SC Rep.: If You Take Prayer Out of School, “You Replace It With Metal Detectors”

Feb 16, 2018

By Hemant Mehta

During a public forum last night at the Savannah Grove Baptist Church in South Carolina, several state representatives brought up a still-not-dead bill they sponsored that would allow public school teachers to pray with students. It’s an act that’s already been declared unconstitutional because it’s a form of religious coercion, but that hasn’t stopped these religious opportunists from pleasuring the Religious Right.

H. 3345 was first proposed in December of 2016, but it still resides in the Education and Public Works committee, where it’s been for more than a year. The text is pretty straightforward:

A teacher employed by a public school district may express a religious viewpoint, and also may conduct or participate in any student-led prayer or student-organized prayer groups, religious clubs, or other religious gatherings organized by students of a public school

To put it another way, a football coach could have a pre-game prayer to Jesus Christ. A math teacher could lead the class in prayer before a big exam. And overt proselytizing in the classroom wouldn’t be punished.

It would just be government-sponsored Christian indoctrination.

And that’s why South Carolina Republicans love it.

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22 comments on “SC Rep.: If You Take Prayer Out of School, “You Replace It With Metal Detectors”

  • @OP – SC Rep.: If You Take Prayer Out of School, “You Replace It With Metal Detectors”

    . . . . . And with a Republican majority in congress, and Trump in the White House enabling the mentally unstable to buy and carry guns, those US schools really, really, really, need metal detectors, because desperate praying when confronted by deranged gunmen is useless!

    Metal detectors in place of prayers: – sounds like a practical up-rated security system to me!



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  • Besides which, it’s my firm impression, that in the US gun ownership would be on balance most supported by Christians – particularly those of the revivalist, bible thumping, public prayer variety – than it would by unbelievers and those who profess a less aggressive faith.



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  • Those Bible thumpers (and other religionists) have no problem with the idea of interpretation of sacred texts and they certainly have their own interpretation of the second amendment to the American constitution that discusses gun ownership. What they and every gun nut in this place refuses to acknowledge is that there are plenty of Americans who have a very different interpretation of the second amendment than the one they hold.

    By my reading of that document, I see no reason why anyone of the general public has the right to own a handgun unless they are under direct threat of attack – like someone who transports large amounts of money for example, and I see no reason whatsoever for anyone of the general public to own anything other than a simple low caliber rifle – and I’m not crazy about those either.

    I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the gun nuts in this place have never actually read the second amendment or any other part of the constitution at all for that matter. They just parrot the same stupid thing over and over to anyone who is willing to listen, “The constitution says that we have the right to own guns for our protection!”. Well the constitution is not written in stone. There are plenty of good changes made to the document already. What’s one more?

    Call me elitist but some people need to be overruled for their own good. Let’s follow Australia’s lead on this.



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  • I lived in Australia during and after the Port Arthur massacre. The support for gun control was overwhelming, I remember having a beer with an old bloke who had just handed in his much-loved .22 rifle, which he had since he was a boy. Sometimes it was amusing. The gun lobbyists were saying that you needed an automatic to shoot pigs, because it is so dangerous – whereupon the professional pig shooters (feral pigs are a serious environmental problem in Australia) entered the debate, saying that if you can’t down them in one, then you shouldn’t be out there.

    In fairness, guns were never such a fundamental part of Australian culture, though the gun lobby was well organised, so in the heat of the tragedy, the government had an easier task than would be the case in the US.



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  • Thank you eejit. That’s very interesting first hand information. the pig story is amusing. Actually, I can see that argument working well here too – but with bears, say.



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  • As I recall (and I wasn’t there) the action in Australia wasn’t without political career sacrifices. It was hard, but they did it. In focus now is on whether the US has the gumption to do something hard. Previous similar experiences suggest not yet.

    }}}}



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  • Ted,
    With the current level of influence that the National Rifle Association has here in US, I must admit to a feeling of hopelessness. How happy I will be if I’m wrong. After this latest appalling incident in Florida, one thing that gives me hope is that the young people have come out strong with demands for change. Meanwhile, hope and prayer is offered at the highest levels of government. A big fat nothing.

    I hate it when these politicians come on the talk shows and start off with, “I AM a supporter of the second amendment and I DO own ten guns but we need to have background checks…this is the most chicken shit statement I’ve ever heard. This gets us nowhere fast.



