ABOUT SB 2136

This bill would require North Dakota public schools to teach a unit on the Bible, covering the Old Testament, the New Testament or a mix of the two. 

ACLU Position: 

The ACLU of North Dakota opposes this bill. Senate Bill 2136 is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has recognized that the "government must exercise particular care in separating church and state" in public schools. Every student, regardless of their faith, should feel safe and welcome in our public schools. When school officials promote religion generally, or signal their preference for one faith, it sends an exclusionary and destructive message that students who follow other religions, or no religion at all, don’t belong.

To withstand constitutional requirements, Bible curriculum in public schools must be neutral and non-devotional, and classes cannot be used to promote one particular religion. Senate Bill 2136, which explicitly provides for the teaching of the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible, does not do this. Attempting to implement a Bible curriculum like this is very likely to expose a school district to litigation.

Sponsors

Sens. O. Larsen, Kannianen and Reps. Kasper, McWilliams

Status

Defeated

Session

2019

Bill number

Position

Oppose

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