Earlier this year, Virginia legislators attempted to pass Senate Bill No. 236. Among other things, the bill would legalize student-led, administration-supported proselytizing at football games, during morning announcements, graduation ceremonies, and anywhere else where students had a public forum. While the bill had stalled at one point, it eventually made it through both the state Senate (on a 20-18 vote) and House (64-34).
Proponents of the bill argued that it allowed students to organize religious clubs, plan “See you at the pole” gatherings, and wear religious symbols — but all of those things were already legal. The only thing this bill did was “permit a student speaker to express a religious viewpoint at any school event at which a student is permitted to publicly speak.” It was Christian code, letting students know they could (and should) proselytize at every available opportunity. It was a horrible idea, but the legislators didn’t have the backbone to stand up to the Christian Right.