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  • LaurieB #7
    Feb 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I hate it when these politicians come on the talk shows and start off with, “I AM a supporter of the second amendment and I DO own ten guns but we need to have background checks…this is the most chicken shit statement I’ve ever heard. This gets us nowhere fast.

    There is also what they don’t tell their audiences:

    We don’t believe in mending bolts on stable doors, and when the understaffed, under-trained, public service FBI ‘hoss-wranglers’ WE have underfunded, are chasing horses around the prairie, we will be the first to blame THEM, when they miss a few, and some of the horses escape and run wild!”

    .. .. .. It is the standard libertarian tax-cutters budget plan which “proves” how public services are poor value!! 🙂 (at least when THEY are in charge of the services)



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  • LaurieB #7
    Feb 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    After this latest appalling incident in Florida, one thing that gives me hope is that the young people have come out strong with demands for change.

    There is certainly a back-lash among the young, but we will have to see if sponsored politicians in the gun lobby continue to remain impervious to reason!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43105699

    The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were well practised on how to respond in an active shooter situation –
    the school has lockdown drills, security systems and restricted entrances.
    But a sole gunman on Valentine’s Day was still able to kill 17.

    From the school’s survivors, and other students across the US, movements have sprung up in its aftermath rejecting what has been dubbed the “new normal” for their generation.
    Thousands of teenagers, including many still too young to vote, have become grassroots activists.
    Social media has become a tool for their ideas and campaigns to spread.

    Their calls for gun control are not different to those in the aftermath of other tragedies – but the maturity and voracity of the students publically voicing their demands has led many on social media to say this time feels different.

    “In Newtown the students were so young they couldn’t stand up, but trust me – we are going to be the change,” Parkland survivor Alex Wind told the BBC.

    As Wednesday’s atrocity took place, he was forced to huddle in darkness with 60 other students for over an hour and a half as shots rang out throughout their school.

    Alex and four of his friends founded the Never Again campaign in the immediate aftermath. Now over a dozen of them are tirelessly campaigning and making the rounds on US cable news networks to share their message that the school’s survivors will not back down.

    “It is absolutely insane that a 19-year-old cannot purchase alcohol but can walk in and buy an AR-15 – a weapon of war, by all means a weapon of mass destruction,” he said.

    “You don’t need this to protect your home or your family, its absolutely absurd you can sell it commercially.”

    They have announced the March for Our Lives to take place on 24 March, in conjunction with the Everytown for Gun Safety, calling for the prioritisation of children’s lives in the gun control debate.

    Student Cameron Kasky, also 17, said the group’s aim is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame” on politicians accepting donations from gun lobbyists.

    That sounds a lot better to me, than the system where politicians can be involved in any disreputable activities they choose, but wear a “religious badge of goodness”, to white-wash away the self-serving guilty skulduggery, from the minds of faith-head voters!



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  • Getting a ban on AR type weapons may be achievable and it’s a start, if a weak one. Many other weapons that don’t look as militaristic are for sale and their performance is similar. Perhaps it would be more effective to have performance limits on weapons allowed civilians, but that’s a heavier lift politically and possibly constitutionally. We sorta-kinda did that with a ban on civilian access to fully automatic weapons, but the language is such that it limits technical details, not performance. There quickly appeared legal work-arounds like bump stocks and of course easy illegal modifications to weapons initially designed to be fully automatic and set up for market to be barely legal.
    I’m not anti-gun (bought my first firearm, a .22 rifle, when I was 9) but am anti-murder. Guns are tools for those of us in rural America but no hunter needs a weapon that can take down thirty deer in a minute. Any firearm, including my old .22, is potentially lethal but some more so than others. So what to do? Maybe, just maybe we decide on an acceptable discharge rate and/or power of weapons legally available to civilians and further make registration mandatory and at least as stringent a process as obtaining a driver’s license and insurance on a car.
    Second amendment hardliners would argue that this is turning owning arms from a right to a privilege and that’s not an unsound argument. It’s one supported by the letter, if perhaps not the intent, of our national constitution. My reading of that document is that an armed constituency is less vulnerable to coercion by a runaway government and that’s valid. Get back to me on it when I can have tens of thousands of nuclear weapons to deter the similar arsenal that my government holds. Until then, we’re talking about fractions of a second in what is socially acceptable for a shooter to shoot.
    OK then, mental health it the real issue. Aside from the underlying assumption that Americans are somehow much, much crazier than most (which could be true), how do we assess and control that? Do we allow invasion of everyone’s social media, their diaries, their school counselor notes, their medical records just in case? If some nut just shot your kid the answer might be easy; if your weird kid was ostracized for her weirdness maybe not.
    If we further stigmatize mental issues, which basically define teens, we risk preventing them from engaging with someone who might help. The Florida shooter was kicked out of his school over disciplinary matters — problem solved for the school until it wasn’t.
    So what should we do? I don’t know — I’m asking.

