By JIMMY ESPY
The Chattooga County Board of Education wants to offer its students an elective class in the history and literature of the Bible. Board members voted unanimously last Thursday to create the class, which would be based on rules created by the Georgia Legislature.
The state Senate on March 4 unanimously approved Senate Bill 83, which would allow classroom instruction in the historical and literary aspects of “the Old and New Testament eras.”
One of the bill’s sponsors was Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga.
The House has yet to vote on the bill and Gov. Brian Kemp still has to sign it into law. But the school board wasted no time pushing its plans to add the class to its electives list for the next school year.
One parent, Allie Barksdale, who spoke after the vote had been taken, expressed concerns.
Barksdale questioned how the board could afford to add a new class even as it looks for ways to save money.
She also said her family preferred to learn about the Bible “at home and at our church.”
Mixing religion and public classrooms has been troublesome at times in the past, but Board Chairman John Agnew said he did not expect any problems with the class.
“The course I have looked at will look at the Bible from the perspective of history, culture and literature,” he said. “It will be an accredited elective. If we don’t have enough students who are interested, we won’t teach it.”
Agnew said the class will be taught by a volunteer on staff.