A Virginia legislator wants to make it a requirement for schools to offer electives that teach the Bible. Senator Bill Carrico, a Republican representative from Fries, has filed several new bills for the 2019 legislative year. Most notably, Senate Bill 1502. The bill would require school boards to offer classes in the Hebrew scriptures/Old Testament, the New Testament or both as credited electives in grades 9-12.

The bill’s purpose is to introduce “students to biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy.” The bill does include that the classes would not use religious text and would maintain religious neutrality.

In 1969 I was in the 3rd grade at Joseph Martin Elementary School on the south side of Martinsville. Every Wednesday a retired lady would come visit our class and read the Bible to us, share a Bible story, and talk about it. Every year at Joseph Martin Elementary School the Gideons would come by and give every student in the school a Bible of their very own.

I’m not sure how to take this bill. As a Christian, passing the word of God off as poetry while maintaining religious neutrality may be worse than not having it at all.