Indiana State Senator Files Bill Requiring Public Schools to Recite the Lord’s Prayer

Last year, Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse (R-Obviously) proposed a bill (PDF) to recite the Lord’s Prayer in public schools:

Dennis Kruse

The Lord’s Prayer, by the way, is written in Matthew 6:9-13.

If Kruse actually read that part of the Bible, he might have seen Matthew 6:5:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others…

Mhmmm…

Anyway, the bill went nowhere because it’s blatantly unconstitutional.

A couple of weeks later, Kruse sponsored a bill that would promote Creationism in science class. Even worse, the state’s Senate Education Committee voted 8-2 in support of the bill! (It didn’t ultimately get passed, though, because it’s blatantly unconstitutional.)

So what’s Kruse up to now?

He’s (once again) trying to force kids in public schools to recite the Lord’s Prayer

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has filed a bill that would allow school districts to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, though individual students could opt out if they or their parents preferred.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, has assigned it to the Senate’s rules and legislative procedure committee, often a burial ground for bills.

“My initial instincts were that it was probably unconstitutional,” Long, an attorney, said.

The Senate legal staff agreed, he said.

“It’s a clear violation of the interpretation of the First Amendment by the United States Supreme Court,” Long said, adding: “It’s not a personal opinion on my part.”

Andrew Seidel of FFRF weighed in, too:

“This is so blatantly unconstitutional, it’s amazing,” Seidel said.

And, he said, allowing students to opt out of the pray doesn’t make the bill constitutional.

“Courts have addressed that before,” he said. “Voluntariness does not excuse a constitutional violation.”

Kruse has to know his proposals are illegal. He may be stupid, but he’s not stupid. He’s pushing these bills for no other reason than to appease his conservative Christian fan base.

What surprises me is how this isn’t a bigger news story.

If Kruse proposed reading, not the Lord’s Prayer, but the prayer of any other religion, this would be national news. (Imagine if he suggested reading from the Koran? Yikes.) But we’re so used to Christian demagogues trying to push their faith into the school system that this story barely registers on the map.

Oh, by the way, in case you’re not apoplectic enough yet: Kruse is the chairman of the Senate education committee. He’s not just on it, he runs it!

Indiana, what the hell is wrong with you…?

(via Joe. My. God.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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