Isn’t this only slightly unconstitutional?

Hey, Alabama? Requiring teachers to lead kids in Christian prayer in public schools is… um… unconstitutional.

By way of a voice vote, the House Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would require teachers to recite Christian prayers in public schools every day, even though the majority of members did not vote for it.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, would require teachers to spend no more than 15 minutes in the first class of each day to read, verbatim, opening prayers said before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, chairwoman of the committee, said she heard more votes in favor of the bill.

“It’s what I heard as chairman,” she said.

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what you “heard as chairman,” but it’s still unconstitutional.

Look, I’m a pretty open minded kind of female. I have no problem with kids having their own little prayer groups, or learning about any religion in a public school. Fact is religion is a part of our culture and history, and to pretend it’s not there by not teaching kids about it is quite frankly stupid.

But notice I said, “teaching them ABOUT religion,” and not “teaching them religion.” There’s a difference.

I have no problem learning the history of different faiths, what they worship, how they worship, what they believe, etc. It’s knowledge, frothing atheist zealots. Get over it! It’s part of history. It’s part of geography. It’s part of current events. You can’t pretend religion doesn’t exist, and knowledge about the different faiths out there is important.

That said…

Forcing. Kids. To. Pray. Is. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Period.

You don’t need a degree in constitutional law to understand that!

The First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a national religion. It is incorporated, so that states have to abide by it as well. Schools receive local, state and federal money. Ergo, they cannot impose Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Buddhist, Muslim, Rastafarian, Pastafarian or Scientolog… ical (I hesitate to even use the word “logical” in that particular description of Scientology) prayers on kids.

A teacher is in a position of authority over kids. What do you think is going to happen when a teacher leads a mandated Christian prayer session in the classroom? Think there’s no element of coercion? Please!

When the Redhead was 11 years old, he went to a middle school in rural Virginia. He attended a DARE program taught by a local sheriff’s deputy. The Redhead really enjoyed the class. They played games, discussed the dangers of drugs, etc. One day, the Redhead brought home a pamphlet that this particular deputy handed to all the kids in his class. On its surface, it looked like a bunch of optical illusions and puzzles. However, a closer look revealed that it was a publication by these Living Waters freaks.

The pamphlet used puzzles and games to scare kids into accepting Jesus. It told them they could die at any moment, and if they did anything bad like lie in their lives, they were going to hell, unless… they accepted Jesus right fucking now! It told the kids they were sinners. It told them that hell awaits them all, because they were all inherently bad. It even had an optical illusion that used a reverse afterimage to deceive the kids into “seeing Jesus.”

jesus5zk

The Redhead thought it was interesting, and it didn’t bother him. But I raised him to be a confident individual unfazed by religious scare tactics. But that doesn’t even matter.

There is no justification – NONE – for bringing scary death cult shit into a public school to scare kids into converting. The entire pamphlet was all about how they could die tomorrow, about how they’ll go to hell, about how Jesus will help them get to heaven, but since they could die tomorrow, perhaps they should stare at this picture and then close their eyes and find him!

How the fuck do you justify trying to scare a bunch of 11-year-olds into having faith?

Here’s a hint, frothing fundamentalist zealots: if you have to frighten, mislead, deceive or intimidate people into your beliefs, maybe your beliefs just aren’t strong or convincing enough to stand on their own merit!

I did contact the school and found out that the materials the deputy handed out were not approved by the school, and that the school officials weren’t even made aware that anything was going to be handed out to the kids! They told me this was the first time anyone had complained about the materials the deputy handed out, which makes me believe that either the parents aren’t looking closely enough, or this is the first time he’s brought that crap into the school.

For the record, I have no problem with anyone talking to my kid about religion, encouraging him to explore his spirituality or various faiths. No problem at all. But if you try to bully or deceive my kid into entering your little cult, I promise you will receive a swift kick in the gonads from yours truly!

But back to Alabama…

Forcing children to say Christian prayers in class with the teacher at the helm is coercive, especially if a child’s family practices something other than Christianity. Yes, believe it or not, there are families – even in friggin’ Alabama – that are not Christian! And guess what, you arrogant, supercilious shitbags! They pay taxes too, including your salaries and the salaries of those teachers whom you want to become accomplices in your little game of religious compulsion. And I’m fairly sure these families would be pretty unhappy if their tax dollars were paying for a coercive religious conversion.

But hey… it’s your state, so you do what you want.

Bring on the lawsuits!

