Action Alert

Bill Creating Christian Bias in Public Schools to be Heard on House Floor!

Contact your Representative TODAY!

House Bill 2563
, "schools; elective; biblical influence," (being heard on the House floor Tuesday, February 21) will unconstitutionally preference the teaching of the Christian bible in public schools! Currently, Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) requires school boards to exclude all books, publications, papers and audiovisual materials of a sectarian, partisan or denominational character from public schools and public school libraries. HB2563 creates an exception to the ARS specifically for teaching the Christian bible in public schools. Other religious texts continue to be excluded from schools by the ARS.

The bill also requires the State Board of Education to include the history and literature of the Christian bible in History or English Arts standards and sets up guidelines for a school district or charter school to offer an elective course on "The Bible and Its Influence on Western Culture."

There is no question that religion has had tremendous impact on Western culture; however, allowing public schools to teach from the Christian bible and no other religious text clearly privileges the Christian religion and suppresses the voices of religious minorities and nonbelievers whose traditions have also contributed to Western culture. HB2563 violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by supporting and preferencing a particular religious perspective to the exclusion of all others. Further, HB2563 may violate Article II Section 12 of the Arizona State Constitution by applying public money to religious instruction.

Who should I contact?

Your State Representative. Find your Rep.

You can also contact the bill's sponsor, Terri Proud, and encourage her to consider a floor amendment that would remove the ARS sections that excludes all other perspectives rather than amending (as her bill does) to allow only the Bible class; if the ARS was amended in this way, her bill would no longer represent preferencing of one religious perspective:tproud@azleg.gov

Call Secular Coalition for Arizona's Executive Director Seráh Blain if you have questions, or if you would like to attend the House Committee of the Whole to observe as this bill is heard: 602-363-8018;serah@secularAZ.org

When is this bill being voted on?

This bill is scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, February 21 at 1:30 p.m.

Talking Points
  • HB 2563 allows the teaching of the Christian bible in schools, but excludes all sectarian and denominational materials that present other belief or nonbelief perspectives (including the Book of Mormon; Jewish texts like the Tanakh, Talmud and Midrash; the Koran, etc). This is unconstitutional.
  • Expensive constitutional lawsuits, costing taxpayer money, are sure to follow.