State Capitol News
9:21 am
Tue January 31, 2012

AZ House Moves Bill Allowing Bible Studies in Public Schools

Legislation approved Monday by the House Education Committee would allow schools to offer courses on the history and literature of the Old and New Testaments.

Rep. Terri Proud said this is simply a recognition that so much of what is part of Western culture comes from the Bible.

Rep. Justin Pierce recounted, "One of the senior partners I was working with said, you know, I'm not really sure about that mediator. He tends to split the baby. I knew what that meant. But I wonder, without an understanding of the story of wise King Solomon if I might have thought that senior partner was a bit crazy."

Anjali Abraham, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, said it's OK to discuss the Bible in an objective and neutral way.

But she said, " There are churches and denominations that take a very literal view of the Bible. They would look to large sections of the Bible as representing literal fact or historical fact. There are other churches that take a more metaphorical approach to the Bible. They wouldn't view the events discussed in the Bible quite so literally."

Even supporters of the bill like Rep. John Fillmore worried about its implications, noting the law limits discussion to the Old and New Testaments.

"What about the Book of Mormon?" he asked.  "Is that acceptable? Where do we draw the line?"

Despite his concerns, however, Fillmore helped move the bill out of committee.