Jan 04 2013

Polling for an excuse

The Pickens County School Board has been informed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation that their habit of opening public meetings of a secular institution is illegal. Their response? A pointless poll, of course!

Do you think prayer should be allowed at school board meetings?

Yes 20%

No 80%

If ever I’m arrested for jaywalking or littering or bank robbery, I’m going to put up a poll and ask, “Should my criminal activity be allowed in spite of the laws against it?”

You’ll probably all vote no just to spite me.


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  1. 1

    I just voted so…
    Take that PZ!!!

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Let’s sing the boring Scientology song at school board meetings while we’re at it.

    Why not? It’ll do as much good.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Why is it that whenever the FRFF points out that something a school board or other city habit is illegal, it’s always characterized as “complaining”? Especially since the scare quotes were included in the original, it’s clear that the article was meaning it to be read as “whining.”

  4. 4
    A Hermit

    I love this….

    Note: This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent public opinion.

    That banging sound is my head bouncing off the desk again and again…

  5. 5
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Another Pharyngulated poll!

    Does Pharyngulate have a definition?

    Is it in the dictionary?

    It should be…


  6. 6

    Hmm looking on the bright side of judgement by internet poll it would speed up the legal process that would probably save money….. yeah that’s about the only good part to it I can think of….

  7. 7

    While there’s a difference between “allowed” and “required,” the no’s are up to 85% and that’s a good thing..

  8. 8

    They seem to have a lot of polls on this subject. It’s almost like they think this is a wishy-washy matter of opinion, an unsettled, novel region that the law has yet to come to a decision on. It isn’t. But it is an area that generates controversy from the eternally misinformed and the perpetually offended, so the news stories will always draw attention to it, the news sources will always try to engage the audience on it, and they will collect the sweet, sweet spittle flecks that will rain down from the mouthflapping of the rabid, incoherent horde. I don’t know what they do from there, put I suspect that they use it to water the plants near toxic waste dumps in order to grow the latest breed of Republican politicians. It would explain so much.

  9. 9

    I suggest the local paper run this poll instead. I have even handily provided the outcome for them.

    Question: do you think the school board will exercise confirmation bias and only pay attention to a poll that confirms their own opinion?

    Yes 100%

    No 0%

  10. 10

    They love the little suggested equivocation with the word “allowed.” We’re not talking about whether prayer in general — quiet, private little prayers said alone or in small groups which draw no attention — are or aren’t “allowed.” But you know damn well that this is how they will frame it.

    This isn’t about “prayer.” There’s equivocation there. too. The actual issue has to do with an official, government-sponsored and endorsed public prayer meant to convey the political significance of the ritual and the cultural privilege of the participants — a prayer which demands a quiet and respectful audience. But in their minds, this merges with the image of someone being nudged from behind by a police officer with a gun: “Excuse me, but you’re not praying, are you? Just looking for something you dropped? Okay, better not be talking to God, that’s forbidden here.”

    “Prayer” is always “allowed.”

    But I know what the poll is asking, anyway. I just wanted to bitch.

  11. 11

    A poll? Idiots!Let’s just forget the First Amendment to the Constitution and more than 60 years of jurisprudence that has unequivocally established that government sanctioned and/or led prayers at any meeting of a government body is prohibited. These people are freakin morons. This said, I did register my vote in the poll and was pleased to see the percentage of those voting no has risen to 88%.

  12. 12

    I’d really like to know whether the disclaimer about public opinion was there from the start or they only added it after the poll went the wrong way for them.

  13. 13

    Why is it that whenever the FRFF points out that something a school board or other city habit is illegal, it’s always characterized as “complaining”?

    The fundamentalist theists always feel victimized. It comes from asserting and being granted privileged status and then treating the privilege as though it is a right. Criticize their privilege and in their deluded, muddle-headed mind you are victimizing them. It is their nature, their habit to feel persecuted. The persecution-complex is their addiction. Feeling persecuted is a stimulant to these addle-brained imbeciles. They are persecution junkies.

  14. 14

    I tried voting and the vote button didn’t respond. HHhhmmmm…suspicious.

  15. 15
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    “Do you believe in supporting your Constitution?”

    “Or do you believe that city councillors should illegally include prayer in their meeting agendas?”

  16. 16

    When I first heard of this, I wrote an article for the Viewer’s Voice section of the website. It’s not the first complaint of this kind in my state, I’m just hoping they get along to doing away with this silly nonsense once and for all.

  17. 17
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Voted moments ago. No’s up to 89%. Will they never learn?

  18. 18

    I’ll give them credit for prominently displaying the fact that the poll is unscientific, but I’ still left with the question; if they’re aware of that, what’s the fucking point?

  19. 19
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Because it makes the readers feel like the paper actually gives half a shit what they think?

  20. 20

    I found it fairly amusing seeing them admit that their poll had no purpose if it didn’t go their way.

  21. 21

    I live near Pickens so this is no surprise to me. The public middle school my daughter attends sends the kids to the local mega church “New Spring” for school events even though they have a sizable and modern auditorium to use at the school itself. They constantly send home flyers for bible study with the pupils. Roman History assignments read like something out of Sunday school lessons. New Spring Church has a commercial space, in a nearby town, called “Fusion” which is a free “recreation” facility where kids are lured, unsupervised, to have fundamentalist prosthelytize to them. (very creepy) Fundamentalist parents use their kids as a tool to apply peer pressure to target other children (like mine) to go there. It’s very insidious. “New Spring” has a very large section of its building just for children called the “Kid Zone.” As another tactic they will actively try to destroy marriages if one spouse does not conform to their ideals. They will hand out books like “Living with a Non Believer.” They love a divorced martyr to pity and then the kids are easy pickings…or should I say easy “Pickens” It’s like being surrounded by Jesus freak zombies. Queue the banjo music and wish my kids luck.

  22. 22

    PZ, please do not get arrested for bank robbery. If you must rob a bank, make it a proper well-prepared heist. I want you to get away with it.

  23. 23

    The Pickens County School Board should poll the citizens of Pickens County to determine if the school board should go to court over this and then how much tax payer money should be spent by the school board to defend itself all the way to the Supreme Court.

    I propose that every school board candidate in every county in every state have to answer questions on Creationism v Evolution, sex education, prayer in classrooms, prayer at school events, and prayer at school board meetings. Add to this what percentage of the school board’s attorney’s fees, the plaintiff’s attorney’s fee, court fees, and any rewards by the courts to the plaintiffs will the candidate pay out of her/his own pocket.

  24. 24
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Voted. (“No”, sorry PZ!) Latest figures :


    Do you think prayer should be allowed at school board meetings?

    Yes = 14%

    No = 86%

    Total number of votes: 5,809

    Weirdly, I’m also getting an additional :

    Yes = 0%
    No = 0%
    Total number of votes: 5,810

    after that and before the :

    » Read More

    Note: This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent public opinion.

    Disclaimer. No idea what that’s about.

    NB. Commas added to the thousands figures for total vote numbers for clarity.

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