The Wyoming Legislature is well on its way to passing a measure that some worry toes the line between church and state.
House Bill 130 provides for elective bible classes in public high schools throughout the state. Critics of the bill point out the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that public schools may offer religious courses for academic, but not devotional, value.
The Casper Star Tribune reports Republican Rep. Stephen Watt, of Rock Springs, said he has no intentions of advocating for or against a specific faith.
Additionally, language in the bill expressly communicates the courses, if offered, should be only to familiarize students with the content of the Bible and serve as an objective look at culture, literature and art.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports House Education Committee Chairman, Matt Teeters, of Lingle, said the bill was introduced because there are schools in Wyoming that want to offer Biblical courses, but believe they are not allowed to do so. The law, he says, verifies what is already legal.
The bill draws suspicion because it only mentions the Old and New Testaments as being valid topics for high school elective classes. The Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, and countless other religious texts are also fair game for academic curriculum per the Supreme Court, but are not mentioned the bill.
In the House, the bill was passed by a margin of 29 votes. Local representatives Rosie Berger voted in favor of the legislation, while Mike Madden and John Patton voted Nay.