SB 23 – Lord’s Prayer in School

Bishop Senator Kruse has introduced SB 23 which would allow schools to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day. If it decides to impose this requirement, the school board is directed to select the version it wants recited.

Students are generously allowed to draw attention to themselves by not participating if they or their parents decide they don’t want the student to participate.

On the one hand, this is clearly unconstitutional and would burden a participating school with court mandated legal fees. On the other hand, Mike Huckabee has said, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” So, maybe proponents of this legislation envision that the legal fees would be offset by reduced security costs.


  1. Wilson Allen says

    you mean a Papist superintendent could force good Christian (i.e. Protestant) students to listen to that Douai (Jesuit) perversion of God’s Inerrant Words?

  2. says

    I don’t get why conservatives don’t oppose this kind of thing on fiscal grounds. How much money is being wasted on quixotic fights for obviously unconstitutional initiatives like this? To say nothing of the classroom time (and teacher/administrator salaries) wasted.

  3. John says

    So what happens if all the students in a particular class decide not to participate?
    Worse yet, an overwhelming majority decide not to participate? Can you imagine sending students to ISS/OSS for being disruptive during morning prayer! Yet that is exactly what will happen in some schools. Ah, but wait I ,the teacher will be armed, so if I say pray…….

  4. says

    I think local public schools should be able to require recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in any version they want. I acknowledge that the law is against me, but the Establishment Clause clearly did not apply to the states, and I don’t believe the 14th amendment extended it to the states..
    I wouldn’t expect school violence to drop if they did require it, by the way, and I’m not saying it’s a good idea to make, e.g., Jewish kids listen mutely to a Christian prayer. I’m just being pedantic about history and federalism.

  5. MarcD says

    Reading the text of the bill, there is no definition of “The Lord’s Prayer” and indeed just makes a vague reference to “what version.”

    Penned for you now, The Lord’s Prayer, by Marc Dukes:

    “Please stop using my name as a political football. Please stop killing in my name, for it is not my wish.”

    I also have an Alt version: “Gooooooooooooo Whittier High!”

    I would only hope that if this were to pass, and some BoEd were to mandate the Lord’s Prayer, that an administrator would try something cheeky like this.

  6. Stuart Swenson says

    An evil part of me hopes this guy gets what he wants. People will then discover why the principle of “separation of church and state” is found in so many places in our laws: it keeps the peace. They may have armed policemen in the schools, but there will be blood on the sand. The rumbling I hear is the sound of attorneys moving to Indiana.

  7. HoosierOne says

    As a public educator of well over 20 years, I will refuse to say such a prayer (even though I am a practicing Catholic) and refuse to force my student to do so, even if that means that my pay will be restricted due to my “unprofessionalism”. I’m more than willing to be the test case, as this infringes on my rights as defined by the Indiana Constitution.

    I find is interesting that they would leave it up to the LOCAL school board to decide WHICH version.. since A) they have stripped the local boards of practically all rights — except the chance to get sued? and B) they seem to make an official version of everything – including pie!!

  8. Manfred James says

    And this is supposed to stop school violence? I wonder how the government will manage to require citizens to recite the Lord’s Prayer in shopping malls & movie theaters?

  9. John says

    I can relate a personal experience story to this debate. During the mid-sixties while in first grade at the local public elementary school , we started each day with a prayer. So I am in a class of thirty-four, mostly protestant kids, and each day one student would lead morning prayer. Now mind you,it was prayer, not a specific prayer. So my turn arrives and I say “Hail Mary full of grace……” The teacher leaves the classroom ,brings back the principal, they talk, and guess what ! That was the end of morning prayer. It just does not work.

  10. Stuart Swenson says

    In addition to the above comments, it is interesting that the law gives permission for school boards to make children or teachers say the Lord’s Prayer. Apparently, the State would not be taking that responsibility on itself. So, the message to school boards is the following: “Do you have an extra $300K to defend a policy that is clearly unconstitutional and that you will lose? Go for it!” This law is so clearly outrageous that there must be something going on that we do not know. Is Sen. Kruse just pandering to the people who elect him, knowing the bill will fail?

  11. pete guipe says

    I’m glad my daughter can go to “Bible Club” before school, AT school! To me, that’s enough. It’s available, and its voluntary. no rights lot beliefs stepped on. MarkD, what’s up with the Whittier reference? I grew up there. But didn’t go to Whittier High. Home of the Cardinals.

  12. Marc says

    The Whittier ref was intended to be random. I went to Whittier Elemtary ( John Greenleaf Whittier?) and was trying to find a generic school name. I should have gone for Shermer High and see if there are any fans of John Hughes movies.

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