Editorial: Prayers for Alabama — Hurst’s bill tries to sneak around key clause of the First Amendment
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Feb 13, 2014 | 4512 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, chats with Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, back to camera, on the house floor in the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. on Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014. Hurst is sponsoring a bill that would set aside 15 minutes at the start of each school day to study the procedures of Congress, and give a verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer. Photo: The Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh/The Associated Press
Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, chats with Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, back to camera, on the house floor in the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. on Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014. Hurst is sponsoring a bill that would set aside 15 minutes at the start of each school day to study the procedures of Congress, and give a verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer. Photo: The Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh/The Associated Press
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Did you see what he did there?

State Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, sponsored a bill that would have Alabama public school teachers spend a part of each day reading the opening prayer delivered to either the U.S. House or Senate.

Oh, Hurst is a clever one, attempting to sneak a little school prayer past the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Hurst, his co-sponsors and supporters undoubtedly believe they are putting a finger in the eyes of the godless censors who stomp out every religious impulse inside schools.

Wait a minute, though. Prayers led by chaplains in the Senate and the House? We thought our leaders still wished for schools to instill a sense of work ethic upon Alabama school children. The current do-nothing Congress is on pace to meet about 112 days in 2014, a low not seen in decades. In 2013, Congress passed a record-low number of bills. And when it is in session, too many members act more like teenage drama queens than leaders of a great nation.

If Hurst’s bill passes, what are Alabama teachers going to tell their students? Maybe you boys and girls can become a member of Congress someday and sell your vote to the highest bidder and only bother to show up to work less than a third of the year. Now, let us pray. Seriously, let’s pray for better members of Congress.

Here’s an alternative for Rep. Hurst.

Let’s have school children contemplate the prayers of the least among us in Alabama.

They can consider the prayers of the 300,000 Alabamians Gov. Robert Bentley is denying health insurance to. They can quietly reflect on the daily struggles of the working poor in the state who are one illness away from financial ruin.

Or, the students can prayerfully consider the state’s elected leadership who offer meaningless bills that amount to evangelical pork while barely lifting a finger to correct Alabama’s underfunded schools and shocking rates of infant mortality and teen pregnancy.

Amen.
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