Pres. Trump tweets in support of Bible literacy classes
President Donald Trump is endorsing a variety of Bible Literacy classes that have been introduced by state lawmakers across the country, including in Virginia.
“Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible,” Trump wrote in a Monday morning tweet. “Starting to make a turn back? Great!”
The tweet came shortly after a "Fox and Friends" segment highlighted the states where bills to establish such classes are currently up for votes.
One of those
, introduced by Del. Charles W. Carrico, who represents Virginia's 40th District, would require high schools to offer classes teaching the Bible as an elective in grades 9 through 12.
The class would teach students on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both.
According to SB 1502, the purpose of the class would be to introduce students to Biblical content, characters, poetry, and "narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy."
The text of the bill prohibits students from being required to use a specific translation of religious text and states that the courses "shall not endorse, favor, promote, disfavor, or show hostility toward any particular religion or nonreligious perspective."
The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and Health, but has not advanced out of subcommittee.
If it were to pass, it would likely face immediate legal challenges.
A virtually identical bill was
and sent to the education committee, which it never left.
Trump drew criticism for his Bible literacy during his presidential campaign when he
that he hadn't ever asked God for forgiveness. However, evangelicals rallied behind him in support of policy positions on issues like abortion.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, personally endorsed Trump in 2016 and became a key surrogate and validator during the campaign, frequently traveling with Trump on the candidate's plane and appearing at events. Falwell often compared Trump to his late father, the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, and argued that while Trump wasn't the most religious candidate in the race, he was the man the country needed.
Falwell was also Trump's first pick for Education Secretary before choosing Betsy DeVos.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has earned some of his highest approval ratings from evangelicals.
"We're going to protect Christianity, and I can say that," Trump said in a speech to Liberty University students in January 2016. "I don't have to be politically correct."