AG says Bible courses not mandatory for schools

AUSTIN (AP) - Texas high schools are not required to offer elective high school Bible courses under a new law adopted by the state last year. That's what Attorney General Greg Abbott said today.

The Legislature passed a law last year allowing for Bible courses to be offered as an elective starting in the 2009-2010 school year. It also directed the State Board of Education to adopt curriculum standards that do not run afoul of the constitutional separation of church and state.

But because of questions about whether a school district was required to offer the class, Education Commissioner Robert Scott asked Abbott for an opinion.

Abbott's office says the new law "authorizes but does not require school districts and charter schools to offer" the Bible course.

Lawmakers adopted the measure with an assurance the class would only focus on the history and literature of the Bible, and not proselytize for or disparage any faith. It also required the attorney general to review the curriculum.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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