(Indianapolis, Ind.) - An Indiana lawmaker wants to allow the state’s schools to require saying the Lord’s Prayer.
State Senator Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) said his bill would allow individual students to opt out of reciting the prayer at the start of the school day if they or their parents preferred, The Indianapolis Star reports.
The legislation, Senate Bill 23, states “In order that each student recognize the importance of spiritual development in establishing character and becoming a good citizen, the governing body of a school corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school may require the recitation of the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of each school day. The prayer may be recited by a teacher, a student, or the class of students.”
Other lawmakers, including Republican Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne), fear the proposed law wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.
“It’s a clear violation of the interpretation of the First Amendment by the United States Supreme Court,” Long told The Star. “It’s not a personal opinion on my part.”
This is not the first bill filed by Kruse that would push the boundaries of separation of church and state. Last year, he authored a measure that would allow public school districts to decide whether to teach creationism along with evolution.
In December, Kruse announced a similar piece of legislation which he calls a “truth in education” bill. It would require science teachers, when asked by a student, to give evidence backing the theories being taught.
“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 said in December.
The 2013 Indiana legislative session begins next week.