It’s bad enough that many Louisiana students are told to recite the Pledge of Allegiance — with the phrase “Under God” — at the beginning of the school day. But a new bill could have elementary school students declaring that they’re “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
What’s the purpose of State Rep. Valarie Hodges’ bill? There is none. It’s just a backdoor approach to force kids to declare that God exists and created certain rights. Even though our nation’s history has been a series of struggles for different groups of people to obtain those “equal rights,” and even though American citizens have routinely been denied happiness by people who believe in that Creator.
What happens if atheist students don’t want to say the passage because they don’t believe in a Creator? What if students refuse to recite it because they know people are not treated equally in this country? Right now, there’s nothing in the bill allowing for them to opt out.
Clarion-Ledger columnist Sid Salter is just worried this bill might make its way into neighboring Mississippi:
Supporters argued the passage emphasized equality and freedom. Opponents, particularly African-American lawmakers, pointed out that women and blacks were neither equal nor free at the time the Declaration of Independence was penned.
There was no small amount of debate over the propriety of forcing public school children to recite a passage recognizing a “Creator” in a setting that is supposed to recognize the separation of church and state.
Here’s hoping that… the “Declaration of Independence” recitation legislation doesn’t make it across the Mississippi River from our neighbors to the west. Here’s hoping that legislation gets flattened like the majority of highway-crossing armadillos. Leave it in Louisiana.
I couldn’t agree more, and I hope it doesn’t get anywhere in Louisiana, either. The State House has passed it, but the Senate hasn’t voted yet. Needless to say it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen if it passes.
Louisiana’s students don’t need another mandatory waste of time in public school. They’re welcome to study the Declaration of Independence as a historical document, but they sure as hell don’t need to recite the opening every day as if it were a prayer.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)