House Bill 267, known as the Bible Literacy Bill, sponsored by the Missouri 160th district state representative, Ben Baker, passed the Missouri House last week and has advanced to the Missouri Senate.. The bill will allow school districts to offer an elective Bible class. As written, the bill allows school districts to offer elective social studies courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.
The bill is intended to teach the Bible from a historical perspective rather than a religious one.
If approved by the Senate and governor, a social studies teacher would teach the course. It would be up to individual school districts to offer the class as an elective. The current law allows for books like the Bible to be used as a reference in the classroom. This proposal would make the class solely about the Bible.
The bill has received nationwide media attention, including a shout out from President Trump on Twitter. Opponents view it as a violation of the First Amendment while supporters see the bill as a return to what they consider the Christian foundation of the United States.
Baker, lives in Neosho, where he teaches at the Ozark Bible Institute. He also serves as Dean of Students. Prior to being elected to the 160th district seat, Baker served as Mayor of Neosho.
At one time, an elective course, The Bible As Literature, was taught at Neosho High School.