The folks down in Texas don’t want President Bush hogging all of the religious fundamental spotlight so they’ve taken it upon themselves to pass legislation that forces kids to pause for a moment of silence and then recite both the Texas and U.S. Pledges of Allegiance.
AUSTIN—In less than 60 seconds, the Texas Senate voted Tuesday to require the state’s 4.1 million public school students to pause for a daily minute of silent prayer, meditation or reflection.
By voice vote, senators gave preliminary approval to Senate Bill 83, with final approval expected soon.
The measure, by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, also mandates that school districts require students to recite the Texas and U.S. pledges of allegiance before the minute of silence.
Students could be excused from the pledge recitals upon written notice from a parent or guardian, but they wouldn’t be able to opt out of a minute of silence.
Naturally some folks are already decrying the bill as a transparent attempt to insert prayers back into school. Will Harrell of the ACLU of Texas is predicting the Texas House will modify the bill to protect the rights of students to roll out prayer rugs or speak in tongues according to their particular religious beliefs. Wait a second, would speaking in tongues be violating the moment of silence?
When challenged, the Senator who wrote the bill and Governor both were able to recite the Texas Pledge though Gov. Dewhurst did manage to slip up and reveal his true intentions behind supporting the law:
Upon request, Dewhurst and Wentworth also proved able to recite the Texas pledge: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.”
Dewhurst didn’t answer when asked if the Senate, which like the House opens each day with a prayer, should begin each daily session with flag pledges.
“I can’t imagine anyone that would be opposed in these very tough times to let our youngsters take a moment of silence in school and have silent prayer,” Dewhurst said.
Fortunately for the good Governor the Senator was able to cover for him:
“Or reflection or meditation,” Wentworth said. “So we’re not insisting that they pray, just so long as they’re quiet for a minute. That’s all we’re asking.”
I wonder why these two gentlemen feel that special time needs to be set aside for folks to use as they see fit, be it prayer or self-reflection or navel contemplation, what have you. Do they think that unless they provide 60 seconds each day some of the kids might forget to pray? And why the forced Pledge recitals? Do they really think forcing kids to go through the motions will make them any more patriotic?
Welcome to America, land of the free, except for at the beginning of the school day when you MUST pray and you MUST recite a pledge of affiliation otherwise we’ll call you a commie pinko and give you violent wedgies in the hallway.