A Democratic lawmaker in Mississippi has proposed a new bill that does not just violate the separation of church and state, it tries to obliterate it.
I have written a lot over the last year about various Republican politicians trying to undermine church and state separation, or other misadventures in Republicans allowing religion to influence them. But this story actually revolves around a Democrat. Apparently religious ideologues are not limited to a single political party in the United States.
Democratic State Representative Credell Calhoun of Mississippi has proposed a bill that would force teachers in public schools to recite the Ten Commandments at the beginning of every school day. This bill, House Bill 1100, would force a currently optional moment of silence to be required in every public school. The bill would also require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public classroom (“In God We Trust” signs are already required).
Bill 1100 also requires that, and I am going to just quote the bill directly here, “The school board of each school district shall require the teachers in that school district to have the Ten Commandments recited aloud at the beginning of the first hour of class each day that school is in session. Any student or teacher who objects to reciting the Ten Commandments must be excused from participating without penalty.”
Well, it is good that teachers and students can still be excused, but this is still very illegal. Mississippi is the most religious state in the United States (it actually tied with Alabama for 1st place among most religious states). In addition to being the most religious state, it is also the least educated state, narrowly beating West Virginia for that unfortunate distinction.
So the most religious, least educated state has a bill proposed to introduce more religion into classrooms. Why try to improve the education system when you can just pray to God more, am I right? Ugh...
And the Ten Commandments? Really? The first few commandments are focused solely on appeasing God's vanity. Do kids really need to be reminded not to worship false idols before they start practicing multiplication? And then there are some of the other commandments: do children really need a reminder to not commit adultery before they learn about the Revolutionary War? This is ridiculous.
This is a useless, and blatant attempt at indoctrinating children into the Christian faith. And it is decidedly illegal based on the Establishment Clause in the Constitution. The bill still needs to pass through the House Committee on Education before it could go on to a wider vote, but I hope someone with more sense than Calhoun will strike it down before it gets that far. Someone needs to save the children, and teachers, of Mississippi from having to deal with this pointless nonsense.