Mandatory Moment of Silence Blocked!

A couple weeks ago, Dawn Sherman and her father Rob brought forth a lawsuit trying to block the mandatory moment of silence in Illinois.

Yesterday, a U.S. District judge upheld the lawsuit!

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman blocked a northwest suburban school district from following the mandate, and he could extend the ban to schools statewide today. In his preliminary ruling, Gettleman found that the law was vague and questioned how teachers and school officials were supposed to follow it and how it was to be enforced.

The court got it absolutely right.

The judge should be ruling today over whether schools across the state will have to follow the mandate.

To reiterate: prayer in school is fine as long as it is not forced.

Rob and Dawn did the right thing by suing and congratulations should go out to them for making this happen!

Rob also provided this excellent soundbyte:

“It’s nice to win one, for a change,” joked the activist, who is often in court battling for atheist causes.



[tags]atheist, atheism, Rob Sherman[/tags]

  • JeffN

    What””’s wrong with prayer if you believe in it. and if you don’t then stand in a moment of silence. If the word prayer is the issue then simply call it a moment of silence for prayer meditation or thought. Having looked at the article it didn’t seem like anyone was being forced to pray any more then by going to lunch they were being forced to eat. I fail to see what the big deal is hear. What’s next law suits for leading Schools in the pledge of aleagance.

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    he could extend the ban to schools statewide today.

    Awesome…my daughter’s school now wastes a minute a day because of that stupid mandatory moment of silence law.

    Jeff, because my children go to school to learn, not to have mandatory moments of silence.

    If they had to eat lunch in silence I’d have a problem with that too. They don’t – they are free to do as they wish, so that counts as a break in the day which is a healthy thing.

    They don’t need a minute of silence when they’ve just got there. If people want to pray why can’t they do it at home and not inflict their belief in the value of a moment of silence on children in school?

  • JeffN

    I understand your point but i don’t think a minute a day is worth going to court over. The point i was trying to get across is it seems like some people or making a big fuss over what seems to be a little thing. Kinda like trying to stab Dracula in the heart when your really only being bothered by a gnat.

  • Michael B.

    Jeff,
    The point isn’t the size of the problem. Small issues like this open the door to other larger issues.

    If my kid was forced to have a moment of silence every morning I would fight it as well. The intent is obviously to allow for time to pray, If not to pray, what is the need for it and why make it mandatory?

    Nip it in the butt now and we don’t have to be forced to do something much worse later. Thats my view anyway

  • JeffN

    Your money your fight good luck.

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    Jeff, since you brought up money: my taxpayers money is paying for a minute of silence a day in school when it should be paying for my kids to be learning something.

    If it was a minute of indoctrination into atheism THEN would you care? Maybe the reason you don’t care is because this particular issue doesn’t bother you. If your kids were forced to do something for a minute a day that did bother you, I think you’d fight it too. I don’t think you’d be arguing, hey, a minute a day doesn’t matter.

  • JeffN

    Helen said

    If it was a minute of indoctrination into atheism THEN would you care? Maybe the reason you don’t care is because this particular issue doesn’t bother you. If your kids were forced to do something for a minute a day that did bother you, I think you’d fight it too. I don’t think you’d be arguing, hey, a minute a day doesn’t matter.

    No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes without intelligent design being taught right beside it. and my tax dollars are paying for that to.You raise your kids the best you can and despite the best laid plans of mice and men they come to there own terms and convictions.
    I see no more difference or harm in a minute a day of silence or (Prayer) if you like then i do in an hour a day of being taught evolution and i hold to my stubborn point of view that some are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  • Siamang

    I understand your point but i don’t think a minute a day is worth going to court over.

    By those same lights, was a minute a day worth passing a law over? Is a minute a day worth mandating in all the public schools? Is a minute a day, which adds up to three hours a year, really worth passing a law over?

    Or is the duration really the issue?

    What if the tables were turned, and instead of a moment of silence, we had 4 moments of bowing when facing east? HEY, nobody’s FORCING you to pray to Allah.. these are just moments of bowing and facing… those are very good to get the circulation flowing… it’s exercise.

    Who cares if the law authorizing the bowing was called the Silent Bowing for Circulation and Student Prayer to Almighty Allah and His Prophet Muhhamad (pbuh) Act? It’s not unconstitutional or anything… it’s just a MINUTE!

