More religious legislation from Indiana

Pushing creationism into science classrooms wasn’t enough, so now there’s legislation to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. Yes, public school. It’s all in Senate Bill 251, which states:

4.6. (a) In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.
(b) If the governing body or equivalent authority requires the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer under subsection (a), the governing body or equivalent authority shall determine the version of the Lord’s Prayer that will be recited in the school corporation or charter school.
(c) A student is exempt from participation in the prayer if:
(1) the student chooses not to participate; or
(2) the student’s parent chooses to have the student not participate.

1. Spiritual development has nothing to do with establishing character and becoming a good student. From all of the atheist Hoosiers, fuck you.

2. This has been established as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court so many times. SO MANY TIMES. Are these legislators thinking no one is paying attention? Even I have a hard time believing they’re stupid enough to A) Not know how fucking unconstitutional this is or B) Think they have any chance of the current Supreme Court overturning the previous rulings.

3. Adding an exemption clause does not suddenly make this constitutional. It’s still the government endorsing a religion (and a particular religion at that). Not to mention that it’s completely ignorant of the power dynamics of schools. A student who chooses not to participate is effectively choosing social suicide and bullying. Ask Jessica Ahlquist how much she enjoys losing all of her friends and constantly receiving threats. It’s effectively making it so students must participate.

Unsurprisingly, this piece of legislation comes from the same guy who’s pushing the creationist legislation. Way to force your Christian agenda onto the state, asshole. As if it wasn’t already oppressively Christian in an unofficial way.

If you’re an Indiana citizen, please write your representatives. And if you’re in an Indiana atheist organization, please make a stink about this. This is your chance to get in the media and yell “This is not okay!”

You know, I was invited to speak for my alma mater the Purdue Non-Theists during my spring break in March. Maybe I could make a little tour of the state with the topic of “The Indiana Theocracy.” Heaven knows I have enough examples for an hour long talk. Any other groups interested in having me should shoot me an email.


  1. The Lorax says

    Mental image: a group of fundamentalists sitting around a table pouring over a series of countdown clocks, each one labeled with a different approach: creationism as science, prayer in schools, ban on homosexual marriage, et cetera. Every time one of the timers hits zero, they tell everyone to start pushing that particular agenda, then reset the clock and let it start ticking down again.

  2. says

    …the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen…

    That people believe this, sans evidence, is a serious problem.

  3. Eric RoM says

    Don’t political parties have ANY discipline in Indiana? Or is this guy just the designated goat for the R’s efforts along this line?

    Obvious non-starter.

  4. E.A. Blair says

    I notice that they address the question of which version of the thing to use – not all Christian cults denominations use the same one. What a lot of people don’t know is that one of the first court cases to ban religious instruction from public schools, the 1890 Edgerton Bible Case, came about because Catholic parents didn’t want their childrens’ souls polluted by being taught from that satanic heretic King James bible.

    I’d like to see some student stand up and demand the right to recite from the Nordic pagan sacred poem Hávamál.

  5. Azkyroth says

    Spiritual development has nothing to do with establishing character and becoming a good student.

    Unless, as some people do, you define “spiritual” so vaguely that it only means “establishing character” and having and living by consistent values.

    Which they blatantly aren’t doing.

  6. baal says

    I’ve done some time in a State legislative body and shit like this is mostly done to appease narrow constituencies.

    New RepBigXTR gets elected (appointed?) and has to prove to big $$ Xtian donor Bob that RepBigXTR is “on the side of the Lord.” RepBigXTR then trots out the schedule (and they have plans for what idiocy to do when, they need to pace themselves) and pushes whatever is next on the list. When there are too many Xtians and they have been in power for a while, they get to the bottom of the list and push the blatantly unconstitutional stuff.

    New RepBigXTR who really want to ‘get cred’ instantly will buck their party’s timing lists and just jump to the end for the heat and noise it creates.

    Best thing to do is to ridicule the RepBigXTR and remind everyone what a waste of ‘tax payer dollars’ that it is to push lost battles. Thanks for doing that Jen.

  7. Anthony D says

    Hello Jen;

    I have been reading your blog for some time now. I have a lot of respect for your opinions and your outspoken-ness. I very much like the way you present your arguments with a statement that something is okay or not okay and then following that statement with clear, well thought out reasons.

    I have noticed, however, that your frequency of name-calling has begun to increase. The only reason for this (like I would really know) that I can think of is that you must be getting extremely frustrated. It seems that the same issues continue to come up all the time.

    Just my two cents.

    Love your blog!

    PS. One of the advertisements on your blog page was for something about where the real church of Jesus Christ was. The irony was delicious.

  8. says

    Name calling would be referring to him as a doo-doo head. “Asshole” is a title he’s earned through his actions.

  9. Tom Singer says

    Could someone clarify what exactly a “school corporation” is in Indiana, and whether that would have any impact on the constitutionality of the law? Is this something like a religious school? Is it already typical that, say, a Catholic school would say a prayer each day?

  10. N. Nescio says

    Years back, I recall reading a number of news articles about the ‘Indiana brain drain’, attempting to assess the reasons why so many educated people are leaving the State of Indiana. Bullshit like this is one of the reasons I’m a West coastie now.

    Even the liberal island of Bloomington had its fair share of stupid. Anybody from around there remember the ‘3rd of July’ a few years ago, because of the downtown churches whining that the Independence Day parade would interfere with parking? The City folded like a cheap cardtable and moved the celebration of a national holiday, in deference to all the christians wanting to kiss Hank’s ass and not be inconvenienced by having to walk their fat asses a few blocks to get there.

  11. darchole says

    Texas is starting to look like a better place to live right now.

    Of course I may just think that right now because of the d*mn lake-effect snow that’s going on now.

  12. fastlane says

    We should pitch in and send all those dimbulb legislators copies of “Ellory’s Protest”. Great book. (I got mine signed by Ellory Schempp himself a few years ago!)

  13. Jurjen S. says

    Speaking from my own experience, having been made to recite the Lord’s Prayer five days a week for the better part of three years by the British state school system, it did exactly squat to make me “recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen.”

    Judging by the treatment Jessica Ahlquist’s been getting, there’s more than a few people who didn’t quite get that bit about “forgiving those who trespass against us,” even though they ought to have. Personally, I always thought that was the most presumptuous bit in the text, but then, I don’t consider myself a Christian.

  14. says

    Everyone concerned about this in Indiana should go to our websiste: and sign up to attend Indiana Civic Day on Saturday FEbruary 11 at the Indiana State House . This is sponsored by CFI-Indiana and the Indiana AU chapter. Details and registration link are on the website. When I planned this several months ago, I had no idea that the creation “science” bill and the lord’s prayer bill would come up. However I am sure that Ron Lindsay and BArry Lynn who are two of our speakers for the day will address these issues. We need to show our strength by having a big turn out for this event. Also, Jennifer , you know you have a standing invitation to speak at CFI-Indiana. Just let me know when you can come.

  15. says

    These laws havent’ been passed yet. The ACLU wouldn’t get involved until after they are passed and then would have to have plaintiff/s to challenge them.
    As far as I know they are in the committee stage right now. YOu can get on the General Assembly web page and find outr who the committee members are and then email and send letteres to them at this stage.

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