“School Prayer” Bill Ready For Florida Senate Vote

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a controversial bill that could bring prayer into Florida schools, if school districts allow. Students would be allowed to lead prayers or give inspirational messages, and under the proposal, there would be virtually no limit to what can be said.

The bill, sponsored by Orlando Senator Gary Siplin, has just one prohibition; that adults could not deliver the messages. But if a student wanted a PA mike to deliver a Bhu29392dist message at a football game, or if a student wanted to lead his classroom in a Muslim prayer, that would be permitted, along with evangelical messages, Wiccan prayers, and more.

Messages must be inspirational and delivered by a student, but the law not only define ‘inspirational’, it specifically prohibits school districts from doing so.

In fact, it clearly prevents school districts from choosing what students are allowed to say or not say, spelling out that school district personnel “may not monitor or otherwise review the content of a student volunteer’s inspirational message.”

“So the inspirational message my little children would be hearing would not be up to the family….? asked Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach.

That is correct, Siplin replied. It would be up to the students at her children’s school.

And if she doesn’t want her children to hear any “inspirational messages” at school functions, what should she do? Sachs asked.

“Since school boards are elected you can vote against them next time,” Siplin responded.

While the bill originally would have made it clear that prayers could only be offered at events students aren’t required to attend, now the bill would allow prayer at any school event.

Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, said she couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want students to hear inspirational messages at the start of an assembly.

“Do you suppose opponents want, instead of to inspire little first graders, maybe they want to demoralize them?” asked Storms.

  • Esther

    Maybe if School Prayer is brought back into the school system, then maybe some of the violence will disappear from the school system

    • Cinaed

      Really? What if a Muslim prays, and a fundamentalist Christian thinks he should be beat up? (Christians are among the most violent people in the world, especially if you disagree with them.) What if a Christian prays, and an extreme Muslim thinks a Jihad is in order? Pagan prayers are some of the most beautiful, but most folks don’t know enough about Pagans for it to be meaningful.

      • Brandon

        I agree with that :)

  • Pama Lyons

    I think they need to stick to the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. There are too many different religions affected by this.

  • Cory Ure

    Storms and Siplin are blinded by their own faith and really don’t care about anyone elses. That is until that little Buddhist, Wiccan or Muslim child wants the PA mic, then they’ll be offended and rushing to change the very bill they passed.

  • SherryJ

    What do you want to bet that, although they say inspriational messages from anyones belief system will be allowed, they will primarily choose students they know to be Christian?

    Prayer/religion are for home and church. School is for academics.

    • Brandon

      Amen to that, sister! Students deserve to be exposed to secular academics. They can learn religion at home or church.

      • Catherine Smith

        I agree 100%. School is no place for prayer of any kind.

    • Fallowt

      I agree as well. This Republican-led legislature is going to far again. They just shot down gambling because they think it’s wrong and now they are pushing their conservative right-wing agenda on our kids. Separation of church and state!

  • Bob

    Who gets to decide which student gets to speak? No one reviews the material? Who decides what is and is not inspirational? Will any student be allowed to speak or will there be a list? How many will be allowed per event? How about Satanic messages? This is so full iof holes you could drive a fleet of constitutional holes thru it.

    • Brandon

      Agreed. It is logistically virtually impossible, if not extremely tricky to negotiate. You can maintain an equally neutral position by accommodating no view on religion at all.

  • Bob

    Here is how it will go in my opinion ” Sorry person of another faith, you didn’t get your name on the list soon enough and there are 3000 Christian students who signed up before you. Try again next year.” or ” I sorry little Muslim child, but we ran out of time today. Maybe you can say your prayer next month.” This is nothing but a scam to get Christian prayer back into the public schools. it should be acknowledged as such and the ACLU and courts should stomp on it.

    • Brandon

      I agree 100%. They won’t be able to accommodate all religious messages, and those they do accommodate will probably be Christian in nature, in effect creating a pathway for Christianisation in public schools.

  • GeorgiaB

    Are they going to allow all religions to offer up prayers? If not then it shouldn’t be allowed. Just remember if you let one, you have to let them all. Which means even a religion you may hate has the right.

  • Brandon

    Ronda Storms’s assumption is so stupid. Nobody is saying they don’t want to be inspired–they’re saying that they don’t want inspiration to be religious in nature. The alternative to religious inspiration is *not* demoralization. That’s a false dichotomy. There isn’t a choice between either religious inspiration, or demoralization, but not secular inspiration. She’s trying to create a ruse.

  • SStormsinger

    No matter how it’s white-washed, it’s still a violation of the separation of church & state.

  • Rev Ellen

    I can see this being used as a method to intimidate those of minority religions. What if a Pagan, Hindu, Muslim or Buddist child gave an insprational prayer over the PA. Now everyone in the school would know the child’s religion. I see torment in the future for that child. Most children of minority religions would hide and only Christian inspirations would be given. Children are not know for being tolerant. That’s a learned concept that even adults have a very hard time doing.

  • Conrad Wheeler

    What is it about religion that drives people to FORCE their beliefs onto others at all times. Can’t you religious nutbags.. sorry, evangelicals, be satisfied with brainwashing your own kids in your churches that you have to force it onto other peoples’ kids?

    Tend to your own flock… School is for learning, Church is for faith, keep your hands and beliefs off other people’s kids.

    • Fallowt


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