    }}}}



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  • LaurieB #3

    Those Bible thumpers (and other religionists) have no problem with the
    idea of interpretation of sacred texts and they certainly have their
    own interpretation of the second amendment to the American
    constitution that discusses gun ownership. What they and every gun nut
    in this place refuses to acknowledge is that there are plenty of
    Americans who have a very different interpretation of the second
    amendment than the one they hold.

    By my reading of that document, I see no reason why anyone of the
    general public has the right to own a handgun
    unless they are under
    direct threat of attack

    Your problem though is that the Supreme Court, no less, ruled rather differently. In the landmark 2008 District of Columbia vs Heller case, the majority opinion led by the extreme conservative Justice Scalia came down firmly in favour of the individual’s right to own arms and the minimisation of any infringment of such rights. That controversial decision, which to any sane outsider fails the most basic test of common sense for a modern civilised society, has nevertheless galvanised the gun lobby by giving it an extra veneer of legal and constitutional validity, making it harder to re-enact previous gun control measures which have lapsed, or to introduce new ones.



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  • So I grew up in Mississippi. blaugh… (just threw up a bit in my mouth) I had to sit through prayers in school EVERYWHERE. Lunch, sports, class, whenever something bad happened, on an on and on. I can tell you how I felt: Extremely uncomfortable, confused as to what I was doing, looking around at people looking down with their eyes closed, (I always felt like a peeping tom!! heh) etc… I felt guilty for not “feeling”. I literally thought I was a sociopath, religion was how we dealt with everything. So, the point I’m trying to make is this applies to kids everywhere. It’s effects are different from child to child, but the results are almost always negative to the psychology of the child or the hope of a reasonable education. Children can be easily influenced. That can be leveraged for good as they are supposed to be learning and questioning everything during that “curiosity for everything” phase. But, please, please, please! Do NOT indoctrinate a child with that religious nonsense. It’s extremely coercive due to the situation at hand as they are looking to anyone, anything for consolation. Let this be other caring human beings.
    It’s as if you’re leveraging powerful mind of an Albert Einstein for becoming a pope. Dangerous… I hated it, questioned everything, was cast out by many from it, and was denied answers from very uncomfortable teachers. And all this for want of getting to pray with children in groups at school?! Adults, especially educators, ESPECIALLY during such a fragile time due to tragedy, have a responsibility and these adults are not being responsible, and likely because an irresponsible adult in their lives. I feel compassion, frustration, and sadness for those who think this way.
    As for the gun issue. The answer is simple, the minds of the people are not. Conservatism is a sickness in the US. “Conserving” this need for weaponry in such a lackadaisical manner is very irresponsible. The fact that we have parties indicating 2 major sides to everything is a sickness in and of itself! Protection, the argument for most, is a complete lie. Or maybe they really think if a person approached them with a gun ready to fire, they’ll have a gun ready to go. Loaded, cocked, and finger on the trigger. Or maybe some small battle between the locals?? I suppose that’s where the AR-15s come in… As I said the answer is simple, but the people and psychology is absolute insanity to even contemplate. It seems like time and reason is all we have. And that is very sad for everyone. @LaurieB I couldn’t agree more, and issues as @rogeroney stated are major setbacks.



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  • Josh Sanders #13
    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Protection, the argument for most, is a complete lie.
    Or maybe they really think if a person approached them with a gun ready to fire,
    they’ll have a gun ready to go.
    Loaded, cocked, and finger on the trigger.
    Or maybe some small battle between the locals??

    That is the macho- Hollywood message which is regularly trotted out as entertainment for those who live in a media world of unreality!

    It is a system which is almost guaranteed to escalate any dispute, and eliminate reasoned negotiation from the argument.

    I suppose that’s where the AR-15s come in…

    Yep! It is the standard approach of the macho, incompetent, ignoramus!
    – apply more brute force and stupidity – then argue about blaming someone else when something breaks!

    As I said the answer is simple, but the people and psychology is absolute insanity to even contemplate.

