Jefferson City religious leader weighs in on "Bible bill" alterations

8 months 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, March 26 2019 Mar 26, 2019 Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:12:00 PM CDT March 26, 2019 in Top Stories
By: Kara Strickland, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - The House approved a bill Monday that could put the Bible in public schools, but not without a few alterations. 

House Bill 267 is sometimes referred to as the "Bible bill." It would allow students to take an elective social studies class on the Bible. Lawmakers expanded the bill recently; it now includes 26 different religious texts. 

The texts are: the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament of the Bible, the Quran, the Hadith, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tao Te Ching, the Book of the Dead, the Avesta, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Dasam Granth, the Book of Shadows, the Bab, Baha'u'llah, 'Abd'l-Baha, the Shogui Effendi, the Agamas, the Aprocryphal Gospels, the Mikagura, the Confucian Canon, the Tripitaka, the Book of Mormon, and the Sutras. 

Buddhist Reverend and President of the Capitol Area Interfaith Alliance, William Edwards said he does not support the bill, even with its new changes. 

"I don't want to see Buddhist texts in the public schools," he said. "I don't want to see Christian texts, Muslim texts, Hindu Texts, Pagan texts, Jewish texts, Sic texts, Shane texts, any of them."  

Edwards said the Capitol Area Interfaith Alliance agrees with him. 

"We're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and we all agree that that's a bad idea," he said. 

"It's not just a slippery slope, it's the Matterhorn when we start to do something like that," he said. 

Representative Danny Busick, R-Adair, Putnam, Mercer, Sullivan, is one of the bill's newest co-sponsors. He said the bill is only optional. 

"Nobody has to take the class," he said. "I think it should be optional, I don't think it will be a required reading." 

Edwards said if someone wanted to learn about the religion, it shouldn't be in the school. 

"Go to a Dharma or a temple," he said. 

The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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