Now that Kentucky is on the verge of getting sued over its elective Bible courses in public schools, because the lack of guidance and oversight has allowed those classes to descend into Sunday School-style indoctrination, a West Virginia legislator has decided he wants in on some of the fun, too.
Republican State Senator Mike Azinger has sponsored Senate Bill 252, which would require every public, private, parochial, and denominational school to offer elective courses in Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. (But not the Qur’an or any other religious text, because… oh, you know damn well why.)
In theory, it shouldn’t be a problem to teach those books as literature, to talk about their influence on world history, and to discuss references to them in art and music. You can do that with Greek mythology, too. But in practice, when these kinds of classes have been offered, they are almost never taught objectively. The people who teach the courses usually have no special qualifications. And so the parting of the Red Sea, and the resurrection of Jesus, and all the miracles are taught as if they’re true instead of simply stories. That’s why some Kentucky school districts may be on the receiving end of lawsuits if they don’t fix the courses quickly.
The bigger problem with this particular bill, however, is that the classes would be required. West Virginia districts couldn’t just opt in if they wanted to. They’d be forced to make these classes available to students, whether or not they had a qualified teacher available.
For now, the bill is in the WV Senate’s Education Committee. For the sake of the taxpayers, let’s hope it stays right there.
By the way, Azinger also proposed another bill last week, SB 257, that would prohibit the government from punishing mental health professionals who offered gay conversion therapy. The language in the bill protects counselors whose work involves “reducing, eliminating, resolving, or addressing unwanted sexual attractions, behaviors, identity, mannerisms, or expressions.” Even though there’s no evidence that such therapies work. But who needs evidence when you have Republican Jesus on your side?
Azinger isn’t interested in doing what’s best for his constituents. He just wants to enact a conservative Christian agenda and steamroll over anyone in his path. And given that West Virginia is a state dominated by Republicans in all branches of government, these bills won’t get much opposition.
If you live in the state, contact your legislators anyway and tell them to oppose these bills before it’s too late.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Philip for the link)