Indianapolis, Indiana — A Republican Indiana state senator has introduced legislation that would require public school students to recite the Lord’s Prayer each morning.
Senator Dennis Kruse, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says that the bill is beneficial because it will help students to “recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen.”
The legislation also grants broad exemptions to the requirement, allowing for students and parents to opt out if they so desire.
While Kruse knows that the bill is a hard sell as it now awaits approval in the Rules Committee, which would then send the legislation on for a vote, his effort is said to be part of a joint plan between a number of politicians to put Christ back in the classroom.
“I wanted to address the growing concern shared by many of my fellow Hoosiers that religious liberty is under attack,” he said.
Reports state, however, that Rules Committee president pro tempore Senator David Long, a fellow Republican, has commented that the bill is unconstitutional. Additionally, other representatives have remarked that there are more important issues to deal with in the country than spiritual matters.
“We’re going to focus on what’s important: budget integrity, job creation and improving education,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, also a Republican. “[We] all understand our focus.”
Kruse has been known for being active in the legislature in regard to faith-based proposals. Last year, he submitted a bill that sought to create an allowance for public schools to teach the Biblical account of creation in the classroom, and this year, he plans on presenting legislation that would permit students and teachers to question evolutionary theory.
“If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher, and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true,” Kruse explained.
As previously reported, last year, a school district in Wayne, Indiana banned a local youth pastor from speaking to students about spiritual matters at lunchtime after being slammed with a lawsuit from the ACLU.
The suit was filed on behalf of parents John and Linda Buchanan, who moved to the area two years ago from Atlanta, Georgia. Their 11-year-old daughter attends Summit Middle School, which had been visited regularly by a youth pastor from a local non-denominational church called “The Chapel.”
According to reports, the pastor walked from table to table, engaging in casual discussion with students and distributing literature to children who wish to receive it. However, when the Buchanan’s daughter came home with a pro-life brochure from a school fair and told them about the youth pastor, they promptly lodged a complaint.
“We’re not a bunch of heathens,” Linda Buchanan told reporters. “We’re not anti-religion; we’re anti-religion in public school.”
“[T]hey can’t exclude a youth minister just because he’s a minister — because he is sharing a religious or Christian message with the students,” said Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel. “He has every right to be able to be there, just like anyone else.”
Similar to the Wayne matter, the ACLU says that it strongly opposes the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the classroom. The prayer, which Jesus taught in Matthew 6, asks that that God’s name would be revered by men and that His will would be done on the earth as it is in Heaven.