Florida hasn’t been active in creationist legislation for about six years, when Ronda Storms was the creationist queen of the Florida Senate. But now the state is back in action. In the Orlando Sentinel we read: Lawmakers file bill to protect “religious expression” in Florida schools. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Florida needs a new law to protect “religious expression in public schools” and to make sure students aren’t discriminated against, if they share religious beliefs in their school work, according to two state lawmakers. Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala and Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, filed the bills (SB 436, HB 303) to create a new “religious liberties act.”
Here are the lawmakers’ pages at the legislature’s website: Senator Dennis Baxley. He’s a funeral director. And here’s Representative Kimberly Daniels. Her occupation is “Author/International Speaker.” We found one of her books at Amazon: Prayers That Bring Change: Power-Filled Prayers that Give Hope, Heal Relationships, Bring Financial Freedom and More!
Both bills are the same, so here a link to the one in the Senate: SB 436: Religious Expression in Public Schools. Nothing has happened except that it’s been referred to the committees on Education and Judiciary. This is where you can read the bill’s text. And here’s a link to the companion bill in the House: HB 303: Religious Expression in Public Schools. Back to the news story:
The identical bills say, among other things, that students could not be penalized for expressing religious views in “coursework, artwork or other written and oral assignments” and must have their work judged based on academic standards not religious content.
What’s the point of allowing students to preach in class? We’re told:
Baxley [who introduced the bill in the Senate], in a statement, said he introduced the measure to make sure public schools safeguard students’ rights. “The First Amendment clearly protects our right to free speech, which includes religious expression, and we must work to ensure that right is maintained,” he said.
Great. That’s what we need in the public schools. This is strange legislation. We’ll keep an eye on it.
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