A new bill signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will designate the first weekend in August as “Tennessee’s Weekend of Prayer Over Students,” when
… the people of this state may, in accordance with their own faith and consciences, turn to prayer, meditation, or otherwise give thanks for the students of this state as well as their teachers, administrators, and schools.
In other words, this law is absolutely useless, since you could do all those things already…
Can’t wait for those legislators to get to work on the “Breathing on Wednesdays is Okay with Us” bill.
This is blatant pandering. It accomplishes nothing, but it makes religious people feel good. In other words, it’s just like prayer itself.
Sam Grover, a staff attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, issued a statement on Tennessee’s bill.
“The recently passed SB202 falls short of taking any real step toward education reform. As FFRF’s co-founder, Anne Nicol Gaylor, once put it, ‘nothing fails like prayer.’ Calling for Tennesseans to pray is not only ineffective, it can also constitute a government endorsement of religion, which violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. If Tennessee legislators want to honor educators, then the best thing for them to do is get off their knees and get back to work.”
It’s no surprise that the bill was the work of a Christian organization, First Priority Blue Ridge, that proselytizes to children. They wanted the bill. They got the bill. And everyone worked together to ignore any substantive issues related to education.
There’s no penalty, by the way, for breaking this law. So for one weekend in August, we can all be criminals in Tennessee.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)