South Carolina Lawmakers Renew Effort to Introduce Prayer in Public Schools, Selling It as a Long Moment of Silence January 2, 2014

South Carolina Lawmakers Renew Effort to Introduce Prayer in Public Schools, Selling It as a Long Moment of Silence

I wanted to put together a list of all the places where Americans are allowed to pray unhindered, but it occurred to me that I should just present a picture for slower readers. Here it is. I hope this is clear enough:

Prayer is one hundred percent permissible everywhere. In every home. In every office and factory and shopping mall. In every church, mosque, and synagogue. Also, in every car, bus, or train; in every park and every forest; and (get this) in every school and every government building.

If you’re a believer, you may pray quietly any time, any place — plus, if you’re not in a well-frequented library, a classroom, or a theater, you may even talk to your God out loud.

But that’s not enough for millions of Christians. They support what 10 god-bothering South Carolina lawmakers propose to do with House Bill 3526: push communal prayer onto the daily program of every public school:

A bill to put prayer in schools introduced in February is getting a renewed push from several local lawmakers.

The bill would require schools to give students a moment of silence at the beginning of each school day.

Students who don’t want to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom, the bill states.

A lovely touch, that: forced alienation — and a likely uptick in the bullying of non-praying students — under the guise of choice.

One of H.B. 3526’s sponsors is Rep. Wendell Gilliard (whose Facebook page says he’s a member of South Carolina’s “Legistlative” body. I’m guessing the extra t is a symbolic cross). Gilliard defends the initiative by writing

“We already have Guns, Drugs, Sex, what’s wrong with something that is GOOD!”

“Good” would be to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, rather than allowing group prayer back into schools via a legislative backdoor.

On the other hand, Gilliard deserves points for being perfectly open about what his bill intends to do.

The essential part of the bill, the important part, is putting prayer back in school,” Gilliard said.

As the Supreme Court already decided in Wallace v. Jaffree (1985), no non-religious purpose is served by setting aside an official time slot for “silence” in the captive environment that is a school classroom. Gilliard’s initiative is unconstitutional, and its only goal is to promote the kind of Christian worship that is under attack exactly nowhere in the 50 states — least of all in the South.

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  • “We already have Guns, Drugs, Sex, what’s wrong with something that is GOOD!”

    Sex is good. I thought they think guns are good too, or am I lumping them together with Right Wing nuts too much?

  • SansDeus

    I also wouldn’t lump all drugs in the bad category either.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You want something good? Try following the law.

    Delusions about a man in the sky who will torture you forever if you don’t kiss his ass are the opposite of good.

  • Boarczar Zila

    I went to school in the 80’s and they had a moment of silence in the morning, but I just took that slot to day dream or doodle. Not like they could force me to pray. I would like to see how many kids would actually stay to pray when they could leave and talk to their friends instead.

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    Oh my god do you guys see that? There are two lines going straight across the United States where people aren’t allowed to pray. Our founding fathers would be so disappointed. Fucking OBAMA!!!11!!one!

  • A3Kr0n

    But lines don’t have thickness 😉

  • Matthew Baker

    “Students who don’t want to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom, the bill states.”
    Goodbye Contituionally mandated secularism and hello ostracization by one’s peer group. I know as a kid I don’t think I would have opted out given worries about what my classmates would have thought.

  • wesmanlv

    it is ridiculous to think that kids are praying – really?

  • Jay

    Oh my god, I hope to fuck that this passes!


    Because it will show how absolutely boneheaded they are. “Students who don’t want to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom, the bill states.”

    I taught for 5 years. Give the kids 1 minute to fuck around in the hallway instead of being in the classroom? 90% of them are going to take that moment. Then you’re going to have to drag their asses back in, find the ones that escaped, etc. It’s going to make it just a little more hellish for teachers than it already is.

    Of course, the conclusion of this will be, “You’re due in class as soon as the moment of prayer is over.” Thus negating the entire purpose of this bill. The 10% of kids that want to pray can do it, the other 90% will screw around in the hall, and the first class of the day will be 3 minutes shorter due to the delay in getting those 90% back into the classroom.

    It will be a moral victory for all involved, and will totally prevent anything bad from happening in school because god was invited in.


    People who would break down the barriers between church and state should imagine the religion they dislike the most, having total control over their life.

  • John Williams

    South Carolina cares not for your puny “Constitution” and “Bill of Rights!” They will have their theocratic, Tea Party Dystopia come Hell or high water*.

    *Probably going to be high water since they don’t like paying attention to climate science.

  • Jeff

    No, not at all ridiculous to think that there are kids there praying. I had a classmate who prayed before lunch (I’ll leave out the implication of the quality of cafeteria food). MANDATORY time, that’s the issue.

  • Mike Haynes
  • katiehippie

    There are guns because they want them there. I wasn’t aware that schools allowed drugs. Sex happens.

