Florida Senate Passes Bill Allowing Prayer in Schools; Vote Isn't Even Close

gary-siplin.jpg
This government endorsement of religion brought to you by state Sen. Gary Siplin.
The state Senate passed SB 98 this afternoon by a 31-8 margin, paving the way for public school districts to allow student prayer in school. The bill would allow "student volunteers to deliver inspirational messages, including but not limited to, prayers of invocation or benediction," according to a legislative summary from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Legislators appear to have attempted to get around the giant mounds of precedent against this sort of thing by adding verbiage to the text of the bill that simply allows students to deliver an "inspirational message" and then prohibits school officials from controlling the content of the message.

To review: Prayer at mandatory public school events is OK, so long as a grownup isn't the one doing it.

"The purpose," the amended bill reads, "is to provide students with the opportunity for formal or ceremonious observance of an occasion or event."

How considerate of them.

It should be noted that the bill doesn't actually affect Florida schools directly -- it simply allows school districts themselves to adopt policies that allow for these "inspirational messages." Because hey, who isn't inspired by some tenth-grader rubbing his religion all over you before the big fall pep rally?

The bill was introduced by Orlando Democratic Sen. Gary Siplin and cosponsored by Republican Sens. Greg Evers and Ronda Storms. The corresponding bill in the House has been filed and sent to committee, but there's no indication at the moment when (or if) it will make it to the floor for a vote.


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7 comments
Alan_West
Alan_West

"The bill was introduced by Orlando Democratic Sen. Gary Siplin and cosponsored by Republican Sens. Greg Evers and Ronda Storms."

I wonder whether they have any other useful things to do while they are spending tax dollars?

Herrmannbrothers
Herrmannbrothers

I think they should allow reading phrases from the Holy Quran??

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Its unconstitutional, trashes the very first amendment, going against all that separation of church and state. And I dont know about anyone else, but if I was constantly preached at when I was in school, I would have dropped out just to get away from it.

Howdy
Howdy

The Constitution does not address seperation of church and state.  There is an anti-establishment clause which prohibits the state from establishing a religion.  So are you ignorant of the Constitution or just wilfully misconstruing it?

Theyweredeists
Theyweredeists

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.-Treaty of Tripoli. Unanimously ratified by the United States senate and signed by President Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797 (signed by some of those same pesky Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence 20 years prior)

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 This is EXACTLY what this is about.  You think they will allow Muslims or Native Americans to do "inspirational messages"?And the separation is implied by the First Amendment, which is part of the Constitution.  Not to mention Thomas Jefferson talked A LOT about it in the Treaty of Tripoli.I know right wingers deny facts and history, but you always claim to know all about this stuff.  Kind of sad you do not know this basic stuff.

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