March 2018 Church & State | AU Bulletin

So-called “Bible literacy” classes that are being taught in some Kentucky public schools violate church-state separation by promoting Christianity, asserts the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The classes came into being after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) signed HB 128 into law last year. The measure allows public schools to offer a Bible class as an elective. At the time, Americans United sent Bevin a letter expressing concern and urged him to veto the bill.

The ACLU of Kentucky reviewed some of the classes and found that they promoted conservative versions of Christianity. The group sent a letter to the state Department of Education asking officials to have a “clear, concise and controlled guidance for Kentucky’s schoolteachers” on how to teach “Bible literacy” classes.

“Religious education is best left to parents, not schools or government officials,” the ACLU letter read. “We continue to believe that Bible literacy courses have no place in our state’s public schools.”

Education Department spokeswoman Rebecca Blessing res­ponded by saying the state is working on the statewide academic standards for the Bible literacy classes and that “it is up to each public school district to ensure the curri­cu­lum used in any classes allowed under HB 128 abides with the let­ter of the law and the tenets established by con­stitutional law.”