  • RN from NY

    Former teacher here, too. They will have to appoint a godless atheist teacher in every hallway to watch the godless atheist children in the hallway. Then who will watch the godless atheist’s teacher’s class while they pray and the teacher’s in the hall? Or will they expect teachers to stand in the doorway to watch both? Kids only spend 7-8 hours a day at school. Why can’t they just pray during those other 16 hours a day? Or at lunch?
    What will also end up happening is kids will come to school late since they don’t need to be there for prayer, further discouraging children from attending school or getting there on time. No one in politics ever thinks these kinds of things through, do they?

  • RN from NY

    If sex is bad, they’re not doing it right. I feel pity for the sexually repressed, it must be an awful life.

  • Rationalist1

    Maybe if the also ruled that people would have to spend a minute of thinking before church service I might reconsider my opposition to this.

  • “A lovely touch, that: forced alienation — and a likely uptick in the
    bullying of non-praying students — under the guise of choice.”

    The more they do this, the more they prove what their religion is all about – it’s about organized social alienation, driven by bullies, and should not be dignified as anything better!

  • Jane’e Taylor

    Are you saying that there are schools without a “moment of silence” every day? I guess it’s a normal part of living in Texas. It was always so stupid, just like saying the pledge every day, it just comes off as creepy to me.

  • The Starship Maxima

    That it one of the most intelligent things I’ve ever read on the internet.

  • The Starship Maxima

    A theocratic Tea Party Dystopia actually does sound like a good setting for a post-apocalyptic thriller.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight….

    South Carolina ranked 31st in the country for the amount of money spent per student, is one of three states that his refused to use competitive international standards for testing in math and science, and is below the national average in physician to patient ratio and teen birth rates.

    But this is what the legislature thought was necessary, putting prayer back in schools…..

    Is there a secret factory that cranks out clueless politcians?? If so, it needs to be shut down. Now.

  • Wildcard

    Many of them see those other problems as a result of taking God out of the classroom. So they figure it will solve all their other problems. Or they want their voters to think so.

  • Guest

    May I recommend “The Handmaiden’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood?

  • Keyra

    Does it really have control over your life?

  • Keyra

    What is this “man in the sky” you speak of?

  • b s

    “Is there a secret factory that cranks out clueless politcians?? ”
    Yes, I believe they are called “churches.”

  • The more I see of this game they play, the more I must conclude that there is no god, and there is no religious organization which really stands for anything other than organized alienation. It’s the one place where raving bullies are always welcome just for saying “I believe!”!

  • Keyra

    The way some believers act, really leads you to the conclusion that there’s no God? How does this make sense?

  • EdmondWherever

    Wait, wait, wait. So, any kids that want to, can just, go out in the hall? Groups of them, at the same time? From hundreds of classrooms around the school? Simultaneously?
    Oh, good luck with THAT.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I would think that would be obvious in context, but I’m referring to god.

    And don’t waste your breath preaching at me. I’m well aware that you’re going to think I’m wrong, and want to tell me about how you see god as a real, loving awesome thing. I don’t want or need to hear it.

  • So it’s either utter chaos or it’s alienation and potential bullying.

    Neither of those sounds like a good outcome …

  • Sutrikism

    No, but that’s why separation of church and state is important. It used to control our lives, back when they were executing people for being atheist.

  • Keyra

    I wasn’t gonna preach, just wondering why you assume believers think God is a man in the sky. And if you want nothing to do with God, why talk about It?

  • Keyra

    People throughout history used any excuse in the world to kill and control others

  • Cuz god’s followers do things based on their beliefs, of course. Why wouldn’t we talk about the motivating factor for a lot of bad shit in the world?

    As for why we think believers believe in a man in the sky, that’s because many of them describe god that way.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Do us all a favour and find a new trolling style. You’re not as dumb as you pretend to be, and frankly it’s annoying.

    As to your questions, 1) Have you ever read the bible? and 2) Did you read the article?

    (The answers to that are No and No.)

    Better question: Why are you here? What do you hope to accomplish? And haven’t you gotten tired of this shit?You’re not wanted, and you’re not getting anywhere converting anyone.

  • And yet, somehow, keep going back over and over to one of the most motivating, least testable excuses ever- God wants you to do it!

  • Keyra

    That would be yes and yes, actually. But why would you assume I didn’t read the Bible or read the article? I just asked a question, no need to be irrational

  • Keyra

    There’s numerous motivating factors for bad shit in the world. And all the bad shit these “Christians” do aren’t based on what Jesus taught, now are they?

  • Keyra

    That’s mostly how they justified their actions, doesn’t mean God really wanted them to do it. They picked whatever they wanted from scripture and interpreted what best suited their desires, whether it be for control, murder, anything.

  • Guest

    Great news! Another win for the good guys 🙂 keep up the good fight people of SC!

  • Exactly. And yet you claim that book, or others like it, are holy words from god that make people better.

    A truly perfect god wouldn’t ever be misinterpreted, because, you know, perfect. Unless he wanted to be misinterpreted, which means he really did want all the control and murder and everything.

    How do you know your god didn’t want the murder and control, anyways? You even said people use your scriptures to justify horrible things- how do you know you aren’t reading it wrong?

  • Guest

    They look at Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” and 90’s cartoons and believe God is some kind of invisible man in the sky. I’m sorry, but these atheist childlike beliefs deserve to be ridiculed lol. Such a lack of creativity and critical thinking on their part..

  • Guest

    Millions of atheists and communists followed Mao and Stalin. Your point?

  • Jeez

    If any one them “escapes” good riddance. No need to waste anyone’s time.

  • So people kill in God’s name, but God keeps silent instead of condemning aloud? Sounds like approval to me. I thought he was supposed to be omnipotent and omnibenevolent; surely he could muster a “hey, you’re misusing me!” comment every once in a while, right?

  • Keyra

    That’s where wisdom comes in. The wisdom to make sense of it and know the difference; considering God is complex, why wouldn’t Its word be? I would think putting trust in the Holy Spirit for guidance and understanding (if truly sincere), and read-and-discuss with numerous people would work alot better. And considering the NT preaches mercy, forgiveness, love & grace, it’s ultimately ironic that it’d be meant for evil purposes. Mainly the ruling classes had access to the Bible rather than the people.

  • That depends on which pieces of what Jesus said you follow. Given that Jesus explicitly condones slavery, prefers celibacy to marriage, tells women to sit down and shut up, and is rather anti-Semitic in places, Jesus doesn’t teach good things.

  • Keyra

    Maybe, but we all have free will, and all are judged in the end

  • The NT also teaches anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, dysfunctional and broken families, war, and slavery. It’s not a good book.

    If your god was perfect, he wouldn’t make his book such an incoherent, contradictory clusterfuck that people could easily use it to justify all sorts of horrible things. Putting one’s trust in something so irrational and, well, nonexistent is a really bad idea. Remember, you have to show evidence that it exists first, then we move on to whether worship is a good idea or not.

  • So since our world is indistinguishable from one without a deity, and your supposed deity’s words are misused horribly, why believe in or worship your deity again?

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    Probably Genesis 1:27 tips it off.

    “So God created man in His own image”

  • Keyra

    That was my point, any excuse. Why just get fired up at Christianity when there’s so many other justifications

  • Jeremiah Traeger

    He could tell us to stop and that would not violate our free will in the slightest as long as he didn’t control our minds.

  • Keyra

    When did Jesus tell women to sit down and shut up? Are you referring to the often-misunderstood Timothy verse? That wasn’t Jesus that said that

  • What does free will have to do with this? If God has communicated several times in the past, clearly he can do so again.

  • Richard Thomas

    Well, at least you’re persistent. Wrong, but persistent.

  • Are you saying that Paul was off the reservation?

  • Keyra

    Also, if Jesus promoted slavery, then why are slave traders lumped in the same category as adulterers, perverts and liars? Did you know that people, in order to pay their debts at the time, often voluntarily sold themselves into slavery at the time the Bible was written? A person with certain skills could use them in servitude, and they’d much rather have done that than be in debt. Even a convicted thief could make restitution by serving as a slave (Exodus 22:3) It was an economic issue at the time the Bible was written. It wasn’t something that Jesus promoted and he certainly did teach good things, even Dawkins knows it. I can see where you’d think that when you take a verse out of context, though. Gen 1:27, Acts 17:26-28 and Galatians 3:28 will tell you that all people are created by God with inate equality.

  • Also, if Jesus promoted slavery, then why are slave traders lumped in the same category as adulterers, perverts and liars?

    They aren’t.

  • Guest

    Ew, stalker much?

  • Keyra

    Not really. I would think he was referring to women at the time (you should know how women acted in Pagan Rome and Greece), and alot what Paul wrote about, referred to the socio-cultural environment of the time

  • Keyra

    1 Timothy 1:10. Yes they are

  • Oh here we go, grading God on a curve again. Through God, all things are possible, except apparently changing the social structure to be more just.

    And, please, tell us “how women acted” in Pagan Rome and Greece that would suggest a proper remedy being they sit down and shut up. That will, at the least, be entertaining.

  • No, they are not. The passage refers to kidnappers, not slave traders as we would understand the term. It certainly is not a condemnation of slavery.

  • Gehennah

    It really depends on which version of the Bible you are reading.

    Some versions will say enslavers and slave traders, while others say kidnappers.

    And I’d argue that since Moses’s law is perfectly fine with slavery, and Jesus told slaves to obey their masters, that the original texts had more to do with kidnapping than slavery.

  • Keyra

    Walking around with their tits hanging out, having sex in the streets, often being loud and disruptive during service, etc. How would you have dealt with it?

  • Your evidence for this?

  • Kayra

    Nor does it condone slavery (especially when looking at Egyptian and Civil War-era slavery…but that type of slavery involves kidnapping, wouldn’t you agree? Israelite slavery was voluntarily)

  • Actually, Timothy says that Jesus said to tell the world those things. So there is that. Unless you think that Timothy was lying about that? And if Timothy was lying, why not conclude they’re all lying?

    And slave traders are not slave holders, now are they? Even people who owned or captured slaves often saw traders as the lowest of the low, because they treated their “merchandise” badly. You are aware of the vicissitudes of Roman slavery, which was lifelong and hereditary, right? Furthermore, you do know that slavery in Israelite times wasn’t nearly as “nice” as Christians like to make it out- Israelite men could be freed after 6 years, but women and children weren’t, women could be sold as sex slaves, and foreigners were subject to chattel slavery (there are rules on inheriting slaves, none of which is “you can’t do that”).

    Please tell me in what context these verses are ever ethically acceptable. Then tell me why they have less validity than the verse you focus on.

    1) Foreigners were chattel slavery, who were owned for life and could be passed as property to one’s heirs
    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

    2) Hebrew men had to be set free after six years. Women and children, on the other hand, didn’t have to be, and so could be held hostage to force a man to declare himself a permanent slave to stay with his family.
    If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6)

    3) Oh look, rules for selling one’s daughter into permanent sex slavery!
    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11)

    4) And, of course, the biblical justification for beating one’s slaves only almost to death
    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21)

    5) You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.
    a) Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)
    b) Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    6) In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.
    The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

  • Keyra

    A little historical research, studying the norms of society back then, etc.

  • So, in the context of the second greatest sort of institutionalized crime humans have yet been inventive enough to commit (genocide probably eking out a victory as greatest), the best the Bible and the God who inspired it could muster is neutrality.

  • Gehennah

    Not all of it was voluntary. The rules of slavery were different for Hebrews than when they were taken or bought from the other lands.

    And of course, a slave master could give the Hebrew slave the choice of slavery for life or freedom by giving him a wife, basically he stays with the wife, he’s a slave for life, he abandons his wife and family, he’s a free man.

  • A little historical research

    Such as?

  • Well, you’re the guest, Guest.

  • Neko

    And if Timothy was lying, why not conclude they’re all lying?


    Assuming the gospels reflect a historical Jesus, Jesus and certainly Paul were apocalypticists who believed God would soon intervene in history and establish the kingdom. They promoted moral idealism in anticipation of the cataclysm but didn’t advocate a political restructuring of the social order. They expected God to reorder reality.

  • Keyra

    “And if Timothy was lying, why not conclude they’re all lying?”, why jump to conclusions?

    No honest person reading Jesus’ words can possibly conclude that owning another human being is consistent with his law of Love. No one reading the Sermon on the Mount could conclude that God wished to institute suffering and slavery among his people. No one considering Jesus’ lowly birth and tragic death on a cross could conclude that God wanted those of exalted means to lord it over the impoverished classes. Quite the contrary: we are to be measured by what we do for the least of our brothers – the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned – by the extent to which we live out the meaning of our faith.

    God’s purpose never was to “fix” the world in the way the skeptic envisions, and a pronouncement that slavery should not be practiced would not have solved the problem. Both the spirit and the letter of the law already condemn such behavior. No, the solution God has in mind has more to do with the world to come, and the steps we take now that will decide for us where we will spend eternity. Conveying this plan is not possible in a sound bite culture. With an open mind, and a bit of reflection, God’s unfolding plan does make sense. Not perfect sense perhaps – to us, anyway. But enough to allow us, as Paul said, to not be “ashamed” of the gospel and its message of redemption.

  • Keyra

    I admire your effort to make it sound bad, though

  • Keyra

    But again, it’s all a matter choice

  • Gehennah

    Your god saying it is ok to beat your slaves, or that selling your daughter into slavery is perfectly fine then?

    I’m sorry, a moral god would say “thou shalt not own another human being.” A moral Jesus would tell slavers to leave their masters, especially the cruel ones.

    Yes, Jesus (at least the one in the Bible) had some good points, but you are completely glossing over many of the things that were bad.

  • Gehennah

    Right, abandon your family or be a free man.

    That isn’t about choice, that is about holding someone hostage.

    And what of the non-Hebrew slaves, and the woman, and the children, all of which were slaves for life. They have no choice at all.

  • No effort required. Them’s the words. You think they’re holy, you justify them. I feel perfectly free to condemn them as horrible.

    So tell me, in what context are these not horrible? Why do you feel free to ignore these verses and not others?

  • Why not? People chop off parts of their sons’ penises to please their gods. They sacrifice babies sometimes. They have sacred prostitutes. They sacrifice much-needed money, animals, and crops on the altar of gods. They abstain from sex their whole lives. Why do you think they wouldn’t listen if a god said “don’t own other people”? Why is “don’t own slaves” more unreasonable than those other things?

    Why do you feel free to ignore parts of your book and exalt other parts? It makes you a better person, sure, but it surely isn’t logical or reasonable from the outside.

    Besides, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If your god’s unfolding perfect plan involves the needless, pointless, agonizing deaths of children from starvation and malaria, then fuck him. I expect a triple-omni deity to do better.

  • Why would you assume the gospels reflect a historical Jesus, since they were written well after his death by people who never met him?

  • Sue (Yet, She Persisted) Blue

    Because nothing shows you’re completely assured of the power and love of God like constantly trying to introduce ridiculous laws to force people to worship him.

  • First of all, what is wrong with tits hanging out, sex in the streets, or being “loud and disruptive” (ie, existing at all in a leadership or teaching role) during service?

    Second, please cite your sources, just a little bit. “A little historical research” is really not much to go on.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “Students who don’t want to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom, the bill states.”

    Got to love bills that say “you don’t like it, well, you can just leave.” Kind of like the people who say america, love it or leave it.

  • Gehennah

    Even assuming that they were written by eye witnesses (which is a stretch), human memory is terrible after a few hours often, after 3 decades at a minimum, it will be abysmal except for a few things.

    I can remember a few details here and there about important events (day I graduated bootcamp (14 years ago), my weddings (11 years ago), high school graduation (14 years ago), college graduation (2 years ago) and I couldn’t tell you a whole lot of details about those events. I may get a few words here or there correct, but my mind is busy filling in a lot of the blanks for me.

    Even considering that they may have better memories than I do, 3 decades is a very long time to distort the truth.

  • Neko

    First, I was obviously assuming for the sake of argument.

    Second, as you should know by now, I’m well aware of the unreliability of the gospels.

    Third, it may be that the gospels do transmit traces of the historical Jesus.

    But through this diversion you managed to ignore my point about why Jesus (who when convenient you’re content to quote literally) and Paul were uninterested in political revolution, of the sort that would eliminate slavery.

  • “Students who don’t want to participate would be allowed to leave the classroom.”

    I’d have taken that opportunity. There would have been no guarantee that I’d be back in class (or school) that day.

  • Sue (Yet, She Persisted) Blue

    I can only conclude that this is because these legislators are too lazy or stupid to take real action to solve problems. If prayer doesn’t work, they can claim that God is punishing them because some other state is allowing gay marriage or abortion or something. What easier way to line your pockets with taxpayer dollars than by sitting around on your ass pretending to talk to some guy in the sky? Who wants to hammer out budgets, job initiatives, and stuff like that all day when you can just get in front of a camera once in a while, look pious, and mouth a few godly platitudes to keep your retarded constituents happy (if not solvent)?

  • Gehennah

    Of course, because they remember the “good ole days” when school shootings didn’t happen, and bad things didn’t happen ever at school.

    Of course “back then” we didn’t have the Internet and nearly instant access to news 24/7. When bad things happened, many people may not even know about it unless it was devastating, like the bombing in the 20’s in the elementary school that killed 30+ if I remember my numbers correctly.

    But people have very selective memories of the good ole days, ignoring that there were no equal rights, and just because it was good for Mr. White Christian it may not have been so happy happy joy joy for others.

  • No honest person reading Jesus’ words can possibly conclude that owning another human being is consistent with his law of Love.

    So, about seventeen centuries worth of Christians worldwide perceiving no conflict whatsoever between Jesus’ words and their own practice of slavery is explained how? They were all dishonest? Hey, maybe they were all possessed by demons. You never know.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale was quite good. I’m reading Atwood’s Oryx and Crake right now.

  • Gehennah

    Maybe they took “slaves obey your masters” out of context.

    Of course if Keyra would like to explain the ‘proper’ context, I’d be glad to read it.

  • Which doesn’t explain why they explicitly condone slavery, though. Even if you think God’s going to fix everything, surely you’re not going to say “that thing over there is horrifically immoral so we’re going to say … keep doing it”.

    Also, that’s a really big assumption. Yes, you were assuming for the sake of argument, but it’s almost not worth even engaging what comes after because the assumption is just so thin. It’s like me prefacing an argument with “Assuming the sun goes around the Earth …”. It doesn’t. So why even bother with whatever comes next?

    And of course I quote them. Whoever wrote them says horrible things in the guise of religious wisdom, which people either follow to bad effect or ignore and then proclaim the entire book good and holy. One can easily use the quotes purported to be by him without giving one inch on the question of whether Jesus ever actually existed or not (which I still maintain is highly unlikely though not impossible).

  • tasteless chap

    I’ve been living in TX for over 2 years now, and I work in various high schools. That “moment of silence” thing is just ridiculous. It accomplishes NOTHING! And don’t see students “observing” that moment anyway!

    Also, the Texas pledge? Really?! You need you own? Come on! TX kisses its own ass so hard that I’m shocked it doesn’t need constant chiropractic care!

  • Paul Gloor

    And the students this would typically be affecting wouldn’t have the critical thought to understand that they don’t want to be there unless instructed by their parents. I remember the lords prayer back in my youth, to me it was just a bunch of words I could never remember.

  • Neko

    Really, you equate the uncontroversial view that some information pertaining to the historical Jesus may have survived in the gospels with the suggestion that the sun revolves around the Earth? On what basis do you make this interesting claim? I hope your reasons are better founded this time than the last time we went around the block on the historical Jesus.

    “They”; who’s they? Are you talking about the author of 1 Timothy? (That author was probably not Paul.) The author doesn’t “condone” slavery; he urges slaves to comport themselves in a way that will not bring scandal upon the Church. Even if these people didn’t believe that Jesus would return any day, there were good reasons not to encourage slave rebellions. Not even Spartacus is thought to have envisioned an end to slavery.

  • usclat

    “And if you want nothing to do with God, why talk about It?”

    Because we can talk about ‘It’ if we choose to. And on this blog, WE choose to.

  • GoodMinusGod

    This is very simple to combat…. Just have some some kids use prayer rugs, chanting, whatever else random religious imagery they can think of…Or make up. This moment of silence will stop quickly when the prayer is not what they’ve envisioned. Work with the madness….
    As the saying goes….give em enough rope. The problem will fx itself.

  • Jim Jones

    >No honest person reading Jesus’ words

    Where are these words? Do you mean the words that Greeks invented 100 years after the supposed events? Because if anyone found any actual writing by Jesus it would be the first time. EVER!

  • midnight rambler

    Yep. We had this in my school in Massachusetts in the 80’s. Nobody ever prayed as far as I could tell, we just used it as a way to delay the start of school because it had to be a full minute of complete silence on the part of the students, and if anyone made a noise the clock started over again. Most of the teachers would give up after about the third time an undetermined student whispered something at 0:55, but it was good for a few minutes less of teaching 🙂

  • Bear in mind: the reason these laws are getting proposed (and, alas, passed) is because the people responsible for them are terrified that without compulsion of some kind, folks won’t pray, kowtow to their imaginary friend, or pay attention to them. That’s it. People are drifting away so much that Christianity’s dominance is falling to pieces–they cannot compel belief and attention with rational arguments or evidence, and so this is what it has come down to. “Do what I say, or else.” “Because shut up, that’s why.” Force and coercion. That’s the only way they can get prayer into these kids now. It’s mind-boggling they’d actually admit it like this, but here we are.

    The Christian students in these schools will likely feel quite a bit of smug pleasure at the idea of getting to force their views onto others, and yes, I can definitely see some bullying or coercion going on as “Christian love” gets mandated across that state. But what of the non-Christians? If Christians do succeed in forcing schoolchildren to kowtow to their imaginary friend for one minute every day, besides the total chaos that will ensue, do they imagine that non-Christian students will magically see how wonderful their religion is if forced to engage with it against their wills and under the threat of being bullied if they take advantage of the dubious escape hatch offered oh so very generously by the privilege-blind makers of this law?

    I see this news as a win for secularism on every single level. It means that the light is finally showing at the end of the tunnel. Christianity’s influence is so weak now that those who practice it are panicking.

  • cemetery

    Most of them should do a Google search for christian school shootings, there’s been quite a few of them, so apparently ‘god in schools’ doesn’t work.

  • cemetery

    You forgot the state constitution.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    I like the way the one line extends up into Canada.

    It’s true. Americans who come to Canada are allowed to pray if they like. However, when in Canada, they should do as the Canadians do and be polite and unobtrusive while about it, eh?

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Unfortunately, a lack of education correlates with susceptibility to religion.

  • TheG

    If you want nothing to do with atheism, why do you keep coming here? I think the answer speaks for itself.

  • TheG

    The context that Keyra has shown time and again is to embrace the parts you already believe in and ignore or use a flimsy rationalization for the parts that make you uncomfortable.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • tasteless chap

    I’ve not read it. What about it?

  • frankbellamy

    This isn’t a moment of silence law. There is already a law allowing a moment of silence in SC. This bill changes it to add “during which time the teacher may deliver a prayer, provided the school allows a student to leave the classroom if the student does not want to listen to or participate in the prayer.” This is a school prayer law. As a school prayer law, it is obviously unconstitutional. Engel v. Vitale is most on point, but Abington v. Schempp, Lee v. Weisman, and Santa Fe v. Doe are all really clear on this too.

    If it were a straight up moment of silence law (involving everyone in the classroom, including the teacher, being silent and doing their own individual thing be it prayer or not), I agree that that should be unconstitutional, but the courts would not strike it down. The supreme court case you mentioned was based on the particular legislative history and wording of that Alabama law. 4 of the 12 federal Courts of Appeals have upheld other moment of silence laws since then, including the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over SC. Sherman ex tel. Brown v. Gilmore, 258 F.3d 265 (4th Cir. 2001); Sherman v. Koch, 623 F.3d 501 (7th Cir. 2010); Croft v. Governor of Texas, 562 F.3d 765 (5th Cir. 2009); Bown v. Gwinnett County School Dist., 112 F.3d 1464 (11th Cir 1997).

