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So Much for the Separation of Church & State: Alabama Passes Bill for Daily School Prayer

prayerSeparation of church and state …

What’s that?

Apparently, they aren’t really sure of the meaning down in Alabama, where lawmakers have approved a bill requiring school prayer every morning.

As Gawker notes, “Alabama, of course, is a churchin’ state, ranked the “2nd most religious state” behind its neighbor, Mississippi.”

So, it’s not that I’m surprised by Alabama’s desire to make prayer present in schools, but the blatant disregard of the law is worthy of more than just a raised eyebrow.

And yet, somehow, a committee in Alabama’s House of Representatives has managed to push through a bill requiring teachers and students in all of the state’s public schools to spend 15 minutes every morning in Christian prayer, despite the fact that a majority of legislators present were in opposition to the measure.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser,  the bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, would require teachers to dedicate 15 minutes in the first class of each day to reading opening prayers before a meeting of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.

Apparently, the bill was passed via “voice vote,” and as the Montgomery Advertiser notes, “House Clerk Jeff Woodard said the chairman of each committee has the discretion to decide the outcome of a voice vote. Committee members can request roll call votes if there’s a dispute, but none of the Education Policy committee members did.”

Hmmm … something stinks in Alabama, and it ain’t the fried fish the state is famous for.

Hurst tells the Montgomery Advertiser: “Every bit of this bill is already legal. It’s just that no one knows it’s legal.”

Let’s hope it stays that way. Hey, Alabama — here’s an idea! How about focusing on education in the schools and leave religion to the churches and parents? A crazy idea, I know, but give it a try. It just might work!

Image: Flickr

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