Stance should be taken on school prayerPublished 12:02am Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Politeness dictates it’s wise to avoid public discussions on religion. The nearly inevitable challenges imposed when one person’s beliefs entangle with another set of differing beliefs are bound to cause conflict.
No place is that more true than the United States of America.
We consider ourselves to be the land of the free and home of the brave, yet we’re often scared to discuss how we might retain our country’s religious roots without simultaneously compromising religious freedom as well.
Based on a series of questionable court decisions, the official federal stance is that religion has no place in our schools.
The federal government doesn’t know what to think about religion so as a result we politely just avoid the discussion until someone makes a big deal out of it.
Fortunately, the majority of Mississippians are quite comfortable talking religion and perfectly happy to fight over what they feel is true and correct.
The latter will probably be needed if either of two bills up for consideration in the Mississippi Legislature becomes law. Both bills take on the issue of religious freedom. Some supporters say the bills opens the door for prayer in public schools.
We’ve long supported allowing local school districts the option of allowing school prayer, but the issue is so murky given the federal courts’ stance that most folks choose not to discuss the matter.
Bill authors say their intent isn’t to circumvent federal law but to simply clarify what is and isn’t legally able to be discussed in schools
We hope lawmakers give strong consideration to them, and then we hope the state will aggressively defend it in federal court when necessary.