Kentucky lawmaker hopes bill will 'embolden Christian teachers' to share their faith freely
A bill outlining protections for public school teachers, faculty, and staff who express religious views with other employees has moved out of committee in the Kentucky legislature.
House Bill 547 arrives on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision siding with a high school football coach in Washington state who lost his spot on the sidelines after leading prayers on the field.
The measure would ensure public school employees are permitting to engage in religious discussion and share religious materials with other employees, as well as take part in religious study during breaks, lunch, and before and after school.
Republican sponsor Chris Fugate said the bill shouldn't be necessary, but he fears some public school teachers and workers may be intimidated by protests from outside groups.
"This is a piece of legislation that hopefully will embolden those Christian teachers who are not ashamed of their faith but sometimes out of fear do not say anything about their faith or hold prayer meetings with other teachers."Rep. Chris Fugate
While Fugate said, with the legislation, teachers will know that "this bill is there to protect their rights," Kate Miller with the ACLU argued the Kentucky verson of the legislation goes beyond the reach of the more specific circumstances cited in the Supreme Court case.
"This proposal before you is far broader and we think introduces a gray area where school districts could potentially see increased litigation as a result," she testified.
The bill is now headed to the House floor.