South Carolina Democrats push for mandatory school prayer

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Democrat lawmakers in South Carolina are leading a push to legislate mandatory prayer sessions in the state's public schools.

Raw Story reports state representatives have introduced a bill, H. 3526, that would force teachers to lead and enforce a "minute of mandatory silence" at the beginning of each school day "so as to permit schools to lead a prayer." Students who do not wish to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom.

Most of the bill's sponsors are Democrats. The state representatives who introduced it are: Wendell Gilliard (D), Joseph Jefferson (D), Carl Anderson (D), Liston Barfield (R), Bill Clyburn (D), Heather Ammons Crawford (R), Lonnie Hosey (D), Robert Ridgeway III (D) and Don Wells (R).

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that teacher-led prayer is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Establishment Clause prohibits government from establishing an official religion, favoring one religion over another, favoring religion over non-religion or favoring non-religion over religion.

Written By: Brett Wilkins
continue to source article at digitaljournal.com

31 COMMENTS

  1. Possible, maybe probably, there will be a good outcome from this. All it will take is one free thinking kid with a little charisma to take advantage of the “I’m outta here!” clause.
    When questioned by his/her peers, the obvious response will be “You don’t really believe that there is a fairy, who lives in he sky, who obsesses non stop about you praying to him/her do you?”

    While the demands to legally enforce their idiocy by the xians are pretty predictable, I think that the end result may be more than they intended.
    I can’t wait to see Fox News reporting a whole class walking out, leaving an embarrassed teacher in solitary contemplation of the idiocy of the legislation.

    • In reply to #3 by Sheepdog:

      Possible, maybe probably, there will be a good outcome from this. All it will take is one free thinking kid with a little charisma to take advantage of the “I’m outta here!” clause.
      When questioned by his/her peers, the obvious response will be “You don’t really believe that there is a fairy, who li…

      This will never be a law. Or I should say it will never be a law that is enforced. I can say that with close to certainty. First of all keep in mind that every year there are far more bills proposed than ever make it to be law. My guess is this is something certain politicians are talking about in order to boost their cred with the bible thumpers but they aren’t serious about really pushing this all the way through.

      But even if this actually does get passed and become a law (a big If) once it was passed it would be challenged immediately by the ACLU or someone and part of that challenge would include a request to stay the law until after the court hearing. The law would be overturned, I doubt it would even make it to the supreme court, this is settled US law, it’s clearly unconstitutional.

      • In reply to #5 by Red Dog:

        You make a good point. I forgot of course that politicians of all stamps, but particularly conservatives, will use the legislative process to present what is really an election speech through make believe legislation.

        I guess I live in a world where I tend to take things at face value. Silly me, especially when dealing with god botherers.

      • In reply to #5 by Red Dog:

        … this is settled US law, it’s clearly unconstitutional.

        Absolutely. However if it could pass, I can’t help wishing to see the expression on their faces the first time a student gets up and yells out the blessing: “Allāhu Akbar!”

      • In reply to #5 by Red Dog:

        As you say it is almost certainly meant to make a politician look good to their electorate, or at least the more ignorant part of the electorate.

        More informed voters will wonder why their taxes are being wasted on a bill that will be squashed by the courts if it ever makes it into the statute books. The taxes are in fact being wasted twice, once when the bill goes through the state assembly and once when it gets shot down in the courts. I wonder if the sponsors should be prosecuted for wasting the court’s time, or for misappropriation of taxes for unconstitutional activities (that’s getting fairly close to treason)

  2. a bill, H. 3526, that would force teachers to lead and enforce a “minute of mandatory silence” at the beginning of each school day

    I’m sure most teachers would appreciate a minute of silence now and then. Once a day, even better. As for “enforcing” it, how’s that going to work?

    SILENCE BEGINS NOW (holding stopwatch)….. Noises … Noisy student ejected from classroom … SILENCE CONTINUES NOW (or does it restart…. could be here all day to get one unbroken minute)

    Yes I know it’s just some posturing for election campaign purposes.

  3. I would like to break this down, beginning with:
    1. “During which time the teacher may deliver a prayer.”
    This is an immediate ciolation of the Constitution
    .
    2. “Provided the school allows a student to leave the classroom…”
    This will immediately isolate whatever minority chooses to leave the classroom, or less likely, the minority that stays in the classroom.

    This bill may please those who wish to pray, but more dangerously will serve to divide children when they most need to be together.

  4. Not all bills are proposed with the expectations that they will become law. A bill like this (in the Bible Belt, at least) is political gold. If it passes, you get to say that you’re the people’s voice, taking back the state from the Godless Secularists (so vote for me and donate to my campaign). If it doesn’t pass or gets thrown out by a judge, you get to leverage the Oppressed Christian Complex, throwing your constituents some red meat about how the gub’ment is trying to take away their rights! (Also, vote for me and donate to my campaign)

    You get away with selling either a blatant injustice or an outright absurdity. One one hand, you’ll get to leverage a religious majority to create an environment of state-enforced religious discrimination. On the other, you get to claim that an overwhelming majority in control of society is still “oppressed” simply because they can’t arbitrarily violate basic civil rights.

    Brilliant, really.

  5. Because nothing could impress the supposed Almighty Creator of Everything more than constantly proposing ridiculous laws to force hapless little kids to worship him whether they want to or not.

    Because there are no problems in South Carolina that can’t be solved by mumbling under one’s breath to an imaginary sky-daddy rather than using one’s brain to figure out solutions and take real action.

    Because nothing says “We’re paranoid ignoramuses with a severe persecution complex and a childish wish for a big Someone to make it all go away” like constantly proposing ridiculous laws to force your fantasies on everyone else.

