Oklahoma came one step closer Thursday to offering elective Bible courses in public schools courtesy of the state Senate.
Senate lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 1338, authored by Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Elk City, in a 38-4 vote.
The measure states that the purpose of such courses is to provide students with an understanding of how scripture has influenced modern-day society, The Christian Post reports.
"It's hard to understand the context of things if you don't understand the references to the Bible," Ivester said. "They may not believe in those teachings, but they've had a significant impact on the world."
Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, applauded his colleague for introducing the legislation.
"Yes, it is a dangerous path, but I applaud you Sen. Ivestor for opening up some of these things where they're allowed to be viewed by those who choose to," Russell said. "There's no danger here. We're not forcing someone to take this class."
If the bill passes, the elective courses would begin next school year. The classes would be taught to students in grades nine through 12.
The legislation will now go before the state House of Representatives.