A bill that would require Florida public high schools to offer an elective course on the Old Testament and New Testament advanced through its first subcommittee on Wednesday, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
If the bill passes through the legislature, all public high schools in Florida would have to offer the class as an elective, reports the newspaper.
Several members of the House PreK-12 Quality subcommittee voiced their concerns about the potential unconstitutionality of the legislation, specifically questioning whether the bill would follow its section title, “An objective study of religion,” as it focuses on just one religion.
“I don’t know how you can have religious neutrality if your course is focused on just one holy book,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), who suggested she would be more inclined to back the legislation if it included scriptures and texts from other religions.
State Rep. Kim Daniels (D), the bill’s sponsor, said she would not be softening the language in the legislation.
“It’s for the study of the Bible,” Daniels said, according to the news outlet.
She argued that the class is “simply a literacy course” meant to study the “best-selling book of all time.”
Daniels added at the time that she would be updating the bill and would introduce it at the next committee hearing.
Earlier this year President Trump signaled his support of states offering Bible classes.
Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2019
Similar measures have been introduced in Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, and Virginia.