A Mississippi legislator, Credell Calhoun, has proposed a bill that would force teachers to recite the Ten Commandments at the beginning of every school day. Because what Mississippi needs in its public schools is more Jesus. And then it gets worse.
HB 427 would amend existing laws in the following ways:
What is currently an optional moment of silence would be required in every public school.
A copy of the Ten Commandments would also have to be displayed in every classroom (alongside the already-required “In God We Trust” signs) in a “framed background” that’s at least 11 x 14 inches.
And then, since his hand was already on the dial, Calhoun turned it up to 11 for the final request:
The school board of each school district shall require the teachers in that school district to have the Ten Commandments recited aloud at the beginning of the first hour of class each day that school is in session. Any student or teacher who objects to reciting the Ten Commandments must be excused from participating without penalty.
What exactly is the educational benefit of telling children they can’t have other gods before the one true Christian God? Or that they can’t make false idols? Or they can’t take God’s name in vain? Or that they have to rest on Sunday? Or that they can’t have sex with people they’re not married to? Or they can’t want what their neighbors have?
Do kindergartners really need to be told not to commit adultery?
And what teachers are clamoring for the government to give them one more useless thing to do at the beginning of the day? Which teachers are lobbying the legislature for the ability to tell children they’ll burn in Hell for all of eternity if they don’t follow a set of mostly arbitrary rules?
This isn’t just a horrible idea; it’s illegal. Giving students and teachers the option of opting out doesn’t change that. Shoving the Ten Commandments down the throats of every public school student in the state is an obvious endorsement of religion in the classroom, and there’s no doubt this would be successfully challenged in the courts if it passed.
For now, the legislation is in the House Committee on Education where it should die a sad, lonely death.
Credell Calhoun, by the way, is a Democrat.
What an embarrassment.
By the way, another piece of legislation, House Bill 172, would impose a $1,500 fine on public schools for each day they don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance and the pledge to Mississippi, which says “I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God.”
Because the best way to handle teachers who just start educating kids in the morning is to kick their employers in the pocketbooks. It’s the most Mississippi thing you’ll hear all day.
(Image via State of Mississippi. Thanks to Brian for the link. Large portions of this article were posted earlier)