Groomers for Christ in Texas

The Texas senate approved this bill.

S.B. 1515 would require Texas public elementary and secondary schools to display the Ten Commandments in each classroom. At present, Texas public schools have no such requirement, and this legislation only became legally feasible with the United States Supreme Court’s opinion last year in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, 142 S. Ct. 2407 (2022), which overturned the Lemon test under the Establishment Clause (found in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)) and instead provided a test of whether a governmental display of religious content comports with America’s history and tradition.

That’s not all!

The Senate also gave final passage to Senate Bill 1396, authored by Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston, which would allow public and charter schools to adopt a policy requiring every campus to set aside a time for students and employees to read the Bible or other religious texts and to pray.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement that both bills are wins for religious freedom in Texas.

I believe that you cannot change the culture of the country until you change the culture of mankind, he said. Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back to our public schools will enable our students to become better Texans.

Somehow, forcing a sectarian version of religion on school children is now being labeled “religious freedom.”

I’m wondering how all those conservative atheists regard this development.


  1. wzrd1 says

    I seem to recall that this was settled by the SCOTUS back in the 1950’s.
    I guess that Texas wants their federal funding to go to 1950’s levels as well, along with all military installations closed.
    Or maybe, they want to rejoin Mexico.

  2. mamba says

    “adopt a policy requiring every campus to set aside a time for students and employees to read the Bible or other religious texts and to pray.”

    Does ANYONE seriously think that this bill will be tolerant to the first group of Muslim’s who want to do daily prayers in a room with some mats during school hours? They claim this while insisting the Christian commandments be the first thing kids see. What about a Jewish prayer? Are we allowing Rastafarianism? PASTAfarianism? Wiccan or Pagan services and rituals? Of course athiests need not apply but this is clearly a christian move so really now?

    Come on…we know even though the law says they’ll allow “other religious texts” there’s no way at all they’ll allow non-christians to be treated equally. They proved that time and time again, and the fact they can say that they will be open to all beliefs with a straight face is rather impressive hypocrisy actually.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Let Eli, Noah and Heath from G A M read the Bible amd other religious texts- their posse knows how to make the distasteful and stupid funny.

  4. Matthew Currie says

    The old becomes new again. I remember the perennial “prayer in schools” crap from when I was a youngster – the argument that those damned free-love hippies (now us boomers of course) were spoiling the world with godlessness. And being met with utter incomprehension when I pointed out that many of not most of us were brought up when school prayers were ubiquitous. We droned the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s prayer, and sang a patriotic song every morning of every school day.

  5. submoron says

    Matthew Currie @ 4. Re the pledge: Assuming that non-American students whose parents are resident in America may attend these schools, are the children expected to take part.? What happens if they don’t please?

  6. StevoR says

    Clearly unconstituitional (USA constitution) laws here – even this Aussie horrified onlooker knows that.

    But then we have Trump’s treason SCOTUS that will lie aboyut it and allow it like they did about Roe versus Wade when they perjured themselves & committed the crime of Contempt of Congress still unpunished…

    Impeachment time for Trump SCOTUS Justices long overdue.

  7. says

    wzrd1 @1

    I seem to recall that this was settled by the SCOTUS back in the 1950’s.

    I suspect that they expect the current “new, improved” SCOTUS will fix that. :-(

  8. raven says

    What happens if they don’t please?

    Many court cases have said, children can’t be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
    Some religious cults such as the JWs prohibit the Pledge of Allegiance for some reason or another.

    In Realityland, what happens is you might get beat up by the other students after school. Or the teacher ignores you and grades you down for the rest of the year.

    In my K-12 schooling, saying the Pledge was really hit or miss. Sometimes we said it every day and most of the time we never said it.
    Repeating a rote litany over and over again soon gets boring and eventually everyone just forgets about it.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    I have ideas about what to do about the new improved SCOTUS. That is why I am watching films with Anton Cigurh or that bloke agent Starling had problems with.

  10. Doc Bill says

    I was in French first period for all four years of high school. Announcements and the pledge of allegiance was also first period. We said the pledge every day in French. I’m sure that would be illegal these days!

    In other news, Texas passed a bill requiring schools to “display prominently” an image or plaque stating “In God We Trust” if such image or plaque was donated to the school. The bill was supported by a rabid christian-based company in Dallas. Ha, a local group got together and created plaques with a rainbow background, and plaques in Arabic. The law was hastily amended to allow schools to reject plaques that were deemed objectionable.

    And in old news, a “Bible as Literature” (I know, laughable.) course was approved in a west Texas school district as an elective not-for-credit. However, after two years no students signed up to take it (total waste of time), no teacher came forward to teach it, and no syllabus could be found except a collection of sermons donated by the Hobby Lobby guy that was deemed “inappropriate, and didn’t address literature.”

    All of these bills are full of sound and fury, but nothing else.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    … to become better Texans.

    Sort of like being good Germans, but less educated?

  12. birgerjohansson says

    I am so old I recall when prayer and singing psalms was part of Swedish schooling. A complete waste of time.
    I don’t recall which state the film version of Needful Things was set in but Max von Sydow’s devil had fun setting different cultists against each other.
    Today, the various cultists have much more weapons than in the nineties.
    Just putting the idea out there.

