Oklahoma bill to protect schools wanting to offer Bible electives

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

MUSTANG, Okla. (Christian Examiner) -- After at least one district last year faced opposition from outside groups to its policy of letting students voluntarily sign up for a Bible elective, the Oklahoma State Senate has drafted a bill that could provide legal protection to schools that wish to offer religion or Bible courses.

According to the Huffington Post, State Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) introduced Senate Bill 48 proposing that schools could not be sued for offering "an elective course in the objective study of religion or the Bible."

Last year, Mustang Public Schools in Oklahoma canceled an elective Bible course featuring curriculum developed by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green after the anti-Christian groups, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and the D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, took issue with the curriculum.

The course, which was approved as an elective in April 2014 was set to be available in schools this January, but the district dropped it to avoid the issue of legal liability.

The class reportedly had captured the interest of about ten percent of the 1,714 students enrolled at Mustang High School.

"The district projected that there were going to be between 20-30 students interested in the elective. In actuality, 180 students signed up," Loveless told Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. "They were extremely disappointed in having the class cancelled."

Loveless also told the newspaper he drafted the bill after constituents asked him to do so.

"I don't see anything wrong (with a provision) that gives local school districts the ability to study the historical aspects of the Bible. That's my reasoning for the bill. It is not a forced class and this would not be a 'Sunday School' type course. We are not endorsing one religion over the other," he said.