Will Bills Involving Religion be Signed Into Law?


By Ashley Thompson

Several controversial religious bills have been introduced in the State House. Bills that, if


signed into law, are likely to face opposition and lawsuits.

The House Education Policy Committee recently passed a bill that would require public school teachers to lead prayer at the start of class. Another bill, that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public buildings, is on its way to the Senate.

"We do not need to be passing all of these religious laws," says Representative Alvin Holmes.

A religious celebrations bill would allow students to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever phrase they'd like during winter celebrations. A religious expression bill would allow students to initiate prayer in schools and express religion through their coursework. But Representative Holmes says all of these bills are going nowhere.

"It's a waste of money," he says. "A lot of them are going to get lawsuits. That means that the state of Alabama will have to end up paying a lot of money in legal fees."

Maureen Costello with the Southern Poverty Law Center says these bills could face legal action for being unconstitutional.

"I don't think it's going to pass constitutional muster," she says. "And as an Alabama taxpayer, I'm concerned that my tax dollars are going to have to be used to defend it."

So why are lawmakers pushing these bills? Political Analyst Steve Flowers says he believes it's because Alabamians want lawmakers to and because it's an election year.

"I've seen polling that says they want them to do it," Flowers says. "That's how conservative this state is. They'll say even though it's unconstitutional and we're wasting our time and money, let's go ahead and do it anyway and send them a message."


So are Alabama lawmakers wasting tax dollars pressing these bills forward?