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Sep 30 2013

Kansas School Board Votes for Intercom Prayers

The school board in the badly misnamed town of Liberal, Kansas really, really wants to force students to listen to people praying. I mean really, really badly. So much that they ignored the advice of their superintendent and attorney and voted for it with no discussion when it wasn’t even on the agenda.

According to the Leader and Times, school prayer had not been on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of USD No. 480 board in Liberal, but board member Nick Hatcher brought it up at the last minute…

In its 2000 Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe decision, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that allowing students to use the public address system to pray at football games violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

However, the school board’s vote on Monday means that students will now be able to use the public address system to initiate a prayers at upcoming games in Liberal.

Before the vote, Superintendent of Schools Paul Larkin had warned board members that they hadn’t thought through all the possible problems.

“We can have student-led prayer, but if we turn away certain groups — if you have someone who wants to serve up a prayer or a thought that isn’t the mainstream thinking — you’re going to have a problem,” Larkin explained. The thing to do is take it to [board attorney] Mr. Yoxall and get some advice.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Hatcher agreed. “I’m sure he’ll come back and tell us the reasons not to, or at least show us where the liabilities lie, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“We don’t need to wait for that. We can make a board decision, as long as it’s student-led, to support prayer. I’ll make that motion. I’m gonna do it.”

And they voted for it unanimously. Legal advice? We don’t need no stinkin’ legal advice! There’s something quite disturbing, I think, in the minds of people who simply cannot settle for praying on their own whenever they feel like it. It’s like they don’t think God hears their prayers unless non-Christians are forced to listen or participate in them. That Jesus guy seemed to have quite a different opinion, as I recall.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    trucreep

    Jesus would be all flippin’ tables if he saw how they were today. That’s about as violent as he gets though :/

  2. 2
    cswella

    @trucreep: Besides chucking people into hell?

  3. 3
    Dr X

    Jesus would be all flippin’ tables if he saw how they were today. That’s about as violent as he gets though

    If anyone wants to subject them to pubic caning, I’ll object immediately… afterward.

  4. 4
    Abdul Alhazred

    It’s like they don’t think God hears their prayers unless non-Christians are forced to listen or participate in them.

    More like they think if they ignore the existence of non-Christians enough, non-Christians will really not exist.

  5. 5
    Alverant

    They knew it wouldn’t stand up so they voted on it when no one could say otherwise.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    I have no doubt that the teachers will screen the students VERY carefully, lest some filthy heretic of a wrong church says a prayer to a false god.

  7. 7
    inquisitiveraven

    I’m just wondering what will happen when a Muslim, or a Wiccan, or a follower of some other non-Christian religion wants to offer up a prayer.

  8. 9
    jnorris

    I do hope Mr Hatcher volunteered to personally pay all the boards legal fees.

  9. 10
    Modusoperandi

    O Lord, crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.”

  10. 11
    Abdul Alhazred

    O Lord, crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.

    Perfect for football games. ;)

  11. 12
    exdrone

    The intercomm is required because god’s getting old and his hearing is going.

  12. 13
    Michael Heath

    trucreep writes:

    Jesus would be all flippin’ tables if he saw how they were today. That’s about as violent as he gets though :/

    No one asserts they’ll wreak more violence on humanity than the biblical Jesus. He promises to commit those who don’t submit to him an eternity of unimaginable and eternal suffering. Sheesh.

  13. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ Michael Heath : In fairness, that’s not actually what Jesus is quoted as saying and various Christian churches and groups disagree and argue on whether that’s actually the case or not.

    The biblical idea of hell is not exactly clear cut or what a lot of the hellfire preachers claim it is.

    ***

    The second point of significance is the recording angels remark that Heaven, not human beings decides who qualifies. I take that to mean that if I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think He would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God and whose deed is foul, foul, foul.

    I would also want a God who would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don’t believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of a Hitler. Besides if most human governments are civilised enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God?

    I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment would be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.

    Pages 337-338 “Life After Death” chapter in ‘I Asimov : A memoir’ (Asimov, Bantam, 1995.)

  14. 15
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Arrgh. Blockquote fail sorry. The section after the three aterisks there was a quote from humanist & atheist author, Isaac Asimov.

  15. 16
    Irreverend Bastard

    @Dr X: pubic caning?

    Paging Dr. Freud!

  16. 17
    tsig

    Why can’t people grow up and be responsible for their own lives? This continual begging and groveling to god is degrading.

  17. 18
    freehand

    tsig: Why can’t people grow up and be responsible for their own lives? This continual begging and groveling to god is degrading.

    They are all about groveling. Fundies have a pre-Medieval mindset. They see themselves as servants of a king (who claims sovereignty over all other kingdoms) who is not constrained by a charter of any sorts. “Morality” for them simply means obedience. He has issued laws, but he can overrule them at a moment’s notice, and don’t bother asking for explanations.

    Accusing someone of immorality is accusing them of disobedience to the king. Hence, child rape or gay sex are equally bad, because adult informed consent has nothing to do with it. Slavery’s OK, though.

    Their status is derived from their proximity to the King. Disobeying disobedient government officials is doing the King’s work, so they’re OK with His Imaginary Majesty. But He wouldn’t want them to go to jail over it, however. Paying a fine using the school’s money if probably OK, because the righteous taxpayers in town get God points for spending it on righteous causes.

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