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A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills”.
Legislation mandating that public schools offer optional classes about the Bible has been making its way through several states. The problem isn’t only in the introduction of religion in school, but also in the fact that they insist on the study of the Bible exclusively. In 2017, Kentucky became the first state to make a law requiring the classes. Eleven states currently have bills pending that would teach the Bible in schools but not allow for texts from atheists or other religions to be offered, according to an analysis by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a group that opposes them. A new Hill-HarrisX survey finds that only 12% of Americans support the idea of Bible classes when other religions don’t receive the same treatment.
As the Hill reports, a number of states are in the process of passing new laws to require public schools to offer Bible history classes but a new poll finds that the vast majority of Americans would prefer that other religious and atheist books also be included in such courses, or that they not be taught at all.
A third of respondents, 33 percent, said states should require schools to offer new history classes on all major religions, with a little over half of that group — 17 percent of the total sample — saying the class topics should also include the history of atheism.
Nineteen percent of survey participants said schools should not be allowed to teach students about any religious books, while 18 percent said that schools should be able to determine what courses to make available about religion or atheism.
Seventeen percent of respondents said they were unsure what their opinion on the matter was.
“Most of the time in polling, we don’t see ‘unsure’ answers close to 20 percent like it was in this particular poll,” Natalie Jackson, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV on Friday. “I just think there’s no real consensus right now on the type of policy.”
The support for Bible (and only Bible) classes is 15% for people without college degrees, but it drops to 6% when you ask college graduates. There’s also a political party divide: 22% of Republicans support Bible classes compared to 6% each for Democrats and Independents.
Making any another religious book mandatory in schools would make the Christian Right furious but when it’s their holy book, it’s perfectly acceptable.