but can’t afford private education to do so. It’d also further encourage competition and challenge the status quo of the current public education establishments which is desperately needed across the state – especially in places like Broward. 

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