Florida Bills Allow Religion in Public Schools

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.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

7 responses to “Florida Bills Allow Religion in Public Schools

  1. (2) A school district may not discriminate against a
    39 student, parent, or school personnel on the basis of a religious
    40 viewpoint or religious expression. A school district shall treat
    41 a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint on an
    42 otherwise permissible subject in the same manner that the school
    43 district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular
    44 viewpoint.

    This is the Dishonesty Institute’s take on freedom of speech to diss evolution.

    (3)(a) A student may express his or her religious beliefs
    46 in coursework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments
    47 free from discrimination.
    A student’s homework and classroom
    48 assignments shall be evaluated, regardless of their religious
    49 content, based on expected academic standards relating to the
    50 course curriculum and requirements. A student may not be
    51 penalized or rewarded based on the religious content of his or
    52 her work if the coursework, artwork, or other written or oral
    53 assignments require a student’s viewpoint to be expressed.

    So if a student claims Fred Flintstone co-mingled with the dinosaurs, he won’t be penalized, yet if it must be judged against the expected academic standards relating to the course curriculum and requirements, would he not be in error. Of course the science standards can also be scrapped, If passed, any student can say whatever they wish, won’t be penalized, and will still receiving a passing grade as their work cannot be penalized? What a great society we live in, it’s called a free-for-all.

  2. 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.

    If “academic standards” are used, then any YEC or other creationist nonsense should have no standing.

    But the last thing a bill of this type really wants is for students to be judged on academic standards. Its sole purpose is to let students peddle all sorts of non-scientific religious beliefs in lieu of academic standards and get away with it.

  3. Good. All of those repressed Satanists, Wiccans, Pastafarians, and (gasp) Muslims, can now freely express their beliefs in their schoolwork. I didn’t know the good people of Florida were so inclusive.

  4. Not to mention those Mormons, Catholics, Unitarians, Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Episcopalians, …

  5. Michael Fugate

    It would be so easy to subvert – the authors have such limited experience they can imagine only one outcome.

  6. Holding The Line In Florida

    Yeah, easy to subvert, but down here there will not be many options. Either Christian A, B, or C. Your choice. Don’t see a lot of Pastafarians, Muslims, Buddhists. The Christian will mostly be of the Evangelical types. You know the types. Pence, Hambo types. Remember this is the Arc of Florida you are talking about.

  7. I’m kind of surprised that the Florida bill didn’t include political freedom of speech as well as religious freedom of speech. After all, many of the same people who want to preach their religious views in school also want to write term papers and give speeches which deny climate change and promote open-carry of firearms. They tell sob-stories about how Junior “disproved” glacier shrinkage and exposed the evil scientists’ lies but got a bad grade for it because the teachers and school boards are all “sheeple” who drank the bright-colored, powdered drink mix.