Hey, They Asked

« December 2013 »

Memo to Bob Kellogg: NO, JUST THE REST OF IT.

As a consequence of certain past research, and possibly some attempted chicanery from having a public e-mail address and saying cranky things, I am on a couple of lists. Which is fine. I delete e-mails all the time. But every once in a while, one of them catches my eye. ACTUAL EYE-CATCHING QUOTE TIME!

"Hey atheists, is the breakfast illegal, too?" - Subject line from the uberwingnut aggregator, OneNewsNow.

Well, since you asked so nicely...

You see, in a public school in Missouri, (and I've just narrowed it down to two possibilities for all of you, and guess what, it's not creationism) a teacher has been leading Christian prayer services in her classroom before first period every day. A couple of atheist students complained, the school refused to change its ways, and now they're being sued by the American Humanist Association.

The prayers took place during school hours, were led by a teacher in direct violation of official district property, and the teacher apparently also let her faith creep into classroom time. Plus, the voluntary prayer sessions were held in a classroom near the school entrance, where most of the students were walking past.

Or, as OneNewsNow describes it, "because she prayed for an injured student, allegedly violating the Establishment Clause."

I mean, I'm no stranger to framing a debate in a way that makes my argument look even stronger than it actually is, but come the fuck on. These were regular prayer sessions, led by a teacher, condoned and promoted by the administration, during the school day. This isn't one god-fearing teacher being harassed because she asked God to help an injured student while (and this is just a guess here, but I like my odds) probably opposing Obamacare.

As for the breakfast thing, sometimes she served breakfast. Serving breakfast to students is not illegal, no. Although "hey, kids, have some free waffles, all you have to do is cover them with the syrup of personal salvation" is some borderline iffy shit. There are no reports of it being promoted like that, but there aren't any of it not being promoted like that, either. But let's be fair and say that no, the breakfasts aren't illegal.

The praying probably is, although with the Roberts' Court's attitude toward legislative benedictions, the Establishment Clause ain't what it used to be. You know, like voting rights and corporate non-personhood.

As a fun aside, the poll accompanying the story asked what readers wouild do if they were being sued for leading prayers in school, and 63% of respondents said they'd keep praying until they were fired. Another 35% said they'd keep praying until they were ordered to stop. Leaving two percent of respondents demonstrating a lack of traditional conservative hypothetical courage.

The reality, of course, is that 100% of them would do what it took to keep their jobs, because let's face it, perfectly legal breakfasts aren't going to buy themselves, and you can pray for Jimmy Dean sausage all you want, but it's not going to transubstantiate into your freezer.