You already know that the Kentucky legislature is considering the nation’s first creationism bill of 2011. As we said in our post about that distinctive accomplishment:
Kentucky can be proud. Not only are they the home of the mind-boggling Creation Museum, the brain child of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), but now they’ve got the first creationist bill of the year cooking in their legislature. Maybe they should change their state’s motto to: Kentucky — First in Creationism!
But Kentucky isn’t merely enjoying their well-earned reputation as a center of creationism. Now they’re pondering an additional law that will take the next logical step. In the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, we read Kentucky Senate committee advances bill to teach Bible classes in public schools.
The story is a week old. It’s about Senate Bill 56, which — if passed — permits bible classes in the state’s public schools. The article is very brief; other than informing us of the bill’s existence, the news is this:
The Senate Education Committee approved the measure on Thursday, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.
Here’s a link to the legislature’s page on Senate Bill 56. And here are links to the legislature’s pages for the bill’s sponsors: Joe Bowen (R), a partner in Bowen Tire Co., and John Schickel (R), a retired policeman, and Jerry P. Rhoads (D), a lawyer, and Mike Wilson (R), General Manager, WCVK Christian Family Radio.
This is the text of their bill, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:
The same link that gives us the text of the bill indicates what we’ve already learned from the Courier-Journal — that on 03 February, the Senate’s Education committee reported the bill favorably. Now it goes to the Rules committee.
We note that the bible classes would be elective. We have no idea if this kind of state-sponsored and taxpayer financed education is constitutional in Kentucky, but we found this provision in the Kentucky Constitution:
Bill of Rights, Section 5: No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
It strikes us that a law which authorizes teaching the bible in public school, and which mentions no scripture of any other religion, does indeed give preference to a religious system, but that’s up to the Kentucky legislature and the judges of that state. We’ll be watching to see how things work out.
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