Idaho Bible Study Initiative (2010)

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The Idaho Bible Study Initiative will not be on the November 2, 2010 ballot as an initiated state statute in the state of Idaho.

According to the ballot title, the initiative would have made it legal for any school board in the state to allow for an “elective” bible class in public schools. The Bible would have been used as literary and historical study for those schools who chose to use it. Also, the course would have been taught without the promotion or endorsement of religious beliefs.[1]

The initiative was sponsored by Chuck Seldon, a Boise, Idaho man who was aiming to gather the required 51,712 signatures of registered voters in order to get the measure on the ballot in 2010. Seldon and his group (Our Godly American Heritage), introduced the proposed measure and had until April 30, 2010 to collect the required signatures. According to Seldon: "The people of Idaho are not going to put up with the fact that their Constitution does not allow them to do it. It's a book and can be taught without getting involved with devotional or religious rhetoric."[2][3]

However, according to Seldon, the effort had obtained only 5,000 signatures as of a week before the petition drive deadline on April 30, 2010. Seldon stated, "It’s pointless to go any further with the initiative, except for the fact that it does educate people. We feel that we can get a bill through the Legislature."[4]

According to Seldon, he had gathered the support of at least a dozen legislators for the measure to be brought up in session instead in the next coming year. Senator Russell Fulcher has been rumored as the leader of the effort. Fulcher stated, " “We want to do something. It’s not a simple issue to address. There’s constitutional problems there … Idaho has a constitution that is more restrictive than the federal Constitution.”

Initiative text

The full text of the initiative read:[1]

Recognizing that the United States Supreme Court declaring in Abington v. Schempp (1963), the "[t]he Bible is worth of study for its literary and historic qualities" and that "such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as a part of a secular program of education" is consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, it shall be lawful for any local school board in Idaho to allow for elective Bible course curricula to be approved and offered in its public secondary schools. To help promote academic excellence and cultural literacy in a manner that is consistent with the federal and state constitutions, any elective Bible curricula shall at all times be presented objectively as a part of a secular program of education, and shall not be used at any time to endorse or promote sectarian or denominational doctrine.



Seldon has mentioned that a number of legislators in Idaho support the efforts of him and his group. Among those legislators, according to Seldon is Senator Monty Pearce.[3]

See also

External links

Additional reading