The bill had passed the Florida Senate and was headed for the House, where it was introduced by Charles E. Van Zant.
Today we read in the Orlando Sentinel the news that House passes bills allowing school prayer and banning Internet cafes. We’re not interested in the internet cafe bill, but school prayer always gets our attention — not only because it’s so often intertwined with creationism, but also on constitutional grounds. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The 88-27 vote on what opponents called a “school prayer” bill sent the measure to Gov. Rick Scott, who’s expected to sign it.
Wow — 88 to 27. Isn’t that wonderful? The story continues:
The proposal, SB 98, would permit school boards to adopt standards permitting students to lead public prayer at any school event, even mandatory gatherings like student assemblies. The prayer would have to be initiated and delivered by students, with no involvement by faculty or staff.
That’s the same as the Senate bill we wrote about before. Now it’s going to the Governor for signature. Aren’t you thrilled? Let’s read on:
Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, said he was hopeful that returning inspirational messages to schools – more than 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory prayer — would help cure some problems that schools faced today.
What problems will this bill cure? Poor math and science education? The news story continues:
“Before we moved [he probably meant “removed”] inspirational messages, the No. 1 problem was talking out of turn,” he said. “Now, it’s drug abuse.”
This bill is going to solve the schools’ drug problem? Of course it will! It’s so obvious, now that it’s been explained to us. Here’s more:
The bill was decried by many Democrats as unconstitutional and as unfair to minority students. Rep. Marty Kiar, D-Davie, also said he was concerned about the messages students could choose to express, since adult supervision would not be allowed, noting a student could say the Holocaust didn’t occur or argue for racial intolerance.
“What really concerns me is that the bill sponsor basically said that a student can even preach something that could endanger the health and safety of our students,” he said. “They could advocate for drug abuse, the could advocate for gang violence and that scares me.”
That’s rather alarmist. We’re confident that with student-contrived inspirational messages, everything will be wonderful and all of society’s problems will be solved. We congratulate the Florida legislature for their brilliant work.
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