Just a week after the Arkansas State House passed a bill permitting the teaching of Creationism in public school science classes, the State Senate has passed their own version of a bill designed to elevate Christianity.
Yesterday, that body passed a bill (SB 662) to establish a “Day of Prayer for Arkansas Students” with a unanimous vote.
Similar to other “days of prayer,” the bill calls on the governor to ask citizens to pray for students on the last Wednesday of September:
… [The Governor shall c]all upon the citizens of this state, in accordance with their own faith and consciences, to pray, meditate, or otherwise reflect upon the following individuals in this state:
(C) School administrators; and
It’s one of those bills that accomplishes absolutely nothing of substance, allows lazy politicians to pretend like they’re doing something, and also suggests that prayer is necessary to honor the “state’s greatest resource.” It’s one of the more subtle ways to affirm Christian Nationalism.
What would happen if citizens weren’t told to pray? What would change if no one prayed for students? Why do students only deserve one day of prayer but 364 days without it? Good luck getting the bill’s supporters to answer those questions.
If those mostly Republican senators (27 of the 35 members) actually gave a damn about the students, they could vote for more education funding, stronger academic standards, more resources for teachers and administrators, etc. Instead, they’re going with God. Sure, they say meditation or reflection is also okay, but the title of the bill gives away the game.
The bill was sponsored by State Sens. Ricky Hill and Missy Irvin as well as State Rep. Cameron Cooper — all Republicans. It now moves to the State House.
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