Senator Tomes, joined by Senators Kruse and Holdman, of the Indiana Senate, introduced this: a bill to “require” the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in school. The content is pretty much this:
(a) In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.
(b) If the governing body or equivalent authority requires the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer under subsection (a), the governing body or equivalent authority shall determine the version of the Lord’s Prayer that will be recited in the school corporation or charter school.
(c) A student is exempt from participation in the prayer if:
(1) the student chooses not to participate; or
(2) the student’s parent chooses to have the student not participate.
What exactly is the point of introducing this kind of legislation, other than wasting legislative time? The governing body “may REQUIRE” the recitation of a particular prayer, but the student doesn’t have to do it if they don’t want to. I’m not sure they understand what “require” means. It’s such a dog whistle statement to people in certain constituencies, since it will never make it through to be law, but then the Senators can complain that they introduced the legislation and it was struck down because of a “war on religion”… not because it’s a blatant attempt to introduce unconstitutional laws that promote one religion over another.
Regardless of whether or not you are religious, why would you want your child to be forced to perform a rote recitation like this every day? And how about if you are paying attention to the context of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15, where it stresses the importance of PRIVATE prayer and worship? And how about if you’re religious, just not specifically Christian?
The reasons we have Separation of Church and State are to make sure that the state gives NO preference to one religion over another (or over a lack of religion). This was actually introduced to protect your religious freedoms, not to limit them: or would you feel this was an appropriate law if a non-Christian prayer were required every morning? Because I guess a Muslim or Hindu prayer can’t teach “the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen.”