Students would be able to express religious and political viewpoints in public schools and on college campuses without interference from administrators under a bill that cleared its final legislature hurdle Monday (March 6) and was headed to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to be signed into law.
State Sen. Albert Robinson, R-London, said he decided to sponsor Senate Bill 17 after a Johnson County elementary schools removed biblical references from a presentation of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Carol” in 2015.
The bill, which basically affirms rights that are already in place, was adopted on an 81-8 vote.
Robinson said he’s felt the legislation was necessary to make clear to educators that biblical references are in no way forbidden from campuses.
Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said the constitutional guarantee to freedom of religion has been imposed upon by educators who either were confused about what is allowed or who willingly defied those constitutional rights.
“Making sure that an understanding of the liberties, which we hold sacred, is confirmed from time to time is also appropriate,” Moore said.
Some critics argued that the legislation could be found unconstitutional and cost the state a hefty legal bill. Supporters said it would be a weapon in the war against Christianity.
Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, said lawmakers should not be trying to push religion onto campuses. “I believe religion should be expressed in church or in the privacy of my home, not in public schools,” she said.