Is Religious Freedom Plaguing Our Schools?
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Politics and Activism

Is Religious Freedom Plaguing Our Schools?

New religious freedom bill may cause tensions within the halls of our Georgia student schools.

Is Religious Freedom Plaguing Our Schools?

If the south is consider the bible belt, the state of Georgia is the buckle. Early this year lawmakers in the state’s legislature introduce a string of Religious Freedom bills. The most recent one of these bills which are up for discussion is the House Bill 816, which is also known as Georgia Student Religious Liberties Act strives to allow students to pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day.

Now, let’s dissect this bill by first stating that it is restating what is already required by the Constitution, that every student is allowed to express their personal religious beliefs freely without discrimination and grants courtesies to students who wish not to express religion. No one objects to this. Then the bill takes a right turn by allowing public schools to allow students to promote their personal religious beliefs at school-sponsored events (athletic events, during morning announcements, at assemblies and pep rallies, and at graduation). Legislators are well aware, of course, if you come from a small conservative town like Zebulon, Georgia, a school forum will be dominated by students from the Christian majority while students who hold minority religious beliefs or practice no religion at all will be effectively silenced.

Along with fighting a decades old Supreme Court ruling that banned prayer in school there are many other problems that may also arise if this bill is passed. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia says it will fight the bill. The executive director, Maya Smith stated, “There is a concern that the law specifically creates a limited public forum, which means the government then gets to decide more leeway on what speech is included and what is not. You could have a hodge podge of laws from county to county.” That goes without saying the way the law is written at this point, it may lead to unintended consequences, which could then lead to lawsuits down the line. With regards to this bill and the other Religious Freedom bills they are all essentially unconstitutional and contradict the civil rights laws.

I can not recall even being held up by anyone from practicing my religion in my high school classroom and the countless times I prayed before my tests in any of my University lecture halls. I do not see a true need for this bill. If a person truly wants the prey there is no one stopping them, it's up there with expressing your first amendment right. This is just another example of our politician trying to use our Secular government to impose their religious doctrine on everyone. If anything this is a play by many christians using propaganda to spread their cognitive, emotional, social, and cultural views to make their belief superior over other religions.The willingness to prey should be left up to the individual and not mandated or instilled by officials, business owners, and other public federal servants.

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