On Wednesday of this week, state legislators gathered in Florida's House chamber in Tallahassee. Meanwhile, student activists gathered outside to demand legislative action on gun control following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland a week earlier.
Just a day earlier, on Tuesday, the House failed to pass legislation that would have banned assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. Instead, they supported a bill that declares pornography a public health risk.
Because of all the people dying in schools from pornography, I guess.
So what did those lawmakers accomplish on Wednesday? They did not even try to advance gun control reform. Apparently after Tuesday's defeat they just gave up on that. Instead, they passed a bill that would require all public schools to display "In God We Trust". That was there big victory on Wednesday.
"In God We Trust" is the Florida state motto, in case you were wondering. I mean, it was already made the U.S. motto in 1956 during the second "Red Scare" in this country, but I guess they really wanted everyone to know just how much they trust God. They trust him like, A LOT.
The bill, HB839, was sponsored by Representative Kimberly Daniels, a Democrat. Once again, we have proof that the religious ideologues are not isolated to a single political party in this country.
Daniels celebrated her victory with a Facebook post that I found particularly irritating (partly because I am a fan of Seinfeld, and she used a screenshot from an episode in the post). But remember the student activists who were gathered outside that very chamber? They were the kind of students who have already called bullshit on "thoughts and prayers". These students want real action. And as they stood outside those doors this is what their lawmakers did with their time.
OK, OK, so just for a moment, ignore your politics. Ignore your stance on gun control. Forget all that. Whatever could help school children in Florida's public schools, in general and in mass shooting scenarios, this is DEFINITELY not it. This is the least useful thing these lawmakers could do.
For all these people proclaiming that shootings happen in schools because "God isn't allowed in schools," I have to ask: what about all the shootings that have been happening in churches? You know, like the one a few months ago in Texas? Or the 147 church shootings between 2006 and 2016 in this country? If God is unable to protect his own flock in his own house, then what the hell is putting "In God We Trust" up on the wall of a school going to do? And besides all that, I thought "God is everywhere," so why do we need to put the words up? Does he have to be invited in like a vampire?
This is a useless gesture, a waste of taxpayer money, and flagrantly ignores the separation of church and state. It never should have been proposed, let alone gotten such support. We need real solutions to the problems we face, not 2,000 year old fairy tales and superstitious nonsense.