  13. wzrd1 says

    ahcuah @7, there is impeachment, which is extremely unlikely to succeed. There is FDR’s threatened court stuffing. Then, there is the reminder that justices only have a seat for life.

  14. robert79 says

    @5 submoron
    “Re the pledge: Assuming that non-American students whose parents are resident in America may attend these schools, are the children expected to take part.?”

    I’m Dutch but lived in the US when I was 9, and when I was 12-17 years old. I learned the pledge of allegiance as I was learning English, and recited it without understanding what it meant… peer pressure is a weird thing. It took until my “rebellious” teens, when I learned that, as a non-US citizen, I was actually making a pledge to a foreign power. At that point I decided I would simply stand in respect of the flag of the country where I was living but not say anything.

    In all those seven years, most my teachers knew I was foreign. Only ONCE did someone say “you don’t have to do that”.

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course it’s a victory for “religious freedom.” The one freedom that religion has always claimed is license to order people about.

  16. Dunc says

    mamba, @ #2: the real fun starts when they start arguing over which flavour is Christianity is the right one.

  17. says

    how can this be a victory for religious freedom when the very first one explicitly forbids religious freedom. this is the most 1984 doublethink type shit I have ever seen put into practice in my fucking life.

  18. brucej says

    Dunc @18: no the REAL fun is when they start killing each other over which flavour of Christianity is the right one. Because this is where this kind of stuff leads, every damn time.

  19. outis says

    I’d like to know if this is legal under the separation of church and state, or do texians have different statutes? It’s a bit strange.
    Apart from that, this is something that can backfire.
    For instance, in Italian schools there’s still one hour of “religion” each week, which would be fine if it took students through the history and backbones of all the world’s religions in general. Buuuut only one is taught (guess which one), and yet the effect is generally not what is desired, as expected when dealing with a bunch of bored schoolkids.
    In the word of one author: “I am an atheist ’cause of all the crap I heard during religion period”. Unintended consequences ahoy.

  20. magistramarla says

    I used to teach in a Texas high school. One year, we played host to a lovely young lady who was a foreign exchange student from Spain. She was in my Latin II class.
    Problems began when the PE teacher (a sports coach) insisted that she recite the pledge of allegiance in his second period class. She wound up in the principal’s office in tears.
    She was transferred into my second period Latin II honors class (where she really belonged, since she was an outstanding student). She soon noticed that I didn’t care what the students chose to do during the pledge, as long as they were quiet.
    I used the time to quickly take attendance on my computer and send it in, so that I could immediately launch into the lesson once the annoying announcements were over.

  21. wzrd1 says

    vereverum @22, or the Philadelphia nativist riots, which literally involved artillery being used against another faith’s churches. Unless those are the same riots, the nativists were busy assholes nationally and part of the Know Nothing Party.
    That took the militia showing up and mobilizing their own entire artillery batteries, with the threat of, you fire, we’ll all fire to get them to stow that cannon.

    Hell, when JFK was assassinated, some celebrated, as “that damned Catholic is dead”.

  22. StevoR says

    @ ^ magistramarla : Didn’t anyone have a word to that bullying PE teacher and say “hang on dude, she’s a foreign student so why force her to pledge allegence to a country she’s not a citizen of against her wishes? Same for any other overseas students.” Just make that latter thing the clear school policy?

    @22. vereverum : “@21 brucej As, for example, the 1844 bible riots”

    Hadn’t heard about those.. (Looks)

    Ah. Thanks. Something new learnt today.

    @23. outis : I’d like to know if this is legal under the separation of church and state, or do texians have different statutes?

    My (Aussie) understanding and from other comments upthread this was unconstituitional but the Trump traitor’s SCOTUS has kinda ruled it is legal in a recent case because, well, Trump’s traitor perjurer Justices care more about their extremist regressive ideology than the Law and past precedents like, well, Roe Vs Wade.Another reason to rule the entirety of the present SCOTUS decisons null and void by reason of invalid Justices appointed inappropriately. Gather US states do have laws of their own but federal laws can and sometimes does override them.

  23. unbelievingdwindler says

    When I lived in Provo I refused to recite the pledge of allegiance. My grade 5 teacher made me sit in the corner as punishment.

  24. S maltophilia says

    Can’t wait for the first third grader to ask the meaning of coveting your neighbor’s ass.

  25. captainblack says

    When I went to school (in the UK) the assembly hymns were always sung, by those not on the stage, to words that did not correspond to those on the hymn sheets, and were usually NSFW.

  26. evodevo says

    @ #18 – yes. this. “sprinkling” vs “full immersion” baptism (are you a Real Xtian™?). Different version of the Ten Commandments (Catholic vs Protestant). Bringing up Matt.6:5-6 lol. Hindus given equal time? All kinds of bases for lawsuits.

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 25

    Hell, when JFK was assassinated, some celebrated, as “that damned Catholic is dead”.

    And the right-wing Catholic members of my family, including my father, would deny that Kennedy was a Catholic at all because of his liberal policies and sexual improprieties. They