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Missouri Schools May Allow Studying The Bible As Elective

Public schools may be able to study the Bible as an elective class if a bill in the Missouri House passes. Currently, public schools can use the Bible and other religious texts as references, but a bill heard in the Missouri House on Tuesday would allow an entire elective class devoted to learning the Old and New Testament.

Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, said studying the Bible would be important for students to have a complete education.

“Trying to understand Western civilization and English literature without knowledge of the Bible is like trying to understand American history without reading the Constitution,” Baker said.

Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, focused primarily on how the bill lacks any mention of other religious texts that could be considered historical and asked Baker why the Book of Mormon is not included. Baker said the Judeo-Christian Bible has the most influence on the history of the United States and Missouri.

Brian Kaylor, the associate director of Churchnet, a statewide Baptist network, said if the Bible were studied in schools, it would not only take away the religious meaning of the Bible, but it would also violate the establishment clause, which stipulates the separation of church and state.

“That would also be the state picking winners and losers when it comes to religion and faith. And that is why this bill is problematic,” Kaylor said.

The House approved this bill last year, but it died in the Senate.

Kassidy Arena was the Engagement Producer for KBIA from 2022-2023. In her role, she reported and produced stories highlighting underrepresented communities, focused on community outreach and promoting media literacy. She was born in Berkeley, California, raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia.