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Patti Wigington

Inspirational Message Bill Update

By March 4, 2012

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Remember last month when we talked about the Florida senate approving a bill that would permit student-led prayer at public school functions, as long as it was considered an "inspirational message" and adults stayed out of the way? Well, a couple of readers -- one of whom happens to be MY MOM!! - sent me an update on this story, and it fits right in with all the religion-in-school stuff we've been discussing this week.

Apparently, after some pretty heated debate (go figure) the bill has gone to Gov. Rick Scott for approval. The sponsors, Sen. Gary Siplin and Rep. Charles Van Zant, argue that "returning organized prayer would help cure some the ills that have been plaguing public schools since it was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court."

Those opposed to the bill point out that it would violate the entire concept of the separation of church and state. "The reality is we are going to get sued on this," said Rep. Jim Waldman, a Coconut Creek Democrat who led the opposition. "It's not even a close call."

So, if you're a Florida Pagan, and you've got a student in school, let us know how it goes over when your child decides to lead the Charge of the Goddess or a prayer to Odin before that big algebra test!

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March 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm
(1) L says:

“Your Inspirational Message of the day: The Goddess is alive and Magic is afoot!” ;-D

March 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm
(2) Amber Moon says:

Thanks for the idea! We live in Florida and will try this out as soon as it becomes law!! :-) I let you know how it goes! LOL!

March 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm
(3) April says:

Talk about kicking a hornet’s nest…I’ll be following this closely. I don’t know about Florida, but here in my neck of the woods (NC) the biggest problem I’ve seen with kids is their parents. It’s not taking prayer out of school, it’s the parents attitude of “couldn’t be my child” instead of supporting the teachers. It’s parents letting their kids run willy nilly without any form of structure or letting the kids sit on their butts for 10 hours a day watching tv or playing video games and not encouraging them to develop anything other than an entitlement mentality. But hey, that’s just my opinion, lol.

March 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm
(4) Makarios says:

‘”The reality is we are going to get sued on this,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, a Coconut Creek Democrat who led the opposition. “It’s not even a close call.”‘

Unhappily, he is only half right. If there are lawsuits, they will be directed at local school boards who implement this, and not at the legislature; and it is the local boards who will have to dip into their budgets to pay for the legal defence of a losing cause.

March 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(5) Vickie says:

I’m sorry to say that Makarios is right. Regardless of what is said or done, the schools will be the ones to suffer when the “freedom of religion” part of the bill of rights comes into play. (I’m pretty open minded, but some “inspirational” things have a tendency to offend me – mostly when I have to hear “Jesus be praised” over other sentence. Just do what I do and just say “Divinity”, it’s less offensive.) Sorry, I digressed. Hopefully, the kids are more open than the parents and the adults just “but-out.”

Either way, Good luck to all!

March 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm
(6) Lankelly says:

I live in Florida, and the comments I’ve read in the papers are that parents are concerned that Muslim students or satanists may deliver messages. Glad I don’t have children in school any longer….

March 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm
(7) Alexandria says:

Hello, I am a high school student in Florida and yes a wiccan, and I hate the thought of this bill. I am in a program called AVID and we did a sort of debate over this. We read an article about it in our local newspaper and it said that when we had in school prayers the the worst thing the schools had to worry about was kids talking out of turn. But honestly prayer in school won’t change anything but make people offended.

Another point is that school boards with have the ability to tell what can and can not be said. That being said my teacher told us to set up perameters of the “Inspirational Messages” and we said nothing having to do with religion and no curse words and our homework was to find one message that fit the perameters.

But if they do pass this bill I will do my best to proudly share my wiccan inspirational messages :)

March 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm
(8) angel says:

i am imagining a student getting up and leading a prayer. then another student getting up and leading some chanting, then yet another student leading the charge of the goddess and next thing you know the whole class hour is over and no test was taken lol. as a kid i would have purposely got my friends together to do this just so we didnt have class lol

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