ACLU urges Bible bill veto

The Bible-in-schools bill is in Gov. Butch Otter’s hands.

And the governor isn’t saying what he’ll do with it.

But the American Civil Liberties Union is urging Otter to veto the bill — and urging its membership to lobby the governor.

Gov. Butch Otter

A link on the ACLU’s website allows members to email Otter directly. Here’s an excerpt from the ACLU’s “required text” field:

“The Bible already is available for use in classes in an appropriate context. This bill goes too far, allowing the Bible to be used as any teacher sees fit, in any area of study without ensuring that teachers receive appropriate academic training or that their use of religious texts in the classroom are a part of an approved curricula.”

ACLU Idaho officials have testified against Senate Bill 1342, saying it is probably unconstitutional. The Idaho attorney general’s office has also said the bill violates the Idaho Constitution.

SB 1342 clarifies the role of the Bible and other religious texts in the classroom. According to the bill, religious texts can be used as a reference work in a variety of academic disciplines. Idaho teachers are already allowed to refer to the Bible.

The House passed SB 1342 Monday, sending the bill to Otter’s desk. On Wednesday, Otter said he was pretty sure how he will act on the bill, but did not elaborate.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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