The Constitution is clear on this matter, however, stating that the government cannot support one religion over another. Baker attempts, with a bit of shocking cover-up, to advance the teaching of Christian doctrine in public schools. It doesn’t matter whether the class is optional. A major problem is the lack of course offerings for students who want to learn, for example, Islam, Judaism or even atheism. This absence intrinsically implies favoring the teachings of one religion over others.
And even if the class did not violate the First Amendment, what sort of Christian interpretation did Baker think should be taught? Should the course give more time to Catholic beliefs rather than Protestant interpretations? Considering that Baker wants the Old and New Testaments to be taught, would the teachings of Judaism be introduced during the unity of the Old Testament?
The problem with the entanglement of church and state is that the knot inevitably tightens as the instructors responsible for teaching this course would offer interpretation as soon as they opened their mouths.
It is undeniable that the influence that the Bible has had in this country or in the world, but public schools should never supplant churches as the proper place for teaching biblical interpretations.
A course in religious studies is a good option to allow in schools – something that could offer a comprehensive, fair, and historical look at the significant influence that religion has had and continues to have on humanity. Baker’s legislation, however, should never have been passed out of committee. The House should follow the lead of other state legislatures across the country – and the Constitution – and reject this bill.
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