Alabama GOP introduces legislation requiring prayer in public schools

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Republicans in Alabama have introduced legislation that would require public school teachers to lead students in a daily prayer. The legislation would require teachers in Alabama public school classrooms to recite a prayer at the beginning of every school day, for up to fifteen minutes.

The law would require teachers to perform a “verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.” That is, teachers would be required to read out loud to their students one of the opening prayers recited by chaplains or their guests before sessions of the U.S. Congress.

The Anniston Star reports State Rep. Steve Hurst (R) introduced the bill last month. The bill would require schools to set aside the first portion of the first class period every day “for study of the formal procedures followed by U.S. Congress,” which must include “a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers” given at the opening of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives.

A Synopsis of the bill, HB318, reads:

This bill provides for a period of time in the public schools for studying the formal procedures of the United States Congress including the verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.

The following is an excerpt from the bill:

To prescribe a period of time in the public schools not to exceed 15 minutes for study of the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress, which study shall include a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the United States House of Representatives or Senate.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which such class is held shall, for a period of time not exceeding 15 minutes, instruct the class in the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress. The study shall include, but not be limited to, a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Written By: Michael Stone
continue to source article at patheos.com

17 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Fritz:

      And how long will it last before being struck down? Why not strike down the entire legislature while they’re at it?

      Note the article said they had “introduced legislation” which I’m pretty sure means someone has proposed the bill but not that it has become law yet. I doubt very much it ever will even become law but if it is it will almost certainly be challenged immediately and reversed as quickly as those things ever can be. This is settled US law, no prayers in school and yes it’s inconsistent with a policy that has congress open with a prayer but because of various technical legalities (the difference between a law and a policy in Congress for example) such inconsistencies abound in the US.

      In case people are wondering why do they even bother proposing stuff like this since it would be over turned anyway, it is pretty simple: money. I’m sure that the guy who proposed it has already sent out several letters to constituents asking for contribution to help congressman cracker restore prayer in school and with details and news stories about the law he is proposing.

    • In reply to #2 by NearlyNakedApe:

      …drag this world back to the middle ages.

      Not even that far back – kid at the forefront looks like Beaver Cleaver. “Ward, dinner’s on the table!”.

      Then along comes Madeline…

    • In reply to #2 by NearlyNakedApe:

      Again, more bad news…. There seems to be no end to the forces of evil trying their best to drag this world back to the middle ages. So depressing.

      That would be “the forces of stupid”.

  1. This article seems to be more aimed at what can be an emotional issue for many on the site. I agree with Red Dog that there is very little chance that it will pass. I find no usefulness in these kinds of articles because they incite anger in those of us who would never want to see such policies instituted. I am sorry, but this seems to be up here more for the shock value than anything else.

  2. Change the word prayer to oratory – omit the word god and most secular folk would probably not object to saying a moral boosting – all inclusive statement of good intentions at school in the morning…- I had to sing Hymns as a kid – the words of which baffled me at 8 years old and I knew I didn’t believe the silly claims and the silly words in the silly hymns anyway….Its better than North Korea’s version of school routine….and generally many kids have the brilliant habit of growing up and getting a brain to think for themselves…I hope …as I did…

    • In reply to #11 by Light Wave:

      Change the word prayer to oratory – omit the word god and most secular folk would probably not object to saying a moral boosting – all inclusive statement of good intentions at school in the morning…- I had to sing Hymns as a kid – the words of which baffled me at 8 years old and I knew I didn’t…

      No, no, no scrap that shit. It’s meaningless crap like that which has made me generally ignore society all together. Couldn’t give a shit. Just teach, damn it.

  3. Are these people not familiar with the 6 to 13 year old mind? Were they ever children themselves? Do they actually expect these kids to sit there contentedly while some adult authority figure drones on about the ULTIMATE adult authority figure for up to fifteen minutes? I guarandamntee 80% will be climbing the walls after 5 and the rest will be in tears by 8.

  4. Firstly, this is unconstitutional. Secondly, why should “our God is real & great” take 15 minutes to say? Thirdly, if students lose 15 minutes of study time a day, it’s the equivalent of losing 1-2 weeks of school a year. (I don’t know exactly how long US school days are, but TV shows have given me the impression they last from 8 am to 3 pm, i.e. 7 hours, or 28 times 15 minutes.) That time could be much better spent.

    • In reply to #14 by Jos Gibbons:

      Firstly, this is unconstitutional. Secondly, why should “our God is real & great” take 15 minutes to say? Thirdly, if students lose 15 minutes of study time a day, it’s the equivalent of losing 1-2 weeks of school a year. (I don’t know exactly how long US school days are, but TV shows have given me…

      ensuring a reduction in time spent in education for future voters is part of the long-term survival strategy of the republican party

  5. The bill would require schools to set aside the first portion of the first class period every day “for study of the formal procedures followed by U.S. Congress,” which must include “a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers”

    Could I suggest that any teachers forced into this, read out the constitutional sections on the separation of church and state, and any laws on freedom of religion – first.

    When the law is an ass – loud braying can be made more obvious.

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