Many public school students in Iowa will have the opportunity of studying the Bible in class if a bill introduced in this legislative session passes.
Representative Dean Fisher of Montour, sponsor of HF 2031, says the bill would allow schools to offer elective Bible classes for grades 9-12; but it would not mandate they do so. The purpose of the course, as stated in the bill:
"... must be to provide students with knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, and to familiarize students with the contents, history, literary style and structure, and influence of the Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testament of the Bible."
The Republican lawmaker believes understanding the Bible from a historical perspective helps students understand America's foundation.
"It's undeniable that the Bible has had a huge impact on American history and, really, world history as well," he says. "And you really can't fully understand American history and American culture if you don't have some understanding of the Bible."
A number of people have opposed Fisher's bill, but he contends most have done so without reading and understanding the bill.
"Some people have an allergic, kneejerk-type of reaction to any mention of the Bible," he tells OneNewsNow. "They didn't understand that this is an elective course; they didn't understand that it's being taught purely from the aspect as literature."
Fisher also points out that under the legislation, schools wouldn't be permitted to endorse Christianity over other religions or to speak against other religions.
HF 2031 has 11 co-sponsors – all Republicans. It is currently assigned to the House Education Committee.