Yesterday, President Trump tweeted his support for Bible literacy classes in public schools.
In his tweet, sent out Monday morning, Trump said, "Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”
Bills have been introduced in at least six states that would encourage or require public schools to have classes on "Bible literacy" which would teach students the Bible's content, historical significance, and influence.
Because, as usual, these wannabe theocrats only care about Christianity.
According to the ACLU, Bible literacy bills have been introduced in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Last year, in 2018, bills were considered in Alabama, Iowa and West Virginia – but none passed.
These bills are part of a coordinated effort by multiple conservative Christian groups. They actually have a playbook, which details their strategy. The plan, called Project Blitz, is to spam as many state legislatures as possible with bills covering a variety of Christian interests. They want to put "In God We Trust" signs in schools, push for these Bible classes, limit women's access to reproductive healthcare, and limit the rights of LGBTQ citizens.
Groups like the ACLU, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State fight these bills whenever they come up in legislative sessions. But the point of Project Blitz is that they push so many of these bills, they only expect a few to get through. And each time some get through, it makes a new precedent for the next wave of bills they introduce.
Essentially, they are trying to kill separation of church and state with a thousand cuts.
Plenty of critics of these bills have been speaking up, both before and after Trump's tweet. Rachel Laser, the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “State legislators should not be fooled that these bills are anything more than part of a scheme to impose Christian beliefs on public schoolchildren."
It comes as no surprise that Trump would do something like this to appease the Christian right, historically his staunchest supporters. Trump's latest approval numbers are in the toilet following the record-breaking government shutdown, and so he needs to firm up whatever support he still has left. This is one sure-fire way to appease those evangelicals.
Hopefully the bills in these six states will suffer the same fate as the bills proposed last year. The last thing we need to subject children to in public schools is thinly-veiled Christian proselytizing.