  • Psychotic Atheist

    ‘Man in the sky’ is a *traditional* Abrahamic belief that was, like many untenable beliefs, abandoned when it became embarrassing. I believe it comes from Hadad and other sky/sun gods but other disparate religions held that ‘celestial bodies’ were divine in some way too. Hence the word celestial being used the way it is to both mean ‘heavenly things’ and ‘stuff we can see in the sky’. Indeed ‘the heavens’ is still synonymous with ‘the sky’.

  • ICTHumanist

    Hmm.. replace the “moment of silence” with guided secular meditation. Help the kids focus before class starts. At least then it would be useful.

  • indorri

    There are either politicians or people to whom these politicians capitulate to retain them as voting base who are convinced that a) religious ritual will avail the practitioner of everything; they literally believe that school prayer will improve any particular degeneracy you can account for, and b) that those who do no participate are contributing to said degeneracy.

    This is not new. It has been going on in the US since at least the Great Awakening.

  • Carmelita Spats

    Bearded guy? In blasphemous Mexislang we refer to the Trinity as “El Barbudo (the Bearded Guy), su Chamaco (his Brat) y La Paloma (the Pigeon)”. I’m more creative. I kick it up a notch but I stay true to the orthodoxy. I bust a gut laughing at the idea of a Trinitarian-incarnational-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning-God who sacrificed Himself (as a suicidal 33-year-old virgin carpenter with Communist tendencies who lived with his mom) to Himself. This three-in-one god aped Oedipus and Jocasta: he impregnated a horny teenager who was his own mother (since Father and Son are ONE) which makes Him a motherfucker.

    Moreover, In Catholic school, we were taught that God was a non-racist white cracker and if we had no mortal sins, we could swallow the oedipal motherfucker whole and drink his blood. We were encouraged to open wide for a mouthful of Savior on Sundays and it was recommended that we swallow, not chew, cookie Jesus…As good Catholic girls, we did communion “Deep Throat” style. Glory!

  • ShoeUnited

    I will never have enough upvotes for you.

  • Babbling Brooke

    Not so fast. I had a friend in Edmonton ask me about my Christmas morning plans. I replied that I had none, which made me sad now that my son is grown, and I wouldn’t see him til the afternoon. Her comment to that was “why does it matter? You’re an atheist.” I replied “to each his own”. I was then chatting with her on Xmas morning. When our conversation was drawing to a close , she told me that “Jesus says hi”. :/

  • LANarkevic

    When I was in elementary school, we said the Pledge and then had a moment of silence. I would wonder why we were saying a pledge to a flag and not to our country or something. But I didn’t know that I was supposed to be praying during the silence afterward. No one ever said that’s what it was for, or why we did it, but we did, everyday.

  • MKW

    Now don’t be all negative, this could actually be good. It is after all a moment of silence. That silence should be enforced, no muttering, chatting, chanting praising or any other sound from the students or teacher in those moments. Enforce absolute and utter silence on everyone involved. Getting kids and teens to sit silently for even one minute should be enough to drive most of the school boards to scrap this in about a week.

  • Oranje

    Which is remarkable, going from born to auditory in one morning. Also, is she condescending otherwise? I would have had trouble being polite whilst being provoked.

  • Oranje

    In many ways yes. Blue laws, justification for certain models of household being alright and others not, type of medical care available, etc. Even in a nation that is supposed to be secular, the majority religion still manages to have a great deal of control over law and administration.

    And they want more.

  • Oranje

    Millions of terrified people either followed or were butchered by officially atheist (distinctly not humanist, etc.) and dictatorial communist authorities.

    Your point, aside to being blind of nuance?

  • Oranje

    I still think she shied away from a proper dystopic ending. Not revealing the end, but it just didn’t ring right to me.

  • Castilliano

    Sadly, it’s true.
    Christiandom pushes its people into taking public roles. The Christians develop emotionally driven rhetoric, coming across as articulate & passionate, but lacking basic reason & cultural empathy &…well, most everything else necessary to actually govern ably in a pluralistic society.

  • Without Malice

    Jesus was a man. Jesus rose into the sky. Jesus was, according to Christian doctrine, God; therefore the man in the sky analogy. It is also true that your bible says that those who don’t worship your man in the sky will be eternally tortured. Why any all-powerful and all-knowing being would feel the need to be worshipped is beyond explanation.

  • Neko

    Gospel of Mark thought to have been written c. 65-70 AD.

    That would be 35-40 years. But do go on, Professor.

  • Jane’e Taylor

    So sorry, I should have specified, the US pledge, not a Texas one. Though i did attend an elementary school that had its own pledge, which took at least a full 3 minutes to recite. That school was a special kind of terrifying.

  • minidriver

    I’ll be happier when they mandate a moment of science in schools.

