Bible bill passes in West Virginia House

Published: Feb. 25, 2020 at 7:42 PM EST
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A bill that would allow the Bible to be taught in West Virginia high schools is one step closer to reality.

The Bible bill passed 73-26 Tuesday in the West Virginia House. It would give school districts the green light to offer Bible courses as an elective in high school.

"Nothing compares to the impact, not even the other religious texts that you are referring to have had near the impact on our culture as the Bible has had," said the bill's sponsor, Delegate Kevan Bartlett, a Republican.

Bartlett says the courses offered would be purely instructional and it would give students a chance to understand the impact the Bible has on language, the American Constitution and other parts of American culture.

"Theology needs to be done in the church house but this is acknowledging that the Bible has had an impact," Bartlett said.

Not everyone is on board with the outcome. Elliot Namay is an Orthodox Christian living in Charleston. He argues you cannot pick and choose religious doctrines covered in schools.

"If we are going to codify the Bible into classes like that ,then we also need to codify the Quoran, Bhagavad Gita, the I Ching, Native-American sacred texts or any sacred texts," Namay said.

Rabbi Victor Urecki from the Congregation B'Nai Jacob Synagogue says to classify sacred texts as literature would mean taking the sacred aspect out of the text itself.

"That's why I would hate to be a teacher trying to go through that minefield of trying to be both respectful of the text but also treat it as literature and a historical document," Urecki said.

He says if one religious text is studied it must cite other sacred religious texts equally.

"You would have to have the right textbook that would talk about all religions as equally significant and equally worthy of study and contemplative research," Urecki said.

The Bible Bill is now headed to the Senate for debate.