Trump advocates Bible literacy classes in all US schools 'great'
President Donald J Trump made a bid to re-energize evangelical supporters on Monday by stating his support for 'Bible literacy' classes in U.S. public schools.
'Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!' the president tweeted.
'Fox & Friends' had aired a brief segment about the phenomenon a half-hour earlier, with Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political Analyst David Brody delivering the Good News.
Evangelical leaders have long complained about the disappearance of God from public schools, a phenomenon that has fueled the growth of homeschooling.
USA Today reported on Sunday that lawmakers in at least six states are pushing back, with bills that would nudge the study of both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament back into high schools.
'The Bible is an integral part of our society and deserves a place in the classroom,' Republican state Rep. Aaron McWilliams of North Dakota told the paper.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes official mentions of religion in public institutions, has identified Bible literacy bills this year in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia.
Legislatures defeated similar measures last year in Alabama, Iowa and West Virginia. Tennessee passed a weaker version, and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a 'Bible studies' bill in 2018. That law gives schools guidelines for teaching the Bible as literature, but doesn't require it.
Trump, who ascended to the presidency largely on the backs of white evangelical voters, has touted his Christian faith in the past. He’s also filled his administration with advisers who are outspoken about their Christian faith, including Vice President Mike Pence.
The Trump administration has pursued key policies sought by evangelicals, including allowing religious nonprofits to make political contributions, restricting abortion rights, rolling back a birth control mandate and expanding school choice and voucher programs that many say would benefit private religious schools. His Justice Department has also established a task force on religious liberty aimed at shielding religious groups from discrimination.
But Trump has also committed some faith-based gaffes, even while retaining his support among evangelicals. At an appearance at Liberty University during the 2016 campaign, he mispronounced a book of the bible. Last year, he came under fire for not participating in some hymns and prayers at the funeral of President George H.W. Bush.
Trump has also admitted to making hush money payments to women alleging affairs with him while he was married to first lady Melania Trump, though he denies the affairs took place. And his campaign was nearly derailed when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape emerged in which he appears to admit to groping women without their consent.