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Friday, November 16, 2007

Illinois school prayer plan falls apart

Well that didn't last long, did it? What, four weeks or so? It seems there have been lawsuits filed (like we didn't know THAT was gonna happen) by free-thinking atheists who claim the "Silent Prayer and Reflection Act" is an endorsement of school prayer. A U.S. District judge, Robert Gettleman, has barred the moment of silence in a Chicago-area school district because the law is "too vague." He had no power to do so across the board, but it should be noted that there is no provision for punishment against districts who do not comply with the mandate.

School districts are being warned they should cease following the mandate, or they might inevitably face lawsuits from angry parents who don't want their children being forced to pray in public school. Two state representatives, one a democrat and one a republican, plan to announce today legislation that will strip the mandate from schools.

I think this might turn out as a victory for the secular side of society. If you ask me, it's a given that this mandate is going to be found unconstitutional. So, that means the state will likely revert to the original form of the law, which states educators "may" lead their students in a moment of silence for prayer or silent reflection at the start of every day. But wait a minute. If it's deemed unconstitutional for the state to require schools to participate, won't it be just as unconstitutional for schools to even participate once the law merely gives them "permission" to? If any district lets its teachers continue leading the moment of silence, that district is just BEGGING for lawsuits.

So we'll be back where we started, with the state of Illinois allowing teachers to lead a moment of silence in their classrooms, but everybody too chicken to actually take advantage of the law for fear of losing their job or facing a lawsuit. Why even have such a law? What made the lawmakers think the people were just going to take this kind of thing lying down? There is no purpose in passing laws that are this ridiculous. All they've succeeded in doing is drumming up controversy, pissing people off, further driving a wedge between atheistic and religious parents of children in the same schools, and igniting frivolous lawsuits that could have been avoided altogether.

Let's hope they see the error of their ways and get this law COMPLETELY stricken down as soon as possible, so we can go back to doing what we should be doing in school: TEACHING.