  • Siamang

    No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes without intelligent design being taught right beside it.

    Oh now… here we go.

    Cue the flat-earth crowd. “Evolution isn’t real….”

  • Polly

    The point i was trying to get across is it seems like some people or making a big fuss over what seems to be a little thing.

    I agree but from the opposite side. I mean what is with the Illinois legislature these days? Why do they care so much about a mere minute, that they have to waste our tax dollars writing up a law? They should spend their time actually trying to solve problems rather than pushing through puff-legislation.

    But, that’s the point, it’s not just feel-good legislation. They’re just getting their foot in the door. They’re testing the waters. If we let them get away with this crap, they’ll push for a lot more than a minute of silence down the road. Best to nip it in the bud.
    btw- I’m not from Illinois. but if it happened in CA…

  • JeffN

    Siamang said

    Cue the flat-earth crowd. “Evolution isn’t real.

    That’s another topic for another forum as I’ve been told once are twice before I was simply using it in line with this forum to make a point.

    Siamang said

    What if the tables were turned, and instead of a moment of silence, we had 4 moments of bowing when facing east? HEY, nobody’s FORCING you to pray to Allah.. these are just moments of bowing and facing… those are very good to get the circulation flowing… it’s exercise.

    By the time you graduated you would have tite abs.
    four minutes seems accessive how about cutting it back to one or mabie one and a half.

    I never realized just how powerful religion was before stumbling onto this sight. Back on topic that’s a good question Siamang and in parts of the world that question is a reality I would like to pose the same question above to you and every one else. if it were Allah or Buddhaa or Confucia or Zeus instead of Christ that they were being told to pray to would it make a diferance to you. Would you still care as much or at all.

  • JeffN

    Polly said,

    I agree but from the opposite side. I mean what is with the Illinois legislature these days? Why do they care so much about a mere minute, that they have to waste our tax dollars writing up a law? They should spend their time actually trying to solve problems rather than pushing through puff-legislation.

    I agree eather way it’s a mountain out of a mole hill.

  • Siamang

    if it were Allah or Buddhaa or Confucia or Zeus instead of Christ that they were being told to pray to would it make a diferance to you. Would you still care as much or at all.

    I would care just as much.

    Listen, I was born in America. I’m used to this “we’re Christians, we’re the majority, we’re going to force our beliefs down your throat any chance we get.” I get it. I’m used to it. I mostly let it slide.

    I don’t protest because pushy Christians took away our national motto of unity “Out of Many, One” and shoved the divisive “In God We Trust” in there instead. I don’t march with signs when Christians forced children to swear an oath to God and country every morning at school. I don’t swear and stamp when Congress opens each session with a Christian prayer, and the one time in 200 years when someone was allowed to give a Hindu prayer, the Christians had a shit-fit.

    So no, I’m USED to “We’re Christians, we fucking own this country, and if you don’t like it, get the fuck out.”

    I just like it when someone stands up against it and wins one, every now and then.

  • JeffN

    Enjoy the victory. Chow

  • Shane

    if it were Allah or Buddhaa or Confucia or Zeus instead of Christ that they were being told to pray to would it make a diferance to you. Would you still care as much or at all.

    Man, I hate that argument. Yes, I would care just as much. Luckily, I live in Canada so I don’t have to put up with quite as much of this nonsense.

    All religions should stay where they belong: in a comparative mythology class.

  • Anon

    Ciao.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Kinda like trying to stab Dracula in the heart when your really only being bothered by a gnat.

    Ummmm yeah, I HATE when that happens.

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    I love how JeffN‘s grammar and spelling is consistently poor.

  • Siamang

    Okay, now that’s just piling on the guy.

    My spelling and grammar ain’t always perfect either. It’s better to communicate and learn from each other than to ding a guy for spelling.

  • The Vicar

    He wants schools to spend time doing things other than providing education, but he also shows (by example) that there are people who won’t learn spelling and grammar even without that time taken away. One cannot judge an idea by the form in which it is presented, but anyone arguing about education should at least demonstrate that they understand the topic.

  • Julie

    It’s better to communicate and learn from each other than to ding a guy for spelling.

    Hm….I suppose. Well, I could teach spelling. I could communicate how to spell correctly.

    Honestly spelling isn’t that big a deal to me. Our language is silly. It should be easier to spell.

