Ind. lawmaker wants Lord's Prayer in schools

GOP Sen. Dennis Kruse filed legislation

INDIANAPOLIS - A Republican state senator is pushing for Indiana's public school students to start the school day by reciting the Lord's Prayer.

Senate education committee chairman Dennis Kruse of Auburn has filed legislation that would let school districts require the prayer to be recited, but would also grant broad exemptions.

The measure might have little chance of winning approval since the Senate's leader has assigned it to the rules committee, which rarely advances bills. But it's part of a broader push by Kruse and other lawmakers to put religion in Indiana's public schools.

Kruse was unavailable for comment, but he released a statement saying, "I wanted to address the growing concern shared by many of my fellow Hoosiers that religious liberty is under attack."  


Legislative lawyers and the ACLU believe the bill is clearly unconstitutional.
The ACLU's Ken Falk says it plays on the public's lack of understanding of the Establishment clause, which forbids an official state religion, and the free exercise clause, which allows all Americans to pray freely.
"I think it sends a message that if we don't like something, that, even though we know it can't be challenged, we can somehow get worked up about it," Falk said. "And I think that's bad. I think it really sends misinformation to the public. The public needs to be told that this is what the Establishment clause is. This is what free exercise is."

Kruse sponsored a bill last year seeking to allow schools to teach creationism, the belief that life was created as described in the Bible. This year, he's seeking to allow questioning by teachers of scientific principles like evolution.

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