    Because nothing shows more disdain for the Constitution of the Union that busted your balls back in 1865 than constantly trying to undermine it in stupid, petty ways. It used to be just wavin’ the Stars N’Bars defiantly and leaving Jim Crow laws on the books, but pissing on the Constitution is so much more mature and edgy.

  6. Umm, Democrats? Democrats? Geez!

    I can only recall one of Lewis Black’s monologs (paraphrasing):

    “The Republican Party is the party of bad ideas and the Democratic Party is the party of no ideas. The Republican says, ‘I got a really shitty idea!’ And the Democrat says, …and I can make it shittier!’ “

    • In reply to #15 by fullyladenswallow:

      Umm, Democrats? Democrats? Geez!

      I can only recall one of Lewis Black’s monologs (paraphrasing):

      “The Republican Party is the party of bad ideas and the Democratic Party is the party of no ideas. The Republican says, ‘I got a really shitty idea!’ And the Democrat says, …and I can make it shittie…

      Yes, I thought that was disgusting as well.

    • In reply to #16 by Miserablegit:

      Sad proof that America is still a long way from non religious sanity.

      Please….when you read “South Carolina” keep in mind that this is only one part of the country. If you pay attention, these types of stories tend to feature the same states and cities over and over. Stop comparing one part of the US to the entire UK. Why not compare the UK to the liberal west coast? Put everything into perspective

  7. This could be a great idea if silence meant silence, As no gods exist, an atheist prayer would be silent. And this law would force the theists to participate in the atheist prayer. Brilliant!

  8. @OP – Raw Story reports state representatives have introduced a bill, H. 3526, that would force teachers to lead and enforce a “minute of mandatory silence” at the beginning of each school day “so as to permit schools to lead a prayer.” Students who do not wish to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom.

    I shall shortly be entering examination rooms and enforcing an hour or more of of “mandatory silence”! Some, students who have not done sufficient study, or who have derived their “knowledge” by employing “faith-thinking” rather than attending lectures or reading textbooks, may well decide to pray! They can consider the effectiveness of this strategy later, while preparing for the re-sits.

  9. They should not leave the room, they should turn their backs to the assembly. The religios can run their incantations between their ears.

    It reminds me of my response to people who insist on the “let us say grace” at a dinner table. It is rare enough nowadays but I still say, “Carry on, don’t let our eating put you off!”

  10. My 10 year old nephew attends a rural South Carolina public school where they observe a ‘moment of silence’. As far as I know, no students are ejected, but they are all expected to participate. There have been attempts by the school board to mandate Christian prayer, but so far it has not been implemented. One board member who considers herself a ‘protector of religious freedom and tolerance’, and who seems to be regarded by the others as a heretic, said, “Our children should be able to worship our Lord Savior in any way they choose, and should led to find Jesus by their parents and not their teachers.” This, folks, is about as ‘diverse & tolerant’ as it gets here in hillbillyland.

    Unconstitutionality matters not at all because there is virtually no dissent. The student body and faculty at that school, presuming that they reflect the local demographic, are almost entirely evangelical Christian. Any student, parent, teacher, administrator or board member who obviously deviates from that norm would find themselves very lonely and quite likely actively shunned. I don’t speak up, not because I’m afraid of sanction, but because I don’t want my nephew forced to fight my battles. I imagine that many of you remember how important social acceptance is to young children. I remember well because when I was a child we had a cross burned on our lawn and our business vandalized for my parent’s refusal to join the Ku Klux Klan / Southern Baptist Church (synonymous there then, and in some places still).

    Another unusual, though not necessarily religious, ‘silence’ practice in my nephew’s school is represented by the clock in their cafeteria (under a picture of Jesus watching with blue eyes). It’s divided into 6 color-coded 10 minute regions — half green and half red. When the minute hand is in a green region, conversation is allowed. When in a red region the students are expected to be silent and not engage in overt interaction with their peers. I’ve observed it in action, and it’s eerie to see how completely the kids comply. Teacher’s and a few select students roam and chide any indiscretion — perhaps too much of a smile or rolled eyes or inappropriate body language. Notebooks are carried, and demerits count toward the student’s ‘behavior’ grade. I think of it as the ‘totalitarian clock’, and can’t imagine even pretending to comply when I was that age. But then my school and social career in the South, until I quit after 9th grade, was not marked by success.

    }}}}

  11. I have never understood this obsession with prayer in school. The pupils are in school for no more than eight hours a day. They have 16 hours of the day when they can do nothing but pray if they so choose. But, that is not enough for these lunatics. Not, only do Christians have to pray in school but people who don’t want to pray have to leave the room like there’s something wrong with them. I think we should start spelling pray with an ‘e’, because that’s really what this is all about.

  12. A South Carolina Democrat is more conservative than a California Republican is many cases. I wonder if the teacher would be allowed to leave the classroom if they did not pray. Also I wonder what would happen if the teacher chose to lead a prayer to allah or the flying spaghetti monster instead of jesus.

    • In reply to #29 by wanstronian:

      I am fucking glad I don’t live in the US. It’s full of lunatics.

      Look, there are some very “blue” sections that are not so bad. Yes, we still have to put up with the global humiliation coming from the very “red” parts, but said lunatics are slowly aging out of the population to be replaced with rather more reasonable people from the present era.

  13. I didn’t realize that you had to have silence to pray. This would completely contradict the idea of prayer in foxholes. Or what about when you need to pray for your team to score that touchdown? How is your God(s) going to hear you over the roar of the crowd? Maybe I’m just missing something.

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