Christian evangelist and Jacksonville Democrat Rep. Kim Daniels, founder of Spoken Word Ministries, Kimberly Daniels Ministries International and Word Bible College, has introduced a bill that requires public schools in Florida to teach elective courses in Bible study. This includes the study of both the Old and New Testament and Hebrew Scripture.
House Bill 341 mandates the teachings of elective courses including “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament, “A course on the New Testament,” and “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.”
“They would still be electives: If the bill passes, however, the state’s public schools would have to offer these, but no one student would be required to take them,” reads the statement published on Florida Politics.
The bill mandates that these courses “be included in Course Code Directory,” and shall it be approved, it will take effect July 2020. Aside from the courses, the bill also permits a “brief meditation period” at every school in Florida, according to Fox News.
The introduction of HB 341 elicited different reactions from students. One said students may not even bother taking any of the elective courses. Meanwhile, another expressed concerns that it raises questions about the separation of Church and State.
” I ask them, are they going to teach the Torah, the Quran and all the other stuff, because separation of Church and State,” the student said.
Regardless, there are also those who find the inclusion of Bible study in public schools in Florida as an eye-opener and a positive change. Caeley Wilson told NBC 2 that “it opens up friendships and opens up your mind pretty much.” It is something that students would not hurt to try.
Bible literacy is not something new to Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Similar religious legislations have also been passed in Florida under Daniels’ leadership and support from Republicans and African-American Democrats. These include House Bill 303 the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” of 2017 and the 2018 House Bill 839, that requires “school districts to display Florida’s motto “In God We Trust.”