Conservative politicians in Kansas and Mississippi are trying to once again obliterate the wall separating church and state with new legislation.
First, in Kansas, Republican Representative Michael Capps is the lead sponsor of a proposed bill that would force every public building to prominently display the national motto "In God We Trust." Every single classroom in public schools would be required to display the motto.
The bill awaits final decisions by the House and Senate. Bills like this one have popped up in the last few years in states like Florida, and Oklahoma.
American Atheists president Nick Fish was quick to condemn the bill. "This bill has nothing to do with educating Kansas students. It's clear some lawmakers care more about forcing a religious message into classrooms than teaching the facts," Fish said in a statement.
Responding to criticism, Capps said, "If fringe groups are offended, they are welcome to move elsewhere."
"I will continue to pray for the atheists in Kansas," he added.
Ugh, this nonsense is such a waste of time and money, and more importantly, a blatant attempt to indoctrinate children.
Over in Mississippi, it is even worse. GOP Rep. Jill Ford, who has only been in office for a few weeks, but is working on a bill that would force public schools to start every day with the Lord's Prayer. Sorry, Jews, Muslims, and atheists, down in Mississippi, everyone has to pray to the Christian god! This is 'Murica!
Ford bragged about her ignorance in a Facebook post on her page: "... I filed my very first Bill. A Bill that will more than likely never see the light of day. But one the Lord planted in my heart years ago: To begin every morning with The Lord’s Prayer in every public school in Mississippi."
"Can you only imagine what would begin to happen in the Spiritual Realm if the children would stand before Him lifting their heads in prayer asking Him to 'lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil' – oh how we would see the atmosphere begin to change across Mississippi as depression and suicide would stop becoming the norm, we would watch as our children’s grades begin to rise, their hearts softened and their minds saturated with good thoughts and not thoughts of addictions. The Word says 'the eyes of the Lord range to and fro searching for those hearts committed to Him' and I believe that His eyes would fall on our children every single morning as they continually sought him to 'give them this day their daily bread …' my heart melts just imagining it!"
"First step is requesting Congress to allow prayer back in school. Stranger things have happened: it got taken out by one hell-bent woman. Maybe, just maybe, this heaven-bent woman could have something to do with getting it put back in. I know there is a lot of editing to be done, but I just pray it will at least be taken seriously."
I think it was her brain that melted, not her heart. By the way, the "hell-bent woman" she is referencing in that last paragraph is Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
O'Hair founded American Atheists and served as its first president. It was her court case Murray vs. Curlett that stopped mandatory prayer in schools. That of course, is the subtlety that Ford and her fellow nut-jobs fail to grasp.
Students can still pray in schools! They always have been able to do that! They just cannot be forced to pray by their teachers and the faculty. That was what O'Hair fought for, the freedom not to pray if you do not believe in Christianity.
But conservative Christians do not care. They just want to ram their religion down everyone's throats.
It is worth noting that Mississippi a couple years ago, Mississippi tied with Alabama for the most religious state in the United States, while also narrowly beating West Virginia for the unfortunate distinction of least educated state.
If Ford really wanted to help the students of Mississippi, she would be pushing for more funding for schools, better resources, and other helpful education reforms. Instead she is obsessed with ancient fairy tales and the forced indoctrination of children.
For more stories about U.S. politicians playing favorites with Christianity, you can find my coverage here.