44 responses

  1. I don’t care if you’re praying to Jesus, the bastard son of Mary, Mohammad, the raper of children, of even Buddha, ever in need of a serious diet, etc., your superstition belongs in your respective brainwashing centers temples, not in the halls of, you know, actual education.

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    1. Yeah, Vic…because people who believe in supreme beings are just ignoramuses, right?

      Like Blaise Pascal, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, jr., Thomas Jefferson, Robert E Lee, Nelson Mandela, Copernicus, Pythagorus, Plato, Julius Caesar, Sun Tzu, and Gustavo Guttierez. A real bunch of shallow minds there…

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      1. Not to mention Galileo, Newton, Niels Bohr and even Emanuel Kant.

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  2. It is NOT unconstitutional.
    Anyone born in the 1940’s or before always had a devotional every morning before class. The prayer came out over the PA system.
    We also said the “Pledge of the Flag of the U.S.

    It was an atheist who filed a law suit to take prayers out of school.
    This can be very positive move to give children a deeper base both nationally and spiritually to remind them of who we all were in the beginning.

    The argument that she used was “Division of Church and State.”
    Many people placed their children in private schools after that.

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    1. Actually, it has been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. And “recommended” and even ALLOWED prayer is a whole lot different than MANDATED prayer.

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      1. Thank you for telling me.
        When I was growing up…you weren’t “forced” to pray at all.
        Since it happened the first thing in the morning (8:30 a.m.)…the parents who did’t want their child to be part of it could let them be 5 minutes late.
        NOTHING was said. No one was forced to do it….just there IF you wanted to.

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        1. I have no problem with that. If someone wants to pray, let them. But this is a completely different thing. This is force.

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  3. “to read, verbatim, opening prayers said before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.”

    Hmmm… is someone trying to make a point with this legislation?

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    1. GREAT POINT!!! AND….THAN YOU!

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    2. It is a STOOPID point. One is a bunch of adults exercising their right to pray or not. The other is COMPELLING children to say a specific prayer.

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    3. No Ms Nicki – it’s a valid point or prehaps question. Having lived amongst white southern uber-Christians this is EXACTLY the kind of thing some “Do as I say not as I do – please don’t catch me at what I’m doing” kind’a guys comes up with from time to time down in Dixie.

      I guarantee at least one of the people behind this iis publically saying, “If the CONGRESS can do it…”

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  4. CORRECTION: THANK YOU!

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  5. How do you get “forcing children to pray” from “reading to them the day’s prayer as spoken in the House of Representatives and/or Senate?” It’s HISTORY…not making anyone “pray.”

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    1. I thought I was explaining that pretty well in the article. When you have a person in authority leading the class in Christian prayer, there is definitely an element of coercion there.

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    2. “the House Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would require teachers to recite Christian prayers in public schools every day”

      Note the restriction to Christianity. Not a well-rounded selection of various religions… Restricted. To. Christianity.

      And no mention of discussion, history, comparisons to other religions…

      So yeah, patently not intended to be educational, it’s clearly intended to be indoctrination.

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    3. To be clear, there wasn’t anything about requiring students to read along, or recite prayers themselves, but I can easily see it slip over into that. And, as Nicki indicated, teachers, as authority figures, influence our kids with every action. If I want my kids to be influenced by a particular religion, I’ll take them to religious institution and/or school. Otherwise, public schools can either teach ABOUT all religions or none, but may not promote one over all others, or any, period.

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      1. Nonsense. The article itself says teachers will spend the 1st part of the first period reading whatever prayer was recited in the House or Senate for that day. That includes Jewish prayers–and, not too long ago, a MUSLIM prayer was said in the Senate.

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        1. So tell me. What denomination’s prayers constitute the vast majority of Congress’ prayers? And why is it do you think this legislation was introduced?

          Look, a teacher leading a class in prayer is just unacceptable. Period. This isn’t about learning about Congress. If it was, teaching kids that yes, legislators say a prayer as part if their procedure should be enough.

          I know you’re not stupid enough to believe that leading the kids in a prayer every morning is simply for educational purposes.

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        2. Well, you’re right. Nor am I stupid enough to believe that reading the Congressional prayers is somehow “promoting” a particular religious belief…even it that really WAS “unconstitutional.” It’s NOT, by the way. The Constitution doesn’t say anything whatsoever about “promoting” a religion, any more than it says a single word about “providing” welfare for the people. It DOES prohibit Congress from interfering in anyone’s religious practices, however…and that INCLUDES the religious practices of the VAST majority of the population. For the non-religious, that’s come to be “Don’t MENTION God or Jesus in a public forum…ever.” Which is utter nonsense.

