Jump directly to the content

More Student Prayer Coming to Mississippi Public Schools

Once signed by governor, new law will ensure students "can talk about spiritual beliefs and not be deprived of their rights."

The Mississippi state legislature has overwhelmingly approved a new bill that aims to guarantee religious liberty for students, allowing them freely to express their religious beliefs in homework assignments, in classroom settings, and at school events like football games.

The Associated Press reports that Senate Bill 2633 is an attempt to prevent wrongful restriction of religious expression in schools, where many "teachers and school administrators are confused about what religious expression is legal." The bill suggests creating particular events–"limited public forums"–at which students "could pray, or not, and the school would state it's not responsible for student actions."

Supporters say the bill will not force students to pray but will give them the option to do so voluntarily. However, the notion of 'voluntary' prayer has critics–including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)–riled up.

The ACLU got involved last October, when it filed a complaint against a local high school, demanding that the school stop "unlawful religious practices." Now, Mississippi's ACLU legal director Bear Atwood says the new bill still could force students to be captive audiences during someone else's religious expression and could lead to procedural problems, such as an issue with "school administrators selecting which students lead prayer in announcements or before a basketball game."

CT has previously weighed in on the topic of religion in public schools. Most recently, CT looked at problems with a Texas law requiring training for public-school Bible teachers and at a lawsuit against a California school district that is teaching yoga to students.

Related Topics:Education
Posted:March 8, 2013 at 10:19AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Josh Duggar of '19 Kids and Counting' Apologizes, Resigns after Reports of Molesting 5 Young Girls
Police investigated sexual assaults in 2006, but no charges were brought against Duggar. TLC pulls program from its lineup.
Died: John ‘Jack’ Templeton Jr., Billionaire Philanthropist Who Backed Science-Religion Research
Leader died two days before $1.7 million Templeton Prize was awarded to Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche communities.
Theology Feud Pits Half of Town's Protestant Churches Against Another
Coordinated sermon series against ‘progressive Christianity’ seeks to ‘demonstrate the unity of the body of Christ.’
Sister Momeka: Liberate Christian Lands from ISIS
(UPDATED) After State Department approves visit, nun tells US congressmen that Iraqi Christians wish to return home.
Christianity Today
More Student Prayer Coming to Mississippi Public Schools