May 2011 Church & State | AU Bulletin

An Arkansas bill that would have allowed the Bible to be taught in public high schools was derailed in the state Senate.HB 1032, introduced by Rep. Denny Altes (R-Fort Smith), would have allowed public schools to offer “nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible and its influence on literature, art, music, culture and politics.” Altes is a foe of church-state separation. He told the local media that “this nation was founded on Christian principles,” and most of the founding fathers were Christians. He also said that he believes the Bible is literally true and that schools should teach it as literature and history. “The Bible is the oldest, most popular, the most accurate history book on the face of the earth,” said Altes. “Sometimes I’ll be reading my Bible and I’ll run across something in there like some tribe, and there will be footnotes and they’ll say archaeologists thought for years this tribe didn’t exist, and then they got to studying, got to looking, and they found it, you know? So it’s true, yes.” Altes’ bill passed the House of Representatives, but was defeated in the Senate Education Committee.