    But I must admit, as an English teacher, I just can’t help but have a really negative reaction to bad grammar.

    Chow ciao,

    Julie

  • Darryl

    I’m glad Mollishka said what I was thinking. Siamang, his grammar and spelling errors are significant for what they imply: he has a poor education, or doesn’t read much, or doesn’t care about learning, or has a shallow mind, or is unaware of how his language colors his remarks. He reinforces the stereotype of the ignorant believer.

  • Karen

    No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes

    If kids were sitting through an hour of evolution classes per day, we’d have a country that is far more scientifically literate than it is now!

  • Karen

    He reinforces the stereotype of the ignorant believer.

    Seems to happen all too often, sadly.

  • Siamang

    If kids were sitting through an hour of evolution classes per day, we’d have a country that is far more scientifically literate than it is now!

    Agreed. If ONLY we’d get an hour of evolution classes a day!

    but he also shows (by example) that there are people who won’t learn spelling and grammar even without that time taken away

    Point taken. It is perhaps relevant when he’s making the point that kids need one minute fewer of academic instruction a day.

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    Science is secular, not atheistic. It states that it has no opinion on the God issue and cannot detect a God. It is limited to the five senses. And when we apply these tests, the Creation story just does not bear out. Nor does Intelligent Design.

    My Christian friends like to say that they don’t believe in the literal truth of the Bible because to do so leads them to lie. They also don’t let the ~fact~ that species change through time (albeit by a mechanism as yet not fully understood) convert them to the belief that there is no God.

    So what’s JeffN’s problem? Sounds to me like he’s insecure with uncertainty which is the underpinning of Faith. So he’ll carry on the Lie (which is certain) and think he’s serving God?

    (Agnostic here.)

  • JeffN

    Richard Wade said On another forum

    Keep in mind that agreement or disagreement is beside the point to me. I’ll give my reasons why I agree or disagree with someone once I’m confident that I have understood them, but for me the understanding is the goal. Arguments for the purpose of changing another’s opinion are most often a futile effort around here.

    Since i couldn’t have put it better I’ll borrow the above quote.

    and as to my spellllliiiiigggg And grammar. This is a forum not a thesis aside from using it as a personal atack because ise a got an opion ome own what do no councede wit yuse what do you care. Spell check that.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    JeffN,

    You’re funny. :) I like the way you write any way that it comes out. Don’t you change the way you write. I admire it.

  • Gary Charbonneau

    No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes without intelligent design being taught right beside it.

    Good point, since this is prima facie a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause issue and not a First Amendment establishment clause issue.

  • cautious

    If kids were sitting through an hour of evolution classes per day, we’d have a country that is far more scientifically literate than it is now!

    Agreed. If ONLY we’d get an hour of evolution classes a day!

    Yeah, there is so much to learn about evolution and the natural history of life (kids, today we’re going to learn about the Cambrian!) that only an hour a day seems like not enough.

    Another potential benefit besides being more scientifically literate: if biology classes in this country spent more time teaching evolution, then we might not have to worry about mandatory moments of silence for much longer. Not that teaching evolution directly leads to the destruction of narrow-minded religious zealotry, but it certainly helps.

  • Jen

    Siamang, your 12:09 pm post made me want to start a slow clap like in the movies. I completely agree.

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    Helen: If it was a minute of indoctrination into atheism THEN would you care? Maybe the reason you don’t care is because this particular issue doesn’t bother you. If your kids were forced to do something for a minute a day that did bother you, I think you’d fight it too. I don’t think you’d be arguing, hey, a minute a day doesn’t matter.

    Jeff: No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes without intelligent design being taught right beside it. and my tax dollars are paying for that to.You raise your kids the best you can and despite the best laid plans of mice and men they come to there own terms and convictions.
    I see no more difference or harm in a minute a day of silence or (Prayer) if you like then i do in an hour a day of being taught evolution and i hold to my stubborn point of view that some are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    Jeff, no school teaches an hour a day of evolution.

    My son just read the Sermon on the Mount in his social studies class. (Did you realize children DO talk about the Bible at public school – imagine that!) That’s where religion belongs – in the classes covering human history and culture. Until God shows up in the fossil record. When that happens I’ll be happy for my children to be taught about God in their science classes.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    and as to my spellllliiiiigggg And grammar. This is a forum not a thesis aside from using it as a personal atack because ise a got an opion ome own what do no councede wit yuse what do you care. Spell check that.

