The Kentucky Senate passed a bill allowing open religion in schools.
Senate Bill 17 will allow open discussion, prayer and expression of personal views on religion, according to the bill. The bill will affect all Kentucky public schools.
The bill will also allow teachers to use the Bible to teach religious history, according to World Religion News, a blog that covers religious issues.
“A student shall be permitted to voluntarily pray or engage in religious activities in a public school, vocally or silently alone or with other students (…) express religious or political viewpoints in classroom, homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination or penalty based on the religious or political content of the submissions,” the bill states.
The bill was voted 34-3 in a Republican Senate and is headed to the GOP-led House of Representatives to be reviewed as early as Feb. 17, where it could become a law, reported World Religion News.
The bill was initiated after religious references were cut from an Eastern Kentucky school Christmas production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in December 2015, according to The Eagle Post.
While proponents believe the bill guarantees that religious expression is protected, critics argue SB 17 is not necessary. The law could lead to confusion and an increase in costly legal disputes, according to the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.