Religious Right leaders in Colorado are aiming to create a ballot initiative to dedicate five minutes each day for “prayer or meditation” in their public schools. Thirteen other states have passed similar legislation, though a federal court is hearing a constitutional challenge to a moment of silence law in Illinois.
Fortunately, one of the strongest chapters of the Interfaith Alliance is based in Colorado and they are already gearing up for this fight. According to a story from 9News, the Denver NBC affiliate:
The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado released a statement on the petition drive. The Interfaith Alliance is a group promoting religious freedom made up of 13 congregational partners across the state with more than 800 members. The statement outlines concerns over intertwining religion and the public school system.
“It is imperative to preserve our democracy by respecting religious freedom, protecting individual rights, and pursuing public policies that promote the common good, instead of one religious or political viewpoint,” said Rev. Patrick Hurley, president of the Alliance, in a written statement. “The bottom line is that we believe public schools are for education and not religious worship, rituals, or indoctrination.”
Well put. And good luck.
This is a great example of the Religious Right putting lipstick on a pig. Supporters of this type of legislation might call it a moment of silence, but they are really trying to push prayer. And prayer is only genuine when it is voluntary.
In order for the initiative to be listed on this fall’s ballot, 76,000 residents must sign a petition. The Colorado Secretary of State has given permission for school prayer supporters to begin collecting signatures. We will keep you posted as Election Day draws closer.