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        3. The First Amendment says:

          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

          Funny how you don’t mention the first part of this text.

          It has also been incorporated to include the states. FORCING teachers to read any prayers in class on a daily basis is a very clear violation of this. Funny how everyone but those who practice the majority religion see that.

          For the record, there shouldn’t be a prohibition on people praying in school if they choose. That’s not what this is about. This is about MANDATING teachers read prayers in class every single morning. There’s a huge difference.

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        4. “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion…” What do YOU think that phrase means, Nicki? According to “The Federalist,” it means that Congress shall pass no law ESTABLISHING a State religion…period. I’d say that Hamilton and the other contributors to “The Federalist” are MUCH more familiar with the founders’ reasoning than any far-left pundit these days, wouldn’t you?

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        5. OK, for some damn reason my reply disappeared.

          1) Please tell me you aren’t calling me a “far-left pundit!”

          2) The First Amendment has been incorporated to include the states. That means states cannot run around establishing any religion either. What do YOU think it means to have a mandated prayer each morning in every school – MANDATED by the state legislature? Is the legislature saying “the official religion of Alabama will be *insert religion here*?” No. Are they forcibly mandating prayer in a public school setting, funded by taxpayers, some of whom may very well be *gasp* atheist, agnostic, Pagan, Rastafarian or any other non Judeo-Christian faith? Yes. Is mandating prayer akin to mandating religion in a government establishment? Yes. It is.

          I have to wonder if you would be so defensive of this if they had mandated Muslim prayer be “read to the children” every day for 15 minutes…. you know… just as a lesson.

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        6. Of COURSE I don’t think you’re a “far-left pundit,” Nicki.

          Secondly, no, I WOULDN’T object to a situation as you described….IF….the vast majority of the students in that school were from Muslim families. I would suggest to you that the number of Muslim kids in Alabama schools is miniscule, If parents don’t want their children to merely LISTEN as a prayer is re-read to their children–for whatever reason–there’s always the option of some secular, private school. After all, that’s what YOU tell Christian parents who object to the secular teachings in some of today’s public schools. If it’s good enough for us, then it’s certainly good enough for the non-believers, too.

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        7. OK, just making sure. I read that and I was like “Um, what?”

          Secondly, why does it make a difference what the vast majority of the students in the school are? If the majority of the students are Christian, does that negate the rights of those who are agnostic, atheist, Muslim, Jewish or whatever? This is not tyranny of the majority. We are a republic. Public schools ARE secular, and they’re meant to be so, because all of our tax dollars pay for them. That’s why religious schools exist – NOT the other way around.

          Fact: the prohibition on establishing of a religion applies not just to FedGov, but to the states.
          Fact: the states mandating prayers in a public school amounts to a coercive environment that is akin to forcing religious dogma on kids who may or may not be religious or of that particular faith.
          Fact: forcing kids to pray in taxpayer funded schools is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Period.

          Public schools are secular. Period.

          Government isn’t supposed to endorse any religion. Period.

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        8. Where on Earth did you hear that “public schools aren’t supposed to endorse any religion?” Certainly no such thing is said–or even IMPLIED–by the first Amendment to the Constitution. Secondly, various courts have UPHELD the right to say prayers in school environments–prior to a football game or at a graduation ceremony, for example.

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        9. The incorporation of the First Amendment. Schools are government entities. And again, there’s a huge difference between saying a prayer at a game – VOLUNTARILY – and being FORCED to say prayers every morning by the legislature.

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        10. Who is being “forced” to recite a prayer by the legislature? Certainly not the STUDENTS. I’m really surprised at your attitude. You seem to think that what YOU believe about the Constitution trumps everything else. It doesn’t. You seem to be perfectly content to allow a small minority of the country to dictate what’s “acceptable” behavior by the majority. That’s the LEFT’S attitude…not any conservative that I’ve ever met.

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        11. I’ve already explained the coercive nature of having a person in authority read a prayer every day in school. Who else is being forced? The TEACHERS.

          It’s not what *I* think. It’s what the courts have ruled. And please stop implying that I somehow resemble a leftist because I don’t support violation of the Constitution in the name of Christianity. You don’t get to do that. Sorry.

