Missouri House approves Bible class in public schools

Posted: Updated:

bill introduced Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho) and passed by the Missouri House would allow school districts to offer study of the Bible as an elective class.

Baker is a minister, missionary, former professor and the dean of students at Ozark Bible Institute in Neosho. The bill “encourages public high schools to offer an elective course to high school students regarding the Bible and require all world literature courses to include information on wisdom literature from the Bible.”

If approved by the Missouri Senate and Gov. Mike Parson, a social studies teacher would teach the course and it would be up to individual school districts to offer the class as an elective.

“The resolution declares that the purpose of such courses is to teach students the biblical content, characters, and narratives of the Bible that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture,” the bill reads.

“The resolution urges the offering of such courses if the courses do not endorse or favor any particular religion, are taught by teachers selected without inquiry into religious beliefs or lack thereof, allow students to choose their preferred translation of the Bible, and award commensurate course credits.”

The bill also urges school districts that would choose to offer the class to make teacher training available regarding best practices for teaching the Bible in a public school setting.

“The resolution declares that no state entity, school district, or local educational agency should prevent the teaching of the Bible if the courses meet guidelines consistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the bill reads.

The current Missouri law allows for books like the Bible to be used as a reference in a classroom.