If all goes according to state lawmakers’ plans in South Carolina, public school teachers will soon be filling a moment of silence with a prayer to begin each school day. Should the legislature pass, students who don’t wish to participate in the prayer would be allowed to simply leave the classroom.
The bill, H. 3526, was introduced in February of 2013, but is currently held up in the House Committee on Judiciary. The Supreme Court has noted that as a case of government endorsing religion, the bill violates the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Lawmakers have responded by saying that they are willing to compromise on whether the teachers lead the prayer.
As Democratic Representative Wendell Gilliard, one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “If they want to do away with teachers conducting the prayer, that would be fine with us.”
The teacher would merely conduct the moment of silence, and students would be free to pray to whomever they please.
“The essential part of the bill, the important part, is putting prayer back in school," Gilliard continued.
The overwhelming majority of the bill’s sponsors in the House of Representatives are Democrats. Joining Wendell Gilliard are fellow Democrats Robert Williams, Joseph Jefferson, Carl Anderson, Bill Clyburn, Lonnie Hosey, and Robert Ridgeway III. Amongst its Republican House of Representative supporters are Liston Barfield, Heather Ammons Crawford, and Don Wells.
Sources: The Raw Story, Huffington Post
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