  • tasteless chap

    Sorry, I guess I misunderstood (I thought you were in TX also). Most school days I have to sit through the morning announcements at whatever high school I’m at that day. They do the Pledge of Allegiance, then the TEXAS PLEDGE(!!!), then have that ridiculous moment of silence. I was railing about the last 2… though I can argue against all three!

  • JohnnieCanuck

    The trouble with stereotypes. In my defense, I can only say that Edmonton is north of the arrow’s end.

    Also it is one of the most conservative parts of one of our ‘reddest’ provinces.

    Perhaps she’s like a lot of people end that end up disappointed with their Christmas holidays. I hope she’s a better friend the rest of the year, otherwise…

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Back before the invention of the telescope, European religious thinkers starting with Aristotle had come to the conclusion that the Sun, the Moon and the planets were located in Heaven and were therefore perfect, unchanging spheres.

    Galileo was one who upset their apple cart. In his Sidereus Nuncius he published his observations that there were mountains and valleys on the Moon and their shadows changed with the angle of the sunlight.

    He was also able to set aside the explanation that sunspots were transits of Mercury or Venus. He showed that they were blemishes that moved across the rotating Sun.

    Christians have been forced to move Heaven to some more remote location (dimension?) now that Science has revealed the truth about their old imaginary playground.

  • Babbling Brooke

    The good thing was that we were chatting on Yahoo. I can take a few deep breaths before replying. Or pretend I was in the bathroom and compose my reply. 🙂

    Now last night it got a little more dicey when healthcare and Obama came up.

  • Jim Jones

    There’s no evidence for any gospel before 135 CE.

  • Jim Jones

    You have a problem with this? Why?

  • Jim Jones

    >I’m sorry, but these atheist childlike beliefs deserve to be ridiculed lol

    You men beliefs like only real things are real? That magic spells don’t work? Like humans aren’t the special little snowflakes of the universe? You find these ‘childlike’?

    You seem confused.

  • Gehennah

    I’d have issues with others disrupting a service, because its rude.

    As far as nudity goes, I could care less.

  • Neko

    A strong scholarly consensus has Mark written around 70 AD.

    If you wish to challenge this consensus, great. State your case.

  • Oh sure. The Romans came down hard on slave rebellions and their supporters. There’s some very practical reasons not to go about calling for the abolishment of slavery.

    Which still makes that a cowardly and immoral thing to do if you’re writing a book of perfect morality. I know you don’t think it is, of course, but many people do. And yes, I do think that just throwing the assumption of a historical Jesus out there is a huge stretch that pretty much invalidates most of what’s about to come out next, though admittedly, not as strongly as I worded it. Heliocentrism is a much stronger theory than that of a purely mythical Jesus.

  • Jim Jones

    >because its rude.

    Women speaking is rude? You ARE a bible student.

  • Jim Jones

    >State your case.

    I did. There’s no evidence for any gospel before 135 CE. If you have any, show it.

  • Anna

    Depends on the age of the student. I think there are very few young children who pray without being prompted to do so by an adult.

  • Neko

    No, you didn’t. You made an assertion, and an ambiguous one at that. What do you mean exactly when you say “there’s no evidence for any gospel before 135 CE?” Do you mean there’s no manuscript fragment before then? Do you mean there’s no citation of a gospel in other texts before that date?

    If you’re going to post an unguarded (and ludicrous) statement like “Do you mean the words that Greeks invented 100 years after the supposed events?” then you will have to do better than that.

  • Jim Jones

    You’re claiming an earlier date. Prove it.

  • Neko

    Your quarrel isn’t with me; it’s with the scholarly consensus. Go get ’em, cowboy.

  • Jim Jones
  • Neko

    I know you don’t think it is, of course, but many people do.

    Whatever gave you that idea? Are you accusing me of sympathy with the ancients’ acceptance of slavery, yes or no? The NT authors were not concerned with writing a book of “perfect morality.” They were religious propagandists intent on persuading potential converts that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. This is basic understanding.

    The assumption of a historical Jesus is not a “huge stretch.” It is the consensus among professionals who have the requisite training and knowledge to assess the probabilities. We’ve been through this before.

    Heliocentrism is a much stronger theory than that of a purely mythical Jesus.

    What?? The issue was whether the gospels preserve traces of the historical Jesus. Although the gospels are largely legendary and mythical, it is the consensus that, yes, they do. This is not a controversial position. You were comparing this view with the proposition that the sun revolves around the Earth. That’s ludicrous. Unless the scientific consensus radically shifted since yesterday.

  • Neko

    I don’t have to follow your link, I can guess. Appeal to authority is only a fallacy when it’s unwarranted.

    Here’s a clue: not even Earl Doherty puts the Gospel of Mark in the second century.

    You’ve got nothing and are a waste of my time.

  • Jim Jones

    I accept your complete capitulation and have added you to the list of those I have defeated.

  • Neko

    Oh but I haven’t capitulated, and you haven’t defeated anyone. All you have demonstrated is that you are a cheap and ignorant sniper.

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