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        12. Actually, short of you banning me from posting, I DO “get to do that.” I strongly disagree that having a prayer before classes begin “violates the Constitution”–especially when done in the manner you described in your original post. Do you believe that an arcane decision made by 9 old left-wing men in 1963 trumps almost 2000 years of history, or even just the 200 years that this country had been in existence? There is NOTHING in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits schools from doing that….REGARDLESS of what the USSC said in 1963. We have a visible RECORD of mistakes made by the USSC over the past 200 years. Plessy v Fergusson or the Dred Scott decision for example. The 1st Amendment prohibits government from establishing a “State religion” and prohibits the government from otherwise interfering in the peoples’ practice of their religion…period. If you don’t LIKE other peoples’ religious practices, you don’t have to PARTICIPATE in them. See? Easy.

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        13. Wrong. I mean you don’t get to do that and get away with that disingenuous bullshit. Schools are government entities. They need to abide by the constitution, which specifically states there will be no religion established. If abiding by that makes me “liberal” in your eyes, so be it. But you don’t get to spew that kind of insulting shit and get away with it. Not on MY blog. I don’t ban people from disagreeing with me. But it is MY blog, and you intimating that I’m somehow a liberal because I don’t believe that taxpayer funded entities should impose or coerce any kind of religious belief or activity on people who may not be religious, but whose tax dollars pay for said government entities, is insulting, disingenuous and blind.

          You cannot deny that the Bill of Rights has been incorporated. You cannot deny that public schools are government entities. You cannot deny that the legislature is trying to mandate prayer be read every morning in public schools. So you resort to calling me a liberal as your only tool of counter argument.

          That is crap. Until you can provide something other than “you’re a liberal trying to oppress my Christianity” as a point of argument, this conversation is over.

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        14. Please point out to me where I accused you of “being a liberal?” I said that your attitude about this issue mirrors the arguments posted on liberal sites…not that you, yourself are liberal. I KNOW that isn’t the case. I just don’t understand why you’d buy into the liberals’ arguments against prayer in schools. “Schools are part of the government. Government cannot endorse any religion. Therefore, there can be no prayer in schools.” That presupposes that (1) The federal government has the authority to decide what’s taught in our schools, (2) that the vast majority of the students (and their parents) in public schools have no say-so about what goes on in the schools that THEY pay for and (3) that one buys the far-left’s insistence that the 1st Amendment prohibits religious expressions in ANY public forum. (It doesn’t.)

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    4. Hmmm… I just realized that the article seems deliberately vague/misleading, or perhaps just incompetently written.

      The first sentance says “Christian prayers”; the second sentance says “…read, verbatim, opening prayers said before…” without specifying a particular faith.

      What this needs is a citation of the actual bill and how it’s worded. And maybe a few questions to the Representatives about the intent.

      Regardless, I smell an agenda in the air. Maybe two or three. I have a nose for these things….

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  6. Have we gotten so far down the toilet that asking children to listen to what their legislators are saying before each session is now “indoctrinating” them in some specific religion? There is NO SUCH THING as “separation of church and state.” I defy ANYONE to find such a phrase in the Constitution…or even in “The Federalist.”

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    1. That is not what this bill does. It’s one thing to teach Congressional procedure. It’s another thing to MANDATE that the Congressional prayer be read every day. Come on!

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      1. Thank you for explaining that, Nicki.

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    2. As I’ve pointed out, there appears to be NO academic context to the prayer reading. And since it appears to be biased to Christian prayer, that would constitute endorsement of a specific religion by a government body (yes, public schools are a government institution). That seems to automatically violate the religious tenants of non-Christians, and thus be very unconstitutional.

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      1. They MAY be “biased towards Christianity,” but ONLY because the majority of Congressional prayers happen to BE Christian prayer–generic as to denomination, however. They DO have Jewish and even Muslim prayers from time to time, as hard as that may be for some to believe. Prayer is prayer and Congressional prayers ARE historic…each one. Do you believe it “harmful” for our children to hear what’s going on in Congress? Everything, warts and all?

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  7. Yeah, but if those kids died before they heard the government teacher leading a Christian prayer, they might spend eternity in hellfire and brim…

    Sorry, I hate it when that goes off like that…
    šŸ™‚

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    1. SNOOOOOOORT! LOL

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  8. PLEASE forgive my off topic here but not sure where else to put it ā€“
    Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPP – New Mexico – Radiation leak – Update 2/26/14
    MSM is STILL not covering this 12 days after leak.
    Today – Breaking: 13 WIPP employees exposed to radiation
    http://www.hyscience.com/archives/2014/02/waste_isolation_3.php

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    1. Wow. I hadn’t heard of this at all. Not even on social media

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  9. PS – the winds blew that crap over Texas and Oklahoma – MSM – CHIRP!

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