Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford Nailed by Rob Sherman March 21, 2008

Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford Nailed by Rob Sherman

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) is the moron who sponsored the Mandatory Moment of Silence bill in the Illinois Senate.

Thankfully, that bill is on its way to being a Voluntary Moment of Silent Reflection.

Lightford was on a panel with atheist activist Rob Sherman on the local show Chicago Tonight on Thursday.

First, a brief reminder of what Lightford had said previously about the bill:

“I recognize the separation between church and state, but expression must be treated fairly by our public schools… This bill favors expression during a time that does not affect the everyday routine of our students. Senate Bill 1463 is a neutral act, which afford students the opportunity to reflect upon whatever they wish religious or not.

Now, here’s what she said on the panel last night:

We do it in the Illinois General Assembly. Before we convene, any day in the General Assembly, we have to say a prayer with a priest, a rabbi or some sort of clergy to start our day. And I believe it’s a huge contradiction not for it to be a suggestion that our youth do it…

Did she just say all kids should be praying in school even though she had explicitly denied that before?

That sounds downright contradictory…

And Rob nailed her on it:

SHERMAN: Senator Lightford said right here on Channel 11 that she wants students to think about praying —

LIGHTFORD: I did not say that! I said that children should reflect—

SHERMAN: You said they pray in General Assembly and the children should think about doing that.

LIGHTFORD: I did not say that. You just said that.

Maybe you want to hear the audio version of this exchange (MP3).

No wonder our state legislature can’t get anything done… to paraphrase a famous saying: how can you engage in a battle of reason with an un-armed person?

There is a brighter side to all this. Rob Sherman and his daughter Dawn had been the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against this bill. The judge, Robert W. Gettleman, has now ruled that he wants to expand that side of the lawsuit “into a class-action lawsuit that would include all Illinois school districts” (unless the schools opted out).

Gettleman said he wants to hear from both sides before extending an injunction he issued in November temporarily blocking the state superintendent from enforcing the Illinois law, which requires a brief period of prayer or reflective silence at the start of every school day.

He also wants the sides to plan how to inform school districts of the class action and whether districts can opt out of the case.


The more this turns into an embarrassing spectacle, the more Kimberly Lightford gets exposed as a religiously-motivated moron who knows nothing about separation of state and church and even less about how public schools operate.

(Thanks to infideljoe for the link!)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • josh

    I don’t see any comments on this thread, and I can’t stop myself from asking, “Is it true that their general assembly members *must* speak to a rabbi, priest, etc, before they can start thier day?” I mean, if that’s true, I can’t think of a better example that the legislature has no clue what separation of state and church means.

  • Chase

    Let’s hold on to some moral integrity here and not call people morons just because they have misguided beliefs. I don’t know enough about Lightford to say that she’s not a moron, but it usually takes a certain level of qualification to get people to vote you into any office, and that qualification generally requires a fair amount of intelligence and education. With this in mind, I wouldn’t say that she, and far too many of the other people that are representing us, is a moron. I would just say that she’s overzealously pursuing legislation on the basis of an irrational superstition. Besides, as far as I know, there is no law or constitutional mandate separating church and state. Let the ignorant and misguided believe what they want to believe, so long as they show us the same courtesy.

  • Darryl

    I don’t know enough about Lightford to say that she’s not a moron, but it usually takes a certain level of qualification to get people to vote you into any office, and that qualification generally requires a fair amount of intelligence and education.

    Chase, you’re young aren’t you? Only a young naive person could write this. The lady is a moron.

    More to the point, what’s up with Democrats in Illinois? Are they the dreaded “Reagan Democrats” that John McCain is depending on?

  • ExpatLV

    Christians insist on trying to cram praying in public venues down everyone’s throat by trying to slip legislation by lily-livered State and US representatives and senators.

    In truth when the fundies try to codify prayer in ANY public venue, they’re in direct conflict with what their own savior told them in Matt. 6:5-15 (specifically verses 5 and 6)

    (from New American Standard Bible)
    Matt. 6
    5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
    7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
    9 “Pray, then, in this way: [the rest of verse 9 on through 15 contains what they call ‘The Lord’s Prayer.”

    Christians, especially the fundies, love quoting the Bible when it suits their purposes. They also love ignoring other parts of it when THAT suits their purposes.

    Their own Bible is often the best tool to burst their hot-air balloons.


  • Snickerpoodle

    As an a teacher, I resent the waste of time every morning for our children to “silently reflect.” The kindergartners are picking their noses, the third graders are trying to remember if they did their homework, and the sixth graders are checking to see if the cute boy next to them is noticing them. All the teachers are being paid, all the children are holding still, WE COULD BE GETTING SOMETHING DONE HERE. It’s a waste of precious instructional time.

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