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.
Forcing. Kids. To. Pray. Is. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
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.”
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!