    You spelling does not need to be perfect, but when you mispell several words per sentence and confuse other words (there/their, here/hear, site/sight) it takes away from any point you are trying to make especially about education.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I was going to stay out of this one, but darn it… I can’t help myself. I have no self-control. :(

    I have two words for this post: WHO CARES?

    Have your moment of silence or do away with the moment silence, and move onto more important matters at hand. I’m sure there are many.

    Personally, I don’t know what exactly it proves by insisting on prayer time in school. What are you praying about anyway that you can’t pray about during the rest of the day? I just don’t get it.

    And “teach” God in school? You don’t TEACH God. God just is. He does a good enough job teaching it Himself. Now, science… that’s something that needs to be taught and learned. Knowledge is power. Only through knowledge and logical reasoning can we truly begin to understand God. He gave us brains for a reason. Otherwise, it’s all just heresay, and we become like the sheep on that poster on the Haiku post. Wow! Amazing! I just came to that conclusion as I was writing this… hmmm…

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    And JeffN,

    You don’t have to try so hard to disguise yourself. Just talk normal, okay? I take back what I said before about your writing. I’m getting bored with it now. And it takes too much effort to decipher what you’re purposely misspelling. So cut it out!

  • stogoe

    No more then an hour a day of siting through evolution classes without intelligent design being taught right beside it.

    Even moreso than multiple exclamation points, this statement right here is the surest sign of ignorance, of sheer inability or unwillingness to hear, learn, or process new information. When I see this tripe, a switch in my brain gets flicked to the “Not Worth My Time” position.

  • JeffN

    Linda Said

    I have two words for this post: WHO CARES?

    I actually agree with you. I find i learn more on this sight by making some of you defend your point of view (some with slightly more passion then others) then by just reading the posts and pretending to agree. Thanks for the debate; will have to do it again sometime.

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    Linda wrote:

    I have two words for this post: WHO CARES?

    I care because a pointless moment of silence is being inflicted on my daughter during her school day.

    If they revoke that mandatory change then I won’t care at all that no moment of silence is being inflicted on my child – and if someone else gets upset about that I’ll probably think WHO CARES? just like you, Linda.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Okay, fair. I was just trying to point out that we have to choose our battles. I agree that it should not be mandatory, but there are bigger battles to be fought.

  • cautious

    I agree that it should not be mandatory, but there are bigger battles to be fought.

    I’m glad you agree with us, Linda. And, of course, there are bigger battles to be fought. There are almost always bigger battles to be fought, since there are so many cases of injustice and horror in the world, and its impossible for any one person to fight all the problems in the world at once. Unless…someone out there is a vegan ACLU member who is working to bring peace to Darfur and cure AIDS and stop climate change and save the whales and is helping overthrow the Myanmar junta and close CIA torture sites and Guantanamo and end conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq and iron out difficulties between Iran and the West and…

    Standing up for the wall of separation of church and state is sometimes an abstract thing. Enforcing the exclusion of mandatory school prayer from public schools is something that regular ordinary Americans can do. Bully for those that are willing to fight the good fight!

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    cautious,

    Was that meant to be sarcasm or humor? It made me laugh, so I’ll take it to be the latter.

    That’s not what I meant. I meant there are bigger battles regarding our kids, such as reforming sex education, bringing back music and art programs, minimizing the ever-increasing academic stress forced on them, etc., instead of using all of our energy on things that the kids really couldn’t care less about and which don’t really affect their overall well-being one way or another. Let’s not make them pawns in our selfish efforts to prove a point (for or against prayer). Let’s use that energy to do something that would actually make a difference in their education. That’s all I was saying… I’m sorry if that sounds too idealistic. I’ve been accused of that before.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Even the Chicago Tribune Supports Blocking the Moment of Silence

  • cautious

    Linda,

    It was humor, and, your points are good. On the most part, I think that where schools are currently constitutionally supposed to stand in regards to religion is good, there just needs to be progressives present on school boards across the country in order to prevent regressives from being the only people who influence where education goes in this country. :)

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Ditto!

  • Abigail S.

    i agree with the person who said that we should just nip this problem in the butt.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Dawn Sherman Featured in the Chicago Tribune

  • Pingback: Illinois Mandatory Moment of Silence Gets Defanged: Still Silly « The Bad Idea Blog


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