House Committee Passes Teacher Prayer Bill

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By Ellis Eskew

The House Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would require teachers to take up to 15 minutes at the start of every day to pray and recite a congressional prayer to the class.

 "I think if a prayer can be uttered in congress, we certainly should be able to do it in a classroom," said Gov. Robert Bentley.

Governor Robert Bentley doesn't have any problems with teacher lead prayers in Alabama public schools.

The first prayer of the Continental Congress was prayed in 1774.
And continues in Congress today.

But Maureen Costello with the Southern Poverty Law Center objects to having it in the classroom.

 "The difference in school is that you are dealing with children that are very impressionable. In fact, the purpose of a teacher is to be a trusted person. And they are a captive audience. They don't have the right to choose to get up and leave if they are uncomfortable," said Costello.

According to House Bill 318, teachers could recite prayers like the first prayer of the Continental Congress saying:

"O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords...
...All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen."

Costello says this doesn't belong in public classrooms.

"Let's say a child comes from a house where Judaism is the religion or no religion is practiced. They are getting a message from the school that what their parents or family believe or don't believe is not right," said Costello.

But Governor Bentley says there is no violation of Church and State here.

 "If there is, Congress is breaking the law," said Gov. Bentley.
 

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Rush said on Friday, Feb 21 at 8:51 AM

Of course, those in Congress are free to get up and leave if they want to, and they do, whereas the Children will be a captive audience for Alabama's new madrasah.

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Brooks said on Friday, Feb 21 at 9:04 AM

This is good news.

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Robert said on Friday, Feb 21 at 3:35 PM

Of course this a violation of the first amendment. Having a teacher led prayer is a blatant endorsement of a particular religion.

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