A bill being pushed in New Hampshire would force schools to offer an elective Bible studies class—because the Bible is an inescapable part of American history, according to the bill's sponsor. "The Holy Bible is the bedrock of Western civilization," and it was essential to the Founding Fathers' philosophy, says GOP state Rep. Jerry Bergevin. "The issue is not trying to teach religion, but to talk about what is the true history of America whether some people like it or not," notes a supporter.
The bill has faced a backlash from some members of the state House Education Committee and civil liberties activists, reports the Concord Monitor. "This is a specific attempt to hold one religion over others and hold a religion over no religion. That's constitutionally prohibited," says the head of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. Indeed, it "would be inviting a legal challenge," the head of a school administrators' group adds. One Republican representative noted that she supported the offering of the course, but didn't understand why it should be mandated. Co-sponsor Rep. Sue DeLemus argued that doing so would make it "safe for all schools to feel comfortable offering this course."