    To every human problem there is a ready answer: – Simple, Plausible, and Wrong!



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  • Talking of Hollywood messages to those with limited mental capacity, who have a propensity to act as irresponsible political stooges for anti-social vested interests:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-43108035

    An Australian MP has drawn criticism for posting a photo online that showed him aiming a gun and asking: “Do you feel lucky, greenie punks?”

    George Christensen, a government MP, put the photo on Facebook on Saturday.

    The Greens party said the conservative MP’s post was “disgraceful”, noting it came in the same week that 17 people died in a US school shooting.

    Police said they would consider whether an investigation was warranted. The MP said his post was a joke.

    Mr Christensen said the post was a “tongue-in-cheek” reference to a famous line from the 1971 film Dirty Harry, in which Clint Eastwood’s character says: “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the post was “very inappropriate”.

    It was unclear whether Mr Christensen’s caption was specifically aimed at the Greens or at environmental activists who are campaigning against a proposed coalmine – which is supported by the MP – in his seat.

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said it was evaluating the post. Political opponents accused Mr Christensen of inciting violence.

    Greens MP Sarah Hanson-Young said she had received death threats online following the post.

    Mr Christensen said he would not be “moralised at” by the Greens, who he said supported “illegal activism on mine sites”.

    “Putting a joke up on social media – if that’s doing something wrong, then there are a lot of people that are going to be in trouble,” he told reporters on Monday.

    Clearly, a lot of people that are going to be in trouble with the climate, if they keep electing bought stooges and superficial air-heads!

    He then changed his caption read: “You gotta ask yourself, do you have a sense of humour, greenie punks? Obviously not.” The MP later deleted the post.

    Does he have ANY science education, or any moral sense of responsibility to set a public example as an MP?
    OBVIOUSLY NOT!



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  • Josh Sanders

    I’m sorry you had to suffer for those years in Mississippi with all of that coercion to pray, even though you didn’t want to do so. Honestly, I can relate to that because I was required to attend Methodist church every Sunday including Sunday school, church service and youth group. I hated all of it and was kept in this for around 15 years. They only hurt themselves because they created a bitter resentful atheist in the end. (bitter against religion, not life in general). Finding this website years ago was therapeutic for me. I realized I wasn’t alone. I hope you find the same relief that I did here. Fist bump to you for secular solidarity!



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  • Whenever this issue rears its ugly head yet again I am put in mind of the undeniable precursors of the Second Amendment: the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and the Constitution of Pennsylvania (both from 1776). George Mason coined the term “well regulated militia” for Virginia, and the Pennsylvania document was the first appearance of a “right to bear arms”. What nobody seems to mention is that these documents are far less concerned with firearms than they are with the evils of standing armies, which both cite as “dangerous to liberty”.

    My, how times change. In 1776 it would have been unthinkable to celebrate an Army of the United States with parades and banners and free mulled wine in the taverns. A few short years later, however, the citizens of the newly-formed republic had learned from hard experience that a hundred militias could keep the fight going, but only a standing army and an alliance with France could finally defeat Cornwallis.

    And yet the “well regulated militia” verbiage somehow managed to live on when Madison drafted the Bill of Rights years later. There were many delegates determined to put the standing army genie back in its bottle, enough to keep the clause in the final draft. And please take note: the Second is the sole amendment that boasts a justification clause and an operative clause. It belongs to a family of similarly constructed legislation that commands something and then explains the reasoning behind it, a practice fairly common at the time.

    The militia justification, compelling as it might have been in the 18th century, has been rendered completely irrelevant by the worldwide acceptance of standing armies as a tool of statecraft. On the surface this seems to offer us some hope that legislation originally envisioning nothing more lethal than single-shot muzzle-loading muskets might be re-interpreted to rule out semi-automatic rifles firing jacketed slugs, but unfortunately this is not the case. In the eyes of the law the irrelevance of the militia clause doesn’t affect the operative clause, the basic right of a citizen to own and employ a firearm. Justification clauses simply do not have that kind of power, and Heller, whether you agreed with it or not, proved that.

    In answer to Ted’s question (#11 above) the way forward has two pathways, both difficult to the point of impossibility, both of which must be pursued. First, baby steps toward Barack Obama’s vision of common-sense gun legislation–the denial of gun ownership to certain classes of people with evident risk factors: certified mentally instability, a demonstrated allegiance to terrorist organizations (Isis, Al Qaeda, etc.), previous history of gun violence, etc. Second, a serious effort must be made to replace the language of the Second Amendment with something that reflects current reality. Yes, I said that. And I own firearms.



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  • peter baird #17
    Feb 20, 2018 at 3:15 am

    And yet the “well regulated militia” verbiage somehow managed to live on when Madison drafted the Bill of Rights years later.

    In England, NOBODY has a “right to bear arms”, and you can be arrested for carrying weapons in a public place.
    This means that fights are usually settled with fists rather than guns or knives.

    Second, a serious effort must be made to replace the language of the Second Amendment with something that reflects current reality. Yes, I said that.

    People have a right to APPLY for gun licences, IF they have a legitimate use for them (such are farmers shooting pests, or hunters shooting game on estates). –
    Licences apply to the type of gun appropriate to the authorised usage, (usually shotguns, and rifles) and are registered with the police.

    Those in the military and the Territorial reserves, use weapons under military law, and selected, trained and authorised police, carry guns and TASERS in their vehicles.
    In public places guns are required to be kept in locked cases.

    And I own firearms.

    I once owned some air weapons, and have only ever used air-weapons or .22 rifles, but like most of my neighbours, have owned NO guns at all for decades – and feel no need to own any gun!



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  • I’m wondering if there is cause to see a small ray of hope that the response to this latest mass shooting will not be the same as previously. I think we all know how the rhetoric usually goes. First come the prayers for the dead which achieve nothing. Then the gun control advocates try to raise the issue again and the rebuttal is “this is not the time to talk about gun control or politicise the tragedy” but of course it never is the time to talk about gun control. Neither immediately after a shooting nor of course when the furore has died down a bit. However this time we have Trump in office and of course he chose to make it all about himself as usual and tweet the worst things anyone could imagine saying. He tried to blame the FBI, which has a certain amount of merit as they were told about the shooter’s facebook posts but couldn’t find him despite having his real name.

    The Trump tried to pin it on mental health and not guns despite one of his first acts in office being to repeal an Obama regulation on firearm background checks for people with mental health issues. This regulation had few teeth at best and never came into force anyway. It also wouldn’t have helped the Florida shooting because the perpetrator was never listed as mentally ill despite numerous issues at his school and being investigated by social services who concluded he posed very little threat. Trump’s social services budget cuts also make it much less likely that people with mental health issues are ever going to be identified or get help in future too.

    However where Trump really shot himself in the foot so to speak was in trying to blame the students for not reporting their ex classmate enough. At rallies and press conferences they are calling BS on him including the now famous tweet from one survivor “I don’t want your condolences you fucking piece of shit”. Trump has insulted and abused almost everyone he’s ever come into contact with but this may be a step too far. Can even he go on the offensive against children who have survived a tragedy? I think not so he’s going to have to sit and take what they dish out and if there’s one thing kids are better at than adults it’s using social media to their advantage. Trump in his unique awfulness has created a movement much like the #MeToo one which is being called #MeNeverAgain.

    The NRA has bought and paid for every GOP politician with enormous sums of money. John McCain has received nearly 8 million dollars over the years. Richard Burr 7 million dollars. The NRA spent 31 million on the 2016 election either supporting Trump or attacking Hillary. However from now on these congressmen are going to have school kids they can’t attack making them feel guilty for refusing to enact gun control.

    It’s still going to be a massive fight to get any change in the laws but this time, for the first time, there are actual adults in the room speaking out and the irony is they’re all children.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #19

    However where Trump really shot himself in the foot so to speak was in
    trying to blame the students for not reporting their ex classmate
    enough……

    Trump has insulted and abused almost everyone he’s ever come into
    contact with but this may be a step too far. Can even he go on the
    offensive against children who have survived a tragedy? I think not

    …………… there are actual adults in the room speaking out and the irony is
    they’re all children.

    Just when you thought that disgusting family couldn’t sink any lower in their excrement, Donald Junior has been caught out re-tweeting messages from a couple of right-wing conspiracy hacks. Their tweets had attacked one of the outspoken teenagers, a 17-year-old Parkland school shooting survivor, by alleging that he was coached in an anti-Trump narrative by his father who happens to be a former FBI agent.



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  • Of course Alf. I dare say, between them, that boy and his father have seen more than their fair share of the end results of shootings, the awful damage that they do. Set against their experiences, what can you say of a spoiled empty-headed little brat like Trump Jnr, who must rival his father for having the most punchable face on the planet.



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