Skip to comments.Black Democrats Push School Prayer
Posted on 12/06/2001 5:37:30 AM PST by truthandlife
It was not surprising to see several state legislatures consider school prayer bills in the aftermath of Sept. 11. What was surprising was who sponsored some of those measures.
In Florida and Pennsylvania, the principal sponsors of bills to bring God back to the classroom are not conservative Republicans but black Democrats.
In Tallahassee, the state House in April easily passed a bill written by Rep. Wilbert "Tee" Holloway, D-Miami, to allow student-led prayers at graduations and student assemblies. With no sponsors in the state Senate, the measure went nowhere.
Things will be quite different when the next session convenes in January, Holloway vowed. As a parent, Holloway said prayer has been taken from him and his children. Under his proposal, students can recite non-sectarian prayers with no guidance from school administrators at events where attendance is not required.
This bill would not violate U.S. Supreme Court decisions banning prayers at commencements and football games. Holloway explained these are solemn events and students are volunteering to lead the prayers.
'One Nation Under God'
The Sept. 11 attacks "rallied the country to realize we are all one nation under God," Holloway told NewsMax.com.
When asked if sponsoring a school prayer bill was an unusual move for a legislator with a "D" after his name, Holloway said it was "unfortunate, and maybe we should as Democrats" support more legislation like this.
Holloway knew he would get little support from fellow Democrat legislators, some of whom told him they were "offended by the bill and feel it is unconstitutional."
Next year, Holloway is confident the bill will pass both houses. He will have a companion bill in the state Senate this time but could not get a fellow Democrat to sponsor it. Two Republicans will sponsor the measure in the upper house.
End the Silence
Holloway said the bill definitely did not call for a moment of silence. "Why would you want to silence me when I want to speak to my God and savior?" Holloway asked.
Silence is the aim of a measure overwhelmingly approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in October. While teachers in government schools previously had the option of calling for a moment of silence before class, the bill would make it mandatory.
The prime sponsor of the original proposal was also a black Democrat, Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland of Chester. The measure specifically says the time "is not intended to be a religious service or exercise, but shall be considered as an opportunity for silent prayer or meditation on a religious theme or a moment of silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day."
The language was eventually appended to another bill requiring all schools to display U.S. flags and all students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the national anthem every day. The measure passed the lower House on a 200-1 vote and is now before a state Senate committee.
"At a time when our nation is standing together against hate, it is essential that we put prayer back in our schools," Kirkland said. "We would not only be adding prayer to our schools, but unity, peace and solace," he added.
Some school districts are not waiting for legislative action. In the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina, the school board recently gave first approval to a mandatory moment of silence. Board President Mike Spence told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that the idea had been talked about, but after Sept. 11, "children and staff need time to reflect or pray."
Amend the Constitution?
While all of these proposals were drafted with an eye on U.S. Supreme Court decisions, one congressman believes the best way to avoid constitutional questions is to change the U.S. Constitution.
Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., plans to reintroduce his proposed constitutional amendment that would read, in part, "the peoples right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed."
It was brought to the House floor in June 1998 and got a plurality of the votes cast, 224-203, but fell short of the required two-thirds majority. Adding it to the Constitution would also require a two-thirds vote in the Senate and ratification by 34 state legislatures.
Istooks measure is the real concern at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Group spokesman Rob Boston said moments of silence and the posting of "In God We Trust" or "God Bless America" signs are constitutional.
The signs have both civil and religious connotations, Boston told NewsMax.com. As for moments of silence, "most students just ignore them," Boston said.
One of the aims of the Americans United organization is to help educators and parents find ways to integrate religion and classrooms. Boston claimed the group encourages after-class Bible groups and teaching the importance of religion in American history.
Boston said the Florida measure was "the wrong way to go." He also is not confident in the future of Pennsylvanias moment-of-silence bill.
As time passes beyond Sept. 11, Boston said, "cooler heads will prevail." While some of the ideas for bringing prayer to schools are perfectly acceptable, he emphasized, "amending the Constitution would be an overreaction."
Much simpler to end government schools period. Give responsibility to parents, with it comes the freedom to pray or not as they choose.
Maybe but about as likely as you flying to Mars by flapping your arms.
It has been in the Republocrat platform since Reagan's first run to close the Department of Education in D.C. That would be a good start, maybe like me going to the moon in balloon?
now, if we could only get them to give up being democrates in all aspects of their lives.
would you mind providing justification for this statement?
i see things differently. our public schools have taken a turn for the worst shortly after prayer was outlawed in public schools. and they continue to get worse year after year. drugs, violence, nea agendas, ritalin,..., are all sidetracking kids from learning. we threw god out ... it is time to invite him back in.
This is very true.
What I don't understand about black people: so many are Democrats (and Democrats to me = immoral, liars, cheaters, low-lifes). Yet, you look, historically, to the black community. They are the ones, really, where so much (or all) of our religious music comes from: blues, gospel, soul, etc. And many are Baptists.
If you then compare to white people, and, in particular, those who are Baptists, I would say, percentage-wise, more whites are Republicans. Why is this?
I would think that black Democrats who are spiritual/religious, would be equally wanting to espouse the Republican view (I think the higher moral and ethical party).
And I'm not going to believe that it's just because they believe in all the social programs for which the Democrats are famous for pushing. (I'm a single parent and have appreciated help when my kids were were very young, from time to time. It's hard to go it alone sometimes; but I still have too much pride in myself to depend on handouts as a way of life.)
you are corect. between 80 and 90 percent.
i perhaps naively view the black population as two societies in america: the drug/welfare culture and the working class. i interract with a lot of blacks on a daily basis from the working class. i agree with you, they are more religious in general than whites and they have strong family ties.
part of the reason they are so tight is racism. because they are victims of so much overt and covert stuff the family and church congregations provide a support structure. the welfare class is not as religious, perhaps has been made very dependent on the government and tend to espouse much racism themselves.
labor has historically been democratic. the working class votes that way. those dependent on government handouts do as well. as the working class gets more involved into white collar jobs, they will, and have vote more republican.
i still find blue collar many people, regardless of color, who vote democratic simply because "my dad has always voted democratic." momentum is not on our side.
unfortunately politics is not about religion. a majority of the people, again regardless of color, still believe in this separation of church and state dictum espoused by the aclu. so many people do not factor in spiritual issues when they vote, which is sad.
i do believe that black leadership is waking up to the fact that the government as held blacks back more any other force in society, and that is a good sign. go keyes and watts!
I am offended by Democrats who are unconstitutional liberals that support perversion and corruption. (but that's my opinion)
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