Backwards thinking and religious dogma wins out in Missouri.
Missouri voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment that supporters said will protect religious freedom.
The measure — Amendment 2 — says Missourians’ right to express religious beliefs can’t be infringed. It protects voluntary prayer in schools and requires public schools to display a copy of the Bill of Rights.
As Glenn Church over at Foolocracy notes, the First Amendment pretty much has voluntary prayer covered. “No law prohibits anyone in a school, on public property or anywhere else from privately praying.” Exactly, but that hasn’t stopped Missouri from ensuring protection for religious freedoms by introducing the following amendments.
- Ensures the right to pray individually or in groups in private or public places, as long as the prayer does not disturb the peace or disrupt a meeting
- Prohibits the state from coercing religious activity.
- Protects the right to pray on government property.
- Protects the right of legislative bodies to sponsor prayers and invocations.
I’ll be anxious to see what happens the first time a Muslim student in Missouri invokes their right to pray and lays down a prayer mat in the school cafeteria. Any bets on how quick school authorities intervene and claim that the student was disrupting the peace?
In any case, Missouri felt the need for even greater protection, so they added the following doozy of an amendment. It’s straight out of the religious right’s wingnut playbook.
- Students need not take part in assignments or presentations that violate their religious beliefs.
Lovely. So if Bobby Boucher decides one night that he’s not into doing his biology homework on evolution because it goes against his momma’s teaching of a 6000 year old earth, he doesn’t have to…and now he’s got the state constitution to back him up. Glenn sums up the madness perfectly.
The concept reeks of impracticality.
Besides, this will only create a school system where science, facts and critical thinking are secondary to opinion and belief. The U.S. is supposed to teach its children to become adept in a technological society, not walking them back to a medieval society or the American equivalent of Islamic madrasseses.
A student could decide to ignore the study of the history of non-Christian societies on the claim that studying pagan ways violates his or her religious belief. Algebra could be considered a violation of religious beliefs as it was discovered by Muslims. Conversely, an atheist student studying literature could refuse an assignment on Bible because it violates religious belief.
This amendment has the potential to turn education on its head. Instead of experts in the field of math, science, history and all subjects presenting what is the best known facts of today’s world, parents and students are going to be given veto power over classroom content. It is a recipe for chaos. Even worse, it is a recipe for ignorance. With this kind of backwards thinking, there is no way that the U.S. is going to catch its rivals in the industrialized world that always seem to edge the U.S. on academic scores.
Bobby Boucher’s mom would be so very proud of Missourians.