Indiana state senator, Dennis Kruse, introduced a bill on Thursday that may require recitation of The Lord’s Prayer in public school districts. If passed, the bill would give school districts authority to require students to recite the prayer at the beginning of each school day.
Kruse’s proposal was introduced during Thursday’s legislative session despite previous Supreme Court rulings against requiring prayer in public schools. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that it would be a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The bill submitted by Senator Kruse, as reported by thinkprogress.org, states the following:
“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.”
Senator Kruse, who is chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, has introduced bills similar to the one requiring The Lord’s Prayer in the past.
The Republican senator tried to introduce legislation last year requiring schools to teach creationism and evolution as equally valid theories. Following the failure of that bill, the senator tried another approach.
His proposal which he refers to as “truth in education,” would require science teachers to provide students “proof” if they question or challenge anything during their science lessons.
Critics of the proposal feel that it is simply a clever tactic to introduce topics, such as religion, into scientific discussion in the classroom.
According to indystar.com, others have argued that it is actually a valid compromise. Micah Clark, executive director of American Family Association of Indiana, states that the legislation actually protects the teachers as they would simply be answering questions. He also points out that similar legislation has passed in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Senator Kruse’s new bill, that may require The Lord’s Prayer in schools, is not likely to pass according to thinkprogress.org. Even his republican supporters seem leery about the bill. Republican Senate President Pro Tempore has stated that the bill has been assigned to what they refer to as a “graveyard for legislation.”