Do church on your own time
A federal judge, on constitutional grounds, has smacked down a state law that requires a moment of silence in all Illinois public schools. I applaud U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman for recognizing a clear violation of the separation of church and state. Proponents of the law say, of course, that it doesn’t require prayer, but the intent is clear as day in the title of the measure: It’s the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. In his ruling on the case, which was filed by talk show host and atheist Rob Sherman and his high school-age daughter, Gettleman noted that under the law, the “teacher is required to instruct her pupils, especially in the lower grades, about prayer and its meaning.” I would have no problem with schools offering elective courses on world religions or using religious texts in conjunction with studies of literature, but the Student Prayer Act goes too far. Schools should not be recruiting grounds for religions. Proponents of school prayer may say that’s not their goal, but if they’re not looking to indoctrinate or proselytize, then what’s the purpose of this continuing effort to get prayer, in the guise of silent reflection, into our public schools? A student can pray at any time during his or her school day. It does not have to be, nor should it be, an organized activity.