We put the year in our title, because this issue has come up before and we don’t want our titles to get confused. The Florida legislature has shown alarming signs of advancing lunacy ever since we started this blog in 2008. That was the year when rapturous Ronda Storms (along with others) nearly passed a bill forcing creationism into the public schools.
But it’s not only creationism that motivates the lawmakers. In 2009 we posted School Prayer in Florida: It’s Back! There was also a creationism bill that year from Senator Stephen R. Wise, but it didn’t go anywhere.
In 2010 the lawmakers were quiet about creationism, but we posted Ronda Storms & Prayer in Florida Schools.
In 2011, the legislature passed a constitutional amendment that will be voted on by the citizens in 2012, allowing churches to raid the state treasury. See Florida’s Theocratic Constitutional Amendment, #7. There was also the usual creationism bill, but see Florida’s 2011 Creationism Bill: Probably Dead.
In 2012, things have been quiet (so far) regarding creationism, but the issue of prayer in the public schools has returned. At the website of the CBS television station in Miami we read “School Prayer” Bill Ready For Florida Senate Vote. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Florida Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a controversial bill that could bring prayer into Florida schools, if school districts allow. Students would be allowed to lead prayers or give inspirational messages, and under the proposal, there would be virtually no limit to what can be said.
That’s just lovely. Who is behind this year’s bill? We are told:
The bill, sponsored by Orlando Senator Gary Siplin, has just one prohibition; that adults could not deliver the messages. But if a student wanted a PA mike to deliver a Bhu29392dist [[sic, presumably that’s “Buddhist”] message at a football game, or if a student wanted to lead his classroom in a Muslim prayer, that would be permitted, along with evangelical messages, Wiccan prayers, and more.
As we discussed here, Ronda Storms, Ronda Storms, the Florida creationism queen has a Democrat ally, Senator Gary Siplin. According to Wikipedia, Gary Siplin “is the first convicted felon to serve in the Florida Legislature, and sponsored legislation that would restore voting rights to himself and other convicted felons.” Let’s read on from the news article:
Messages must be inspirational and delivered by a student, but the law not only [doesn’t] define ‘inspirational’, it specifically prohibits school districts from doing so.
That’s a garbled sentence. By going to Siplin’s page at the legislature’s website, Senator Gary Siplin, and clicking on the “Bills Introduced” tab, we find his legislative masterpiece: SB 98: Education. It says:
We’ve seen worse. And we note that rapturous Ronda Storms is a co-introducer. This is so sweet — Storms and Siplin, together again. The news article continues:
While the bill originally would have made it clear that prayers could only be offered at events students aren’t required to attend, now the bill would allow prayer at any school event.
That’s nice — prayers at compulsory events. And now we hear from rapturous Ronda:
Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, said she couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want students to hear inspirational messages at the start of an assembly. “Do you suppose opponents want, instead of to inspire little first graders, maybe they want to demoralize them?” asked Storms.
Brilliant, as always. So there you are. Oh, wait — there’s a companion bill in the Florida House: H 317, introduced by Charles E. Van Zant, with co-introducers Campbell; Drake; Julien; Rooney; and Sands. Great legislators, all.
We may yet see a new creationism bill in Florida. This legislative session won’t end until 09 March. If not, that’s okay. Siplin’s bill will do the job of getting religion into the schools.
Addendum: According to the Miami Herald, Siplin’s bill passed in the Senate. See: Senate approves school prayer bill.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.