Every week the Up North Progressive’s email inbox receives a list of bills introduced to the Michigan state legislature. This week the Michigan House wants to make it illegal to teach Reading, Writing and Math with HB 4143. They also don’t want Michigan schools teaching Science either. The Michigan House also believes they need to tell women who work for the state what they can do with their bodies. There are the bills that deal with guns (too many to count) … and then there is the rare gem embedded in the schist. This week that gem is House Bill 4147.
This bill, co-introduced by a long list of house reps including Tom Hooker, Lee Chatfield, and Joel Johnson, would make it law that a public school shall ensure:
That the public school does not discriminate against a pupil or a pupil’s parent or legal guardian on the basis of religious viewpoint or religious expression.
Isn’t that already happening in public schools? But wait, there is also this:
A pupil may express his or her belief about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the pupil’s submission.
That homework and classroom assignments are judged only by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the public school.
Wait, they’re not suggesting …
That a pupil or group of pupils in a public school may pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that pupils may engage in nonreligious activities or expression.
Pupils may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, see you at the pole gatherings or other religious gatherings before, during and after school to the same extent that pupils are permitted to organize other noncurricular pupil activities and groups.
Religious groups are given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to noncurricular groups without discrimination based on religious content …
And it goes on and on. Essentially, if a student, any student, without discrimination wants to pray, form a religious group, and use religious expression in their homework they can. This bill covers everything, including jewelry and clothing, speaking at public events, providing facilities, and even school ceremonies such as graduation. The only caveat is the student can’t be vulgar, use profanity or do anything lewd.
This is amazing, it’s incredible. Mind blown at this stupendous document of religious tolerance and freedom. In fact, let’s indulge ourselves and imagine what a normal day at school would be like if this bill had a snowball’s chance of ever becoming law.
The morning prayer at the flagpole begins when the first group of students arrive. It’s become a race to be the first ones to pray for their deity at school. Today it’s the Pastafarians wearing colanders on their heads and full pirate regalia. With a loud “RAMEN” they head into the school to start their day. The Wiccan coven, which is also an organized school club, have just finished their quarter calls. Another group. Yoga enthusiasts, are in the middle of the Sun Salutation with their mats rolled out on the lawn. Christians hold hands in a circle, while a group of Jewish students also pray nearby. Sufis, Sikhs, Satanists all around the flagpole praying.
The halls are filled with religious expression everywhere you look. There are crosses, both upright and inverted. Pentacles, both upright and inverted. Stars of David, t-shirts with the name of Allah screen printed on them, and of course the Pastafarians wear their colanders and full pirate regalia. A Scientology student wears a bracelet with the symbol showing she is “clear”. Religious expression is all the rage now at school, and the students participate because they’re protected by state law.
In a fine arts appreciation class, a Hindu student performs a dance to glorify Krishna. In English, a Pastafarian reads a poem he just wrote expressing the joy of being touched by the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendage. Shortly after lunch, the student body class president arrives to play the call to prayer over the PA system. Muslim students all head to a room designated for them to perform Dhuhr – the midday prayer. The bell rings, and a group of Wiccans stand outside of Chemistry class raising a cone of power to help them pass a big exam. In Social Studies, a Satanist is giving his oral presentation on the person who inspired Satanism’s core beliefs – Ayn Rand – with an analysis of the Nine Satanic Statements and how they correlate to John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. By the end of the week, that student will find out he’s made class Valedictorian, and will get to make a speech at graduation, thanks to the new Limited Public Forum requirement included in House Bill 4147.
Friends, if there were ever a bill that needs support from the people, this is it. Please, contact your state rep today and let them know you want them to vote yes on House Bill 4147. Let’s make this happen, With all of the changes the state legislature wants to make to students using school to express their religious belief, it makes sense that they want to ban teaching all those other